Category: what kids say

Monkey Speak

My daughter, Bela, dropped the f-bomb for the first time when she was four years old.

She was on the floor playing with a Pride of plastic lions. The baby lion had wandered away from the mama and daddy lions and was trapped under a clear, plastic cup. The mama lion, spotting her cub first, rushed up to the plastic prison, searching for a way to rescue her baby. After a moment, the mama lion yelled through the plastic in desperate frustration:

“I’m sorry. I can’t get you the fuck out of there.”

I always tell my daughter that when she is with me she is allowed to use any words that she wants. No word is off-limits. At school and/or Grampa’s house, however, things are different. In these places, there will be consequences. There will be trouble. There will be punishment. But not when she’s with me.

I’m a linguist by hobby and a lover of all things language. I try to teach my daughter that words are simply sounds that come from our mouths. The sounds are oftentimes less significant than the sentiment behind them. So, as long as she is exercising respect, she’s allowed to use whatever words she wants. And she does.

As a six year old, she now repeats things she hears from the grownups around her.

“Pissed off,” she’ll say, cutting her eyes toward me with a giggle.

“Hell yes, shit no, oh my god, damn it.”

She likes to play with the boundaries of the sounds that roll off her tongue, and I enjoy watching her try them on. Some of my favorites are: “Mama, Mama, Mama. Do you know what a symbiotic relationship is?” and “Why don’t you eat your own boogers?”

I’ll be honest, though; this approach sometimes yields less than awesome sentences, too. Like, “Mama, what happened to your hair?” or “Why are you so grumpy sometimes?” or “I’m not as pretty as my friend Emma.”

Recently, Bela asked to speak seriously for a minute. She said, “I have something to say, but it will hurt your feelings, Mama.”

What to Expect … When You’re a Dad

So you’re sitting there, it’s evening, and you’re watching TV. It’s been a long day and you’re exhausted. Your mind is drained; carrying on a conversation at this point would be as daunting as advanced calculus to a four year old.

You happen to glance to the side to see an inquisitive preschooler eyeballing you up and down as if you’re a space invader who just moonwalked to her front door.

“Why are you staring at me like that baby?” I asked.

“Daddy, you’re a boy … Do you have a wiener?” my daughter inquired.

I felt as though I had just walked face-first into a glass door. That question took me completely by surprise.

Clueless as to the appropriate response to give a three year old, my brain just threw up its hands and said, “You’re on your on bub.” I was torn between not wanting to lie to her and knowing this wasn’t the

Proof Positive

Listening to an NPR show discuss the Ferguson, MO, shooting in the car this morning, my daughter asked, “Why don’t they just call people by their name? Not black or white, they have a name. I just want to know their name and if they are good people.”

Too Much Information?

As I was picking up my five-year-old daughter from preschool, one of her teachers pulled me aside and starting speaking in a quiet tone, as if she were telling me something in private. I immediately got that fear of, “what embarrassing thing did my daughter say?” Did she drop an “F” bomb? Did she hit another kid? Did she tell her teacher that I cry during Frozen when Anna sings “Okay, bye,” because she desperately misses her sister? (I’m emotional, don’t judge.)

Nope. What my daughter said was completely medical. She was pretending to be pregnant (we have three pregnant women in our family, so it gets talked about often), and at one point said, “My water broke.” Her teacher thought that was “too much information.”

Is the actual breaking of the water kinda messy and gross? Yes. It happened to me at 8:15 AM on a beautiful Friday morning in September

Marshmallow Jesus

At this time of year–approaching Easter–a couple of hands-on lessons about Jesus’ death and resurrection start to make the rounds in Christian circles.  They’re recipes where the final product (either cookies or rolls) are puffed up, yet empty–like the tomb on the third day.

I love lessons that involve learning while you actually DO something. So we tried one recipe when my kids were five and eight years old, and it although it was certainly hands-on, it didn’t turn out quite as I imagined.

Resurrection Rolls

Refrigerated crescent rolls

Melted butter

Large marshmallows



1.  Give each child a triangle of crescent rolls.  The crescent roll represents the cloth that Jesus was wrapped in.  Read Matthew 27: 57-61.

2.  Give each child a marshmallow.  This represents Jesus.

3.  Have him/her dip the marshmallow in

They Grow Up So Fast

Picture of a funny first grade writing assignment: Favorite Song? “Get Lucky.” They do grow up so fast.

Let’s Play Babies!

Ava: “Mommy, want to play babies? You and Jack are the babies and I’m the Mommy?”

Me: “Yes, please!”

Ava: “Okay babies, time to clean up the Barbies. Mommy didn’t make this mess!”

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by Mads Boedker

Diplomacy in Action

When I was pregnant I read books like “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding.” Silly me.

What did I really need to become a mom? A crash course in conflict negotiation at the UN. Because every day I practice (and fail at) the art of negotiation with my three kids.

In the morning, I fight off brainwashing from my masterful three-year-old daughter (who, like most dictators, is a devil disguised as an adorable urchin). When I ask, “Who wants to feed the cat?” she answers, innocently, “I do!” I play along even though I know this is unusual for H.R.H.

She slips her hand into the bag, selects a few pellets and arrays them in the cat’s bowl. Then she looks at me (was that a wink?) and pours out the contents of the bag across the floor.

Fine, I’ll clean it up later. I take a deep

Century Old Mama

One of the weirder mom quotes: We were reading a story when out of the blue my six year old asked me, “Mommy have you lived for a century?”

I replied “No, that’s 100 years.” “Are you sure?” he said. “Yep, I’m sure butterbean.” (Though sometimes it feels like it.)

Our Sister, Sally

My town suffered through a rare winter this year. Our suffering was due entirely to many canceled or delayed school days on days when, in fact, there was no actual winter weather. It was cold, but the anticipated ice only developed a couple of times.

On the last of these closures sans ice, we had to get out of the house. Had to. So we went to the movies with everyone else in town, and then we ran errands. My boys were as happy to be out as I was, and they behaved like angels.

They were absolute angels right up until they completely lost their minds.

On the way to Target after seeing The Lego Movie, my oldest said, “It’s funny that a character in the movie was named Lucy, since we know someone named Lucy.”

Uh-huh, I nodded, while navigating traffic. An entire city off of work and school makes for worse

Zombie Grandma

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the time (second grade) when kids try to figure out death.

“Your mom’s DEAD!” my son reminds me from the back seat. “I know,” I say. “That’s a real thing. It makes me sad.” But nothing I say changes his interest in

I’ll Never Call Them Flip Flops Again

My daughter was looking for some other shoes when it was warm out. I told her she could look in her closet for flip flops. “What are those?” she said. I described them. “Oh, vagina shoes,” she said.

Because, of course.

Photo by: Rudolf Vlček

And What Does Your Mother Do?

We were on vacation, five people crammed into a tiny hotel room. I told the kids they needed to find something to do for a few minutes so I could shower and the husband could get the car.

“It must be hard,” my seven-year-old son said.


“Trying to take care of yourself when you have to take

Fiction from a Four Year Old

My four year old eagerly absorbs myths and stories, and all of them hold equal weight. The other night she created a fiction mix that combined all the recent tales she’s taken in. It went like this:

The wicked witch took Dorothy’s dog Toto away and then the big storm came and she

What Our Children Want Us to See

“I wish you were my mom,” Jeremy said—not once, but twice.

I wasn’t even a mother yet. I was simply a teacher who listened and loved and ran to her mentor if she didn’t know what to do—which was quite often.

But in Jeremy’s eyes, those traits were enough to qualify me as a good mom.

For weeks leading up to his admission, I noticed that when he would hug me, he’d take in deep breaths—as if my scent was his oxygen. He lingered in my classroom long after the other children departed to proudly present me with a rock or a feather he found in his backyard. And sometimes he would just stand next to me—not saying anything, just standing near. It was clear Jeremy found comfort in my presence, but until he voiced his wish for me to be his mom, I had no idea why.

“What do you need that you aren’t getting at home?” I cautiously asked one day, not sure if I really wanted to know the answer.

Jeremy’s words were chilling. I can still remember how dark his eyes became, like the bottomless depths of a somber lake, when he whispered, “I just want her to see me.”

Apples to Apples

two boys playing card game

Once upon a time, when we still needed babysitters, my niece offered to watch the kids while we went out with my brother and sister-in-law. Her only payment was that the kids had to play the card game of comparisons “Apples to Apples” with her. No problem. The kids were more than

Bad Influence

My son came back from a playdate at a new friend’s house. “Their house is SO much cleaner than ours,” he said.

I told him not to see that friend again; that family’s a bad influence.

Where’s That Baby?

While talking with a pregnant friend, I explained to my two-and-a-half-year-old son that Aunt Cricket has a baby boy in her tummy. He knelt down and tried to look up her dress to see him.

Would You Like a Rodent With That?

The other day at dinner, I asked my seven-year-old son if he had thought about what he wanted to do for his next birthday. His eyes grew wide and then he said, “I know! I’ll have a Rodent Dr. Pepper party!”

When I asked what this could possibly mean, he explained that the kids who were allowed to have it could drink Dr. Pepper. We would also buy enough rodents so that each party guest could go home with one. When I asked whether the rodents would be allowed to drink Dr. Pepper, my son gave me an incredulous look. Because, you know, what a silly question.

A native Austinite and soccer-playing mom, Nicole Basham uses her seven-year-old son as an excuse to rediscover her hometown. In Thoreau’s words, her mission is to “suck out all the marrow of life,” or in her son’s words, to cultivate in him a love of “advenchers”.

Water Conservation

Every time it rains my daughter says, “Look mom, God’s watering the plants again, and it sure is a lot of it. Don’t you think he’s wasting a lot of water, like you say when I leave the faucet on?”

Chiamommas are four different mommas who love to blog about our day-to-day life.