It seems that these days, nothing that comes out of a child’s mouth surprises anyone. Either we have heard it all before or are just so used to the random silly things that kids come up with that we have become desensitized to it all. Kid’s words seem to have officially lost their ‘shock and awe’ (although they still maintain their entertainment value).
The phrase “kids say the darndest things” is a bit out of touch these days. As a mother, I have learned a much more valuable and surprising lesson: it’s actually the words that come out of my mouth as a parent that now surprise me. So I will officially coin the term “parents say the darndest things.”
As parents, we become so used to day to day life and the crazy things our children do. We can lose site of the reality of what we have come to accept as ‘normal.’ It struck me a couple of months ago.
My husband, three year old son and I were out and about running errands. When we pulled into the Target parking lot and I went to get my son out of his car seat, I was disgusted to discover that not only had he taken his shoes off, but he was LICKING the salt off of the bottom of his shoes. For those of you fortunate enough to live in warm climates, salt is used to melt the snow and ice outside. It is everywhere. One foot out in public during the winter will turn your entire shoes a nice, crusty white. And apparently if you are three years old, the salt will also make your shoes taste like a french fry.
In any case, I was disgusted and my husband was more than a bit irritated. It should be noted that our super sweet, well behaved son had been going through a bit of a traditional ‘threenager’ phase at this time too so we were all running on short fuses.
With that being said, my husband immediately got angry and said “he needs to start listening and quit misbehaving!” My initial reaction was to agree with him. It seems, as per usual for a three year old, that he was doing anything he could to test the limits these days. But then it dawned on me. How can we punish him for something we never taught him? I brought this up to my husband. “Ok, I know it’s gross, but we never actually told him to not lick his shoes.” I mean when you really think about it, he’s three years old, has a very vague concept of germs, and his mind is telling him ‘hmm…. this tastes good!’ I guess you can’t really blame him!
So instead of getting upset with him, I sat him down and had a nice parenting moment. “Preston, we can’t lick our shoes. It is very yucky. We don’t want to catch any germs or get sick. I don’t want to see you do that again.” He just smiled at me and said “ok” and went on his way. And since he is pretty well behaved for the most part, we have never had another ‘shoe licking’ incident since that day.
But that brings up the bigger picture. In what world did I ever think I would have to tell my son “don’t lick your shoes”??? Since I never told him otherwise, it was not something I could hold him accountable for. So we all live and learn. But it got me thinking. What other entirely off the wall things have I had to tell my son? What else, as parents, were we entirely unprepared for? What was left out of the What to Expect When You’re Expecting manual?
I’m here to share with you a little insight into what’s gone on in our household. Use it as a reference if you’re in any of the same scenarios, use it to commiserate with me, use it to contribute your own crazy words that you have uttered, or just get a good laugh out of it.
PARENTS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS
Don’t lick your shoes.
Don’t eat your bed.
This one goes way out of the realm of teething. In fact, my son was such a nice teether, I rarely even knew when it was happening. He never needed teething rings, never chewed on his crib when a tooth was popping through, and rarely got fussy or whiny. I thought that I had won the jackpot!
But then. Toddler-hood struck. He picked up on his dad’s nail biting habit, and then took it to bed with him. I didn’t even realize that the nail biting was happening until it dawned on me that I hadn’t clipped his nails in awhile. He only did it at bedtime; it must have been his ‘wind down’ activity before falling asleep. But then he ran out of nails and moved on to his bed. Thank goodness we decided to transition to a $60 toddler bed before investing in a nice twin set, because within two days of owning it, it looked like it had been attacked by a woodchuck. So ten times a night, every night, I have to say into the monitor “don’t eat your bed!” And then march upstairs and remove the woodchips that he spit out all over the floor.
*I have still not found a solution to this so if anyone has any advice, please share!
Why are you naked???
Moms, I’m sure many of you feel my pain on this one. Especially mom’s of boys. Fortunately for us, this nasty habit usually only happened at bedtime and we seem to have grown out of it for the moment.
Quit licking the wall.
Here we go with the oral fixation again. When my son has exhausted his nail biting options and gotten bored of chewing his bed, he then heads to the walls. I can’t for the life of me understand the thought process behind this. But every time it happens I can only think of the scene in the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the yummy fruit flavored wall paper.
Why is there poop ______???
You can fill in the blank on this one. Some of the options in my house include: in your hair, on the wall, on your face, under the bed, on your dresser, on your stuffed animals… The list seems to continue to grow so I will keep you all updated! In all seriousness, my son wasn’t too terrible with this but definitely went through his phases. Now that he is potty trained, he still goes in his diaper from time to time while he is sleeping. And just this past week, the poop messes have started to reappear around his bedroom. Including the very same wall that he was licking later that night. I’m hoping this is a quick ‘here and gone’ phase again. But as I have heard from many mommas like myself, these words are all too common.
What’s in your mouth?
Ok, I guess having to ask this question and say these words isn’t really all that surprising to me. What gets me, however, are the responses that I get when I ask this question. And my son is brutally honest. On the plus side, I never have to question what he’s telling me, but on the other side of it, sometimes I wish I just hadn’t even asked the question after I hear his response.
The standard in our house is carpet. Yes, you heard that right. Carpet. Somehow, my son manages to rip itty bitty pieces of shag carpeting out and likes to chew on them. Just yesterday, I walked in his room, asked what was in his mouth, and he gave me his sweet smile, stuck his tongue out, and out dropped a pile of carpet shreds. Yes folks, this is real life.
This is another instance of “well, I never told him NOT to eat that/put that in his mouth” so I can’t get too bent out of shape when he puts something in his mouth that he shouldn’t. Fortunately, once I tell him not to do it I usually don’t have a repeat scenario.
Don’t climb under the bathroom stall, someone is in there!
Ahhh… public restrooms. A blessing and a curse for mom’s everywhere. They have come to my rescue many times during the early stages of potty training and bladder control. They are always there for me when I have multiple errands to run and don’t want to have to stop home in between. They are available exactly four minutes after you just left home and your son swore up and down that he didn’t have to go potty.
They are also disgusting at least fifty percent of the time. As a parent, you always look at the big picture. Things you may not have noticed pre-parenthood are now glaringly obvious to you. Sometimes I play the risk vs. reward scenario in my head. Do I risk using the filthy restroom and avoid an accident? Or do I risk not using the restroom just to finish what I’m trying to get done before heading home? I’m not much of a gambler so I do not enjoy when I am put in this position.
In any case, these are public restrooms. Which means, most days you are not the only patron in the bathroom. Your child either does not realize that or does not care. My son is very inquisitive. “Mommy, who’s that peeing?” “Mommy, who just farted?” “Mommy, it smells like poop.” But my personal favorite: “mommy, who’s in there?” Apparently from his vantage point, he can see anyone’s shoes in the stalls next door. And he loves to try and snoop on them or climb in and say hello. Usually while I’m trying to pee myself (and simultaneously hold the door shut so he doesn’t try to open it).
I always try to rush out of the restroom as quickly and as incognito as possible. So to any unassuming restroom patrons (most likely at Target or Wegmans) who we may have offended, please accept our apologies! And to all my fellow mom’s out there, I’m right there with ya!
What did you name your poop today?
I just threw this one in there for laughs. But seriously. My son names his poop. Every time. First it started out as animals, but now they have names. And personalities. And character traits. My husband and I think it’s hilarious. It’s fun for the whole family. To the typical outsider looking in, I’m sure this sounds disgusting. But to the parents out there who can relate, I’m sure you appreciate it!
I’m sharing this all with you to let you know that you are not alone. I’m sure not everyone can relate to every scenario that I mentioned, but it’s comforting to know that we are all in a similar boat. Kids do crazy things. They also do amazing things. And that’s what makes the crazy moments worth it. I never imagined when I became a parent how much my life would change. My priorities have changed, my heart has changed and my sense of humor has definitely changed. These moments, for better or for worse, are what make my life worth living.
So embrace your inner child. Find a sense of humor in the craziest moments. Laugh at the words you hear coming out of your mouth. Being a parent is hard work, but it’s also the best work! I would love to hear about the crazy, unexpected things you have had to say to your children!