Category Archives: Kids Do the Darndest Things

A Mother’s Curse

We have all been cursed by our mothers.  You know the one, when, as a child we’ve tested the edge of her patience and she’s blurted out angrily how someday we’d end up having children just like ourselves.  And then we would roll our eyes at her (because we were never having children, duh!) and maybe utter a half apology.  Some of us grow up to indeed have kids just like ourselves; bratty, emotional, stubborn, or tantrum prone.  But some of us grow up not to necessarily be cursed by the kid, so much as a thing.  For me, it is the curse of a spare plate that has been handed down.

It was the late 1950s and my grandmother had a set of sunny yellow melamine dishes.  She also had a single blue plate.  It was an ugly blue plate and no one knew where exactly it had come from.  But, grandmother also had five daughters, which meant that her setting for six in yellow wasn’t enough to set the table with.  Every evening someone had to use the awful blue plate.  Which ever sister set the table that night would place it in front of the chair of the girl she had the most beef with at the moment.  Then of course arguements would ensue.  No one wanted the hideous blue plate and night after night, my poor grandmother had to listen to the squawking and wailing of her daughters fighting over it.  One day she was able to replace the blue plate. I’m not sure if she was able to get another setting of yellow dishes or what, but I’m sure whatever she paid was worth the peace at meal times.  The blue plate was slipped into the trash can, never to be fought over again.

When I was a child, around 8 or 9 years old maybe, my mother had a set of Corelle dishes.  They were cream coloured with a sage green ribbon that ran around the edge.   They were strong and practical.  She also had a few odd pieces from an older set that we no longer used, including one stonewear plate. It was white with a scalloped edge.  The three of us kids called it the Up And Down Plate.  It was a special plate.  It was a coveted plate.  We fought like cats and dogs over this plate. We whined about how unfair it was or pleaded that it our turn to use it.  Which ever one of us that got to set the table would always place it by our own chair, only to be stolen, swapped out, and reset at some other kid’s chair.  It was downright torturous to watch a grimey little brother eating off of it.  That up and down plate drove my parents bonkers, too.  No matter what they said or how vehemently they threatened,  we wouldn’t stop fighting over the dumb plate.  One day my parents finally snapped.  It was the sudden crash that brought my brother and I downstairs.   Then it was the eerie,  gleeful cackle from my mother that made us stop.  My father had smashed the plate in the middle of the kitchen floor.  I’m pretty sure he had done it on purpose because my mother was jumping up and down on the pieces. After they swept it up, the special, beautiful up and down plate was never spoken of again.

My husband and I bought our dishes from Ikea.  We got a nifty set of charcoal grey ones that looked cool and hip on our high top table with the white table cloth and red napkins.  But, as a plate broke here and a bowl smashed there, not to mention going from one kid to three, we had to go back for more dishes.  Unfortunately, Ikea has stopped carrying our particular charcoal grey dishes, so we got a set of standard white.  They are plain and practicle and actually look really awesome when mixed and matched with the grey ones.  Except, now we are down to three small plates.  Those are the ones the kids use for dinner, and one of them has a chip in it.  It is called The Broken Plate.  My children love the broken plate!  They race to be the first one to request it and sulk if they don’t get it.  Every single meal time is a fighting-pleading-whine-fest over someone else having the plate and at least one kid declaring a hunger strike over it.  Last night my oldest got the plate and my middle child began that painful high pitched scream that makes you sure your ears are bleeding.  I asked him very nicely to quiet down.  I explained that it was just a plate and his fish would still taste just as good.  I begged my eldest to give it up, however the mere suggestion nearly caused a tantrum.  I demanded my son to stop screaming.  At this point all three of my children were crying and no one was eating.  I lived with the ear piercing noise for eight and a half minutes before I calmly slid my son’s food onto a plastic plate that was stashed in the back of the cupboard.  Without a word, I stepped into the middle of the dining room and let the chipped plate drop.  Ah, what a satisfying sound!  The smash was liberating and the immediate silence from my stunned children that followed was delightful. The rest of the meal was eaten in peace.  And during tonight’s dinner, which was served on all white plates, no one felt the need to mention it.

image

So, how bad will my kids have it when they become parents?  Will the curse of the plate continue for them?  A part of me really hopes so.

All the Whys of a Four Year Old

Four year olds are exhausting.  They are little wound up packages of infinite energy, unpredictable emotions, and growing appetites.  They also blither incessantly. Their curiosity is an inextinguishable flame that seems to only be fueled with more information.  My son will inundate me with questions; strange and random questions, unanswerable questions, and questions with answers that will only trigger more questions.  Ah! His endless interrogations about life boggle my mind!

Because some of his questions are so out there and seemed to be prompted by nothing at all, not to mention their frequency, I tried to keep a list of them all.  I wasn’t able to keep up with him but here is what I was able to jot down through out our snow day today:

How does the Geo get better gas than the truck?
Why can I hear the car when I’m inside?
What does that word say….”fun”?
Mommy, what’s your favorite colour?
Why is that river brown?
How will they clean the river?
Why is a moth not a butterfly?
Is this frog poisonous?
What kind of snake is this?
Why do toucans have big beaks?
Why are they killing the rainforest?
When will it be Spring?
Does know and show rhyme?
What does C-R-O-F-T-O-N spell?
Who’s going to have that baby?
Why do some people have to fly in airplanes overnight?
Why are there 3 fours in 4:44?
Why are some octopuses small?
If you wait a really, really long time to grow a bean will it grow into a beanstalk?
Are there beanstalks in real life?
Why is some people’s skin lighter and some people’s skin darker?
Why do Vikings have horns on their hats?
What’s an enemy?
What does “in distress” mean?
What do Leprechauns do?
Why is blue just blue, not made with other colors?

There were others too. Lots of questions about how to spell things, pronounce/read things, whether or not two words rhymed, if a word was indeed a real word, and many many random animal fact questions.

However tiring the question game may be, I know it’s really good for him.  It shows that he’s a clever boy and that he’s paying attention to details.  No matter how trivial an inquiry may seem, I try to give him an honest answer, and I really do try to find the answers if I don’t know off hand.  This is proof that is brain is growing and needs to be fed.  Besides simply supplying him with information, I know these exchanges help him in other ways too.  He’s learning to seek out information and that it’s ok to come to Mommy and Daddy with questions.  He’s learning how to have conversations with regular back and forth; how to interject his own thoughts, emotions, and previous knowledge; how to build on what he knows, discover his interests, and find new intrigues.

So, ask away little man! Mommy’s poured herself a cup of coffee, fired up Google, and is ready for what ever oddity passes through your sweet mind!

Comet, It Makes You Vomit

Comet, it makes your teeth turn green,
Comet, it tastes like gasoline.
Comet, it makes you vomit,
So get some Comet and vomit today!

A can of Comet.

We were having some impromptu friends visiting yesterday afternoon, so my husband & I were scurrying about the house trying to clean it up a bit.  As I was vacuuming the floors, Hubs was cleaning the bathroom.  We ended up meeting in the kitchen, I think he was putting dishes away, and I was putting the vacuum in the recharger, ignoring the crying baby, who was probably mad that I was ignoring him.  But when the vacuum turned off, I noticed that his temper tantrum was different.  He was standing in doorway with a red face and sea-green foam spewing from his mouth.

Not cool.

“What the hell did he get into?!”  I screamed as I scooped him up & fled to the sparkling clean bathroom.  I passed him off to my husband as I came upon the overturned canister of Comet cleanser.  Hubs cleaned the baby’s mouth out with water at the sink while I held my toddler in the hall.

“What’s Daddy doing to my baby?” cried the terrified toddler.  I assured him it was okay…baby just ate some soap.  “Why?!  It’s yucky!”

After the mouth was washed out, the baby vomited all over floor.  So Comet does make you vomit!  I demanded Hubs to call Poison Control instead of giving him peroxide to induce more vomiting.  I didn’t know…I did know that sometimes vomiting is a good thing to do, sometimes it’s a very bad thing to do…I wanted to be sure with my little 13 month old.

The outcome:  Basically we were told that he may have an upset stomach & some irritation.  The woman on the phone suggested we give him an ounce or so of juice, and as long as he didn’t continue to vomit, he’d be fine.  *Sigh*  We washed his hands again, just to make sure, then brushed his teeth to get the taste out.  And yes, he was fine.

The baby got over it in 10 minutes.  I’m still stunned that this happened, and a bit peeved that Hubs left cleaner out.  That, and I can’t get the image of my wee son foaming at the mouth out of my head.  *Deep Sighs*

The Two-Year Old Takes Up ‘Toking

Today my 26 month old son was doing something rather odd with his crayons. He was putting them, one by one, into his mouth & sucking on the very end. After sucking for two or three times, he would pull it out, puff out his cheeks & blow. He would repeat a few more times before moving on to another crayon.  I asked him what he was doing.

“‘Toking,” he replied with a grin. Now, in toddlerese, not all consonants are formed, so ‘toking means smoking.

I snatched the crayons from his mouth & said in a shocked, but what was an attempt for stern tone, “No! Smoking is very bad & very yucky!”  He laughed at this, while pulling another crayon from it’s box, and informed me that Daddy was in trouble & in time out.  I agreed. Yes, Daddy would be in trouble, because yes, Daddy is a smoker. Then he started to gleefully list off all the people that he knew who smoked.  It turns out that there’s a lot of them!

How is a mother to raise a child to make healthy life choices, when that child witnesses those he loves making poor ones? How could I tell him not to be a smoker when his father, neighbors & role models do?  I know I can’t shield him from most of these things; sex, drugs and rock & roll will enter his life at some point.  But how can something be perceived as “wrong” or “bad” or “unhealthy” if so many people around him are doing it?  I do try to keep my boys away from my husband when he smokes, but it isn’t always possible & doesn’t always happen. All in all, the kids are aware of what Daddy does.

I know I will have a tough battle ahead of me when comes to smoking. The general public doesn’t make as big a stink over it as they should. This YouTube video shows a two year old in Indonesia who smokes four packs a day! While I realize that this is the extreme & in no way the norm, the number of people who have viewed this video, “liked” this video, & who have commented with things like “this baby is awesome” & “so hilarious” really scare me. If the general public is going to have a laid back attitude towards smoking, how can I convince my kids that the dangers are real?

There are plenty of studies that have linked second and even third hand smoke to various health issues in children, teens & young adults. They have also concluded that a child is more than twice as likely to smoke by the time they are 21 if a parent smokes.  And I can agree with that statement. My mother never smoked after I was born & my father smoked an occasional pipe or cigar.  I have smoked maybe 6 or 7 cigarettes in my whole life & can’t stand them!  My husband’s mother always smoked & he was always around it. When he became a teenager (17 or so) he started smoking on a daily basis. Because he’s now been smoking for over 10 years, it’s nearly impossible for him to quit. Are my children destined to be teen smokers?!  The only way I can see nipping this in the bud is to get the adults to give it up.