Those of a certain age may remember Art Linkletter’s show, “Kids Say the Darndest Things.” And if we have children, grandchildren or have spent time with the young and innocent, we know how true that is.
Our son was about 3 when, in the middle of the night, one of our beef cows started having her calf in the pole barn. My husband and I had taken turns checking on her, and when her hard labor started, I went in and woke up our son so he could experience the miracle of birth. As the calf’s hooves showed, his eyes got big.
They got even bigger when the head appeared, and when the cow stood up and the calf slid out onto the straw, I thought his eyes would bulge out of his head. But he didn’t say anything until the next day at lunch. Suddenly, he put down his grilled cheese sandwich, and looked at me very seriously.
“Where do people babies come out?” he asked. Whoa. I wasn’t prepared for that, although I should have been since I brought his sister home from the hospital on his first birthday and he never forgot a thing. So I scrambled and said, “In a special place.”
Without a second’s hesitation, he said, “Let me see it.”
“Eat your sandwich,” I said. Sometimes you just have to punt.
When our eldest daughter was about 3, the people who’d been living in our spare farmhouse left without notice. We discovered they’d left their chickens, so I went over twice a day to feed and water them. The house was at the other end of our farm, and when it was apparent they weren’t coming back, I called the sheriff’s department and asked if we could move the chickens to our coop. I was told the sheriff would call me back.
A short while later, my husband and I were playing hide-and-go-seek with the kids, and he and I went into the bathroom, closed the door and hid behind the shower curtain. Not more than a minute later, the phone rang. Assuming it was the sheriff, I jumped out of the shower and had just opened the bathroom door when I heard our daughter answer the phone, pause a second and say, “She’s in the bathroom playing with daddy.”
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Oh, boy. When she handed the phone to me, I put it to my ear, and all I could hear were gasps and choking laughter coming from a friend of mine who lived down the road. Phew.
For a short time when our youngest daughter was about 4, she acted very prissy. Maybe it was because we’d just gotten a television after not having one for her entire life, and maybe she was mimicking some of the actors in the English dramas she’d seen. I have no idea why, but suddenly she didn’t want anyone to sit on her bed or to leave a toy or anything else in her bedroom.
The way she spoke became very lah-dee-dah-ish. One day I asked where something of her sister’s was. She told me she didn’t know, straightened up and said very haughtily, “I assume someone’s tooken it.”
And then there are grandkids. I was visiting them one day when my almost-3-year-old grandson picked up a huge jar filled to the top with buttons my daughter had given them to make beading, to glue on pictures, etc. He approached the kitchen counter, lifted the jar to place it on top, and it tipped over, spilling about a million buttons over the entire kitchen floor. His little face looked perplexed for a second, but then he beamed and said, very proudly, “That’s a… that’s a goddamn!”
I had to turn away and did all I could not to laugh out loud. My daughter, who was shocked, asked him, “Where did you hear that word?”
“Papa, in the gradge,” he said, as if very happy he’d finally found the perfect reason to say the same thing his papa had.
Another time, my daughter and grandson saw their cat attack a mouse out in the yard. She ran out to see if she could save it, and he toddled after her. When they got there, the mouse was dead. Joseph looked down at the perfectly still body, puckered up and said, “I willy wuved that mouse.”
If any of you have stories of the funny things the children in your life have said, feel free to email them to me and, if I get enough of them, I’ll share them in a future column. Because we can never laugh too hard or too often.