Big Mouth Kids

Some interesting quotes from children:  Not all from mine, thank goodness

From a three-year old boy learning to potty from his dad. “Cool penis dad!”

The same boy exiting the bathroom:  “There’s a lot of turds in there!”

My three-year-old son advising his father:  Don’t let Baby Sister in the bathroom with you.  She’ll pull your penis.  Ain’t she rude!”

The same boy to an older deaf neighbor:  “YOU CAN’T HEAR THUNDER!”  Of course he’d heard this from his father.

From my daughter standing behind a portly lady in line at the grocery story.  I gave her a look and shushed her when she tried to comment.  The lady turned to walk away and my little one chimed out,  “I sure was nice not to call her a big, old, fat lady, wasn’t I, Mommy?

My niece:  “Boogers taste like pickles.”  I told my daughter and my little grandson spoke to himself, “I like that girl.”

I told my first grade teacher, “My mama said she wouldn’t take a sick dog to Dr. Jones.  She bristled, “I’ll have you know my father is a very good doctor!”  I couldn’t wait to get home to tell Mother.



Tough Critics

We didn’t get out much when our kids were little.  We learned early on, if  people in our pay grade  had children, they didn’t  have much else.  What seemed like a fun and inexpensive hobby, turned out to be an expensive proposition.  Having friends over for dinner was about as far as our budget stretched.

One night we had dinner guests and sat the two three-year-old boys down with a plate of what I thought looked like delicious manicotti, a dish new to both of them.  Soon, I realized it was a big mistake.  My John was a champion talker and felt everyone needed his opinion.  Tasting  the sauce sauce and announced.  “ I don’t like it.  Can I have a hot dog.”

“At least try it. I answered.   “If you don’t like it, you can have a hot dog.”

He poked it with a fork and spiced meat pressed  out.  “I can’t eat this, Mommy.!” He yowled. “ “It’s got doo doo in it!”

After that, his little friend Neil refused to try it..  “This is delicious.” He stated flatly, laying his fork down.

His mom cleared things up for me.  “He says food is delicious when it’s disgusting.”  I knew when I was whipped and went for the hot dogs.


Rock and Roll, Mama

When I was a kid, nothing would have shocked me more than the thought of hurting my mother. Despite this, when I was about ten, my brother and I came upon my mother rocking the baby, one of her few opportunities to take a break out of her impossible day. She had very little lap for the baby, since she was hugely pregnant with another.. Most often, she drifted off for a little nap herself. We thought it would be fun to surprise her by pulling on the back of the rocker, tipping her back. She must have been shocked or extremely good-natured, because she laughed out loud. Foolishly inferring we’d pleased her, we rocked her even further back, with her continued shrieks  of, “Stop! Stop! You’re going to drop me!” Because she seemed to be having so much fun, we kept it up till the chair tipped backwards, leaving her stranded, lying with the rocker back on the floor, swollen feet high in the air, under the weight of two babies, one on top of her belly, the other inside nearly ready to pop out.
We were horrified, thinking we’d killed her. The baby was howling at being upside down on her incapacitated Mama. Of course, Mother could do nothing to help herself, except shout, “Help, get me up! Get me up!” I thought we’d killed her, and probably the squalling baby, as well as the one on the way. The two of us struggled to get the chair up, learning a valuable lesson in physics at the same time. It’s a lot easier to tip a pregnant woman over than to get to her upright. Everybody did survive, despite our idiocy. The miracle was, the whole situation struck Mother as funny. Since then, I’ve never tempted to tip another pregnant woman over.

I Don’t Wanna Work!

The kids met Bud at the door with their complaint.  “Mama’s making us do work?”Abuse was written al over their tragic faces.  Bud was all sympathy.  “Oh no!  Why in the world would she do such thing?

They poured their collective hearts out between sniffles.  “Mama told us to go out and play.  Then we got in a fight. I have to vacuum the living room and Sister has to fold washcloths. She won’t let us go play till we get through.”

” We’ll, everybody has to work.  I work. Mama works.  You need to help out.” Bud explained.  Hurry up and get through then ask Mama if you can go out.”

”But I don’t like to work.” They wailed.

It’s Yucky

My baby was due in three weeks.  I felt like I was going to die if I didn’t get a nap.  At three, John had given up naps.  I locked all the doors and found King Kong on TV.  I fixed him a tray of snacks and a drink.  “You are a big boy.  I’m going to take a nap while you watch King Kong. You can wake me up if you really need me but I’m so tired. Stay right here with me and try not to wake me up just talk about King Kong.”

“Okay, Mommy.  I can watch King Kong by myself.”  He answered.  I stretched out on the sofa, hoping he’d be occupied for a while.

John patted my face.  “Mommy, King Kong is scary.”

”Then turn it to cartoons.”

“But I want to see King Kong.”

”You can turn it off for a minute till the scary is over, then turn it back on.”

He turned King Kong off and on a few times.  “Mommy, I have to potty.”

”You’re a big boy.  Go by yourself..”

He was back from the bathroom in just a minute.  I

I heard King Kong go off a few more times.

He asked me several questions.  Finally, I sat up.  I saw John’s bare butt in front of the television.and a half a dozen poops smushed into the carpet.  “John!  Where are you pants?  Why didn’t you wipe your hiney?  Look at this mess!”

”I couldn’t wipe my hiney.  It had poop.  It was yucky!”

That it was.


Were You Born in a Barn?

I grew up in the fifties  and didn’t expect much.  I didn’t feel deprived, just understood the situation.  All the family toys fit in a medium-sized box and were shared. We had mean cousins who regularly tore them up, so storage wasn’t a problem.   If we realized they were coming and had time, we locked them in my parent’s  bedroom, but nothing was foolproof.  Those hellions could ferret out a steel marble locked in a safe and tear it up. No kid I knew laid no claim to a television, radio, or record player.  We were free to watch or listen along with our parents.

Most of mine and my brother’s time was spent outdoors.  We had the run of our property, including a large two-story barn, so we never had to stay indoors, even in rain or rare icy weather.  “Get your jacket and shoes and socks on before you go to the barn.”  I was more concerned about getting out than I was about bad weather, so I’d gladly have gone barefoot and jacketless, given the chance.  Mother, a pessimist, foolishly believed in hookworms, stray nails, and broken glass.  I knew better, but she stayed on me.  It was a real downer.  If I got wet, I certainly didn’t come in to dry off and change shoes..  Most likely, I was wearing my only shoes.  Should Mother notice wet feet or muddy clothes, we might be stuck indoors for the day or till our jackets and shoes dried  I learned early that if you stay out in your wet things, pretty soon they lose that discolored, wet look.  Besides if you play hard enough, you generate some heat.

Our barn was two stories with a gigantic open door centering the second where Daddy backed up his truck up to load or unload hay.  It was a thrill to get a running start and fly to the ground eight or ten feet below.  Dry weather provided the softest landings since thick, shredded hay and powdery manure make a decent cushion.   Even the most determined jumper soon learned the folly of jumping on a rainy day.  It was too easy to slide into something horrible.  Regular wet clothes aren’t too bad, but malodorous puddles and cow pies should be avoided at all costs.  No one ever broke an arm or neck.

Playing on the square hay bales without damaging them is an art worth learning.  Tearing up baled hay quickly got us expelled from the barn as well as plenty of trouble.  It didn’t take long to discover which friend could be trusted to do right.  Billy and I policed them  and put a stop to tearing up bales.  Daddy had a stacking method we knew not to mess up. The cats loved the barn, busying themselves with the rats who also made themselves at home.  Knowing rats hid in our playhouse made them no less scream-worthy, though we weren’t afraid of them, often hurling corncobs at them.  I don’t think I was ever fast enough to do any damage.  Sometimes we were a little mor effective with slingshots or a BB gun.

A covered area below the loft was intended for equipment storage.  Interestingly, only the broken equipment was under the shed.  Presumably, repairs were started and abandoned there.  The good stuff sat out in the open.  Very little Space was taken up feed.   Mostly, it served as a repository for junk items. One of the most interesting  was a rough wooden box with filled with letters and personal items both parents brought to the marriage.  We were forbidden to open that box on pain of death, so were sneaky as we prowled through it, enjoying  the pictures and letters from old sweethearts, navy  memorabilia including a gigantic pin used to close Daddy’s navy gear bag, six two-inch chalkware dolls in their original box, and  two enormous carved ebony spoons featuring a naked man and a woman with pendulous bosoms.   I can only assume Mother was too much of a coward to hang those shocking spoons on her kitchen wall.  Her sister, Anne, in the WACS had brought them home as a gift to Mother, a woman who wouldn’t  say butt or titty, euphemizing with “your sitting down place “or “chest” if absolutely necessary. What a waste.  If fondling ebony wood breasts makes a pervert, I signed on early. The man was not anatomically correct or the guilt would have undone me..  The pity of it was, I couldn’t ask questions about any of those treasures since  the  boxes were strictly off limits.  Sadly, the rats devoured the letters long before I learned to read, though Phyllis bragged she got to read some.  I prefer to think she was lying.

Lean-to sheds with stalls flanked the left side and back of the barn.  We frequently snitched oats and  one lured the horse near the rail partitions dividing the stalls while the other slid on for a brief ride, then switch around for the other to ride.  We badgered Daddy Incessantly to saddle the horse for us, until one fine day when I was about ten, he told us we could ride any time we wanted if we could saddle the horse ourselves.  We’ never expected that.  Billy and I did the old oat trick and had the horse saddled in minutes.  We rode any time we wanted after that.  I know the horse hated what was coming, but could never resist the oats.



World’s Worst Grandma

I had the pleasure of taking a two-year-old grocery shopping one cold, dreary day.  The only bright spot was the lone automobile/shopping cart we found on the parking lot.  I wiped it dry and loaded her up.  As we progressed through the store, she found many strange and wonderful things thoughtfully displayed within her reach.  Sadly, I had to deny her hearts-delight: steak knives, fireplace matches, cat toys, and a twenty-seven dollar toy trumpet.It was a disaster when we stumbled into the toy aisle.  She scooped several toys into the cart.  To avoid tears,  I shamelessly deposited the culled items in an empty grocery cart as I steered her toward something that met three important criteria.  It would hold her interest till we got through the check-out line.  It wouldn’t get me in trouble with her parents.  Last of all, it wouldn’t bankrupt me.

Finally, we were done.  Over her protests, I got her zipped in her hooded jacket and wheeled her toward the parking lot, clasping her toy.  I would have enjoyed waiting for icy rain to stop, but I wanted to get her out of the store.  I struggled to steer the cumbersome buggy across the bumpy parking lot.  I breathed a sigh of relief as I opened the car door and buckled her in the car seat.  She was happily unwrapping her lollipop as a woman with a small boy parked next to us. Remembering how anxious my little one was to find the fancy cart, I asked the  woman.  “Ma’am, do you want this car buggy for your little boy?”

I might as well have stabbed my little guy in the heart.  She wailed tragically as the boy’s mother loaded him in “her” buggy.  I’ve had better days.



Doris and the Greedy Guts


Kids in the sixties reveled in hurling epithets that seem positively sanctified by today’s standards: tattletale, crybaby, sissy, titty-baby, chicken, dumbo and greedy-gut. Calling out anyone of these could get you in plenty of trouble at home or on the playground.  As one of five children, I have been known to be a greedy-gut, along with my gluttonous siblings.  As I went over this list with Bud, he said he was always glad to be called greedy-gut, since that meant he’d gotten more of the good stuff.

My cousins were “finicky.”  Thei mama complained. “My kids won’t eat anything.”  I thought that sounded good.  Mother proudly answered, “I don’t have to worry about that.  My kids eat whatever I put in front of them.” It didn’t take a genius to see we did. It was humiliating.  I yearned to be picky, but my appetite always got the best of me.

We never had cookies, chips, sodas, or snacks of any type lying around our house.  Should a bag of cookies or chips  find its way in, we’d all pounce on it, eat all we could hold, wait till we felt better, then check back to see if any was left.  There rarely was.  For after-school snacks, we had biscuits with peanut butter if we were lucky, or pear or fig preserves if we weren’t.  I  was never tempted to indulge  in Mother’s homemade fig or pear preserves.  Daddy insisted she sugar them heavily and cook them down till they candied with syrup the consistency of tar.  I’d sooner have eaten tar.  If Mother was flush with cash on grocery day, she’d buy a big bag of apples or oranges, which we’d fall upon and finish off in a day or two.  Sometimes the stores ran specials on canned peaches or big purple plums, which served as dessert for dinner.

Dessert was for special times, usually a yellow cake, baked in a Bundt pan.  Mother taught each of her girls to bake a yellow cake when they turned five, a proud accomplishment for the girl.  None of us was great on detail, so not uncommonly, we’d start a cake before checking if all the ingredients were available.  Sometimes we’d do without if we’d gotten the cake started first. It wasn’t unusual to substitute shortening for butter, or bake without milk, vanilla or eggs.  Sometimes a cake with one substitution is tolerable, but two or three render it inedible.  I have been known to use plain flour and not add baking powder powder, soda, or salt.  A cake like that makes a pretty good pot lid.  

Our greed set the stage for Mother’s humiliation. Daddy was a hypochondriac. At least yearly, he’d come up with a malady requiring hospitalization. His ailments ranged from flu to stomach ailments to a stiff knee. When a new doctor opened a clinic nearby, he realized he had a sore back. Naturally, the new doctor admitted him for tests, something doctors were able to do in the days before insurance oversight. He shared a room with Mr. Ivan Garvey, an affable fellow.  During a visit, Mother met his wife, Doris, and inferred they’d become friendly.  Mrs. Garvey  invited her to come by for coffee.

Some days later, Mother took Doris up on her casual invitation, dropping by by just as Doris was taking peanut butter cookies out of the oven.  They smelled heavenly.  Not realizing the calamity she faced, Doris set the plate before us.  Over Mother’s horrified protests, we decimated those cookies.  Mother tried to slow us down, but Doris said, “Oh no!  Let them have them.  I like to see kids eat.”  Naturally, we believed she meant it and wanted her to be happy, polishing off the batch.  It must have been the happiest day of her life.

Humiliated, Mother got us out of there as soon as she decently could, lighting  into us the instant we cleared the Garvey drive.  “I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life.  Y’all ate like hogs.  She didn’t want y’all to eat all the cookies….” Her rant lasted longer than the cookies.  We scattered as soon as we got home. We never went by Doris Garvey’s house for coffee again.  Too bad.


Old Man Hillen

“Are you gonna pay for that gum?”

Phyllis and I turned to see Billy’s cheek bulging. His eyes got big and a stream of purple drool ran out of the corner of his mouth. The three of us stood horrified before Old Man Hillen, the proprietor of the Variety Store. It was obvious the sour old geezer took no prisoners where pilfering children were concerned.

“Spit it out.” Phyllis demanded, her face as hard as the old man’s. She hurriedly paid for our purchases as Billy and I beat her out the door. We knew there would be Hell to pay. Phyllis aligned herself with our parents and could be depended upon to report any infraction. This one was huge.

The situation was made more ominous since our business in the first place was the purchase of Mother’s birthday gift. The three of us had walked to the Variety Store after school. Mother was to pick us up. The wait seemed endless, knowing the catastrophe that was brewing.

“Billy Ray stole a piece of gum!” she exploded before she even got the car door shut. “Mr. Hillen made me pay for it!”

Mother was appalled. “Oh no. I hope you’re ashamed of yourself. I’m gonna have to tell your daddy about this.” A pall hung over us, dreading what was to come.

Justice was swift and sure. Daddy was enraged as he railed at Billy, before strapping him with his belt, then pausing before giving him a few more. Worse yet was the pronouncement that they’d be going back tomorrow for Billy to apologize and make it right. It was a terrible night at our house. No one escaped Daddy’s black mood.

Daddy was waiting for Billy when the bus ran, always dependable when punishment was due. He led the small boy into the Variety Store and announced to Mr. Hillen, “My son has something to say to you.”

Humiliated, Billy managed to stammer an apology.

Rather than accepting Billy’s apology, the hateful old man launched into a tirade against thieving kids and the way sorry parents were raising them. Daddy was infuriated and told him they’d made it right and he wasn’t listening to anymore of his mouth. They left. We never went back in that store.