I love talking about kids.
It used to be that politics, the local version of it, and sports in general were my favorite things to discuss. I still enjoy hearing about what's happening in local and regional politics, hence my job, and any kind of sport, particularly the Ravens and Orioles, but talking about children with fellow parents is the best.
I relish hearing status updates of kids, and I'm not talking about the Facebook variety either. No matter if it's 25-year-olds or 1-month-olds, it interests me. It's funny to me how most parents have a sparkle in their eye when they talk about their children, whether they are grown up, in college or still living at home. Ask a parent how their kids are doing and generally there's a smile followed by some sort of proud report on what they are up to these days.
Even if it's a report like, 'he graduated from college three years ago and has just been relaxing ever since,' or 'he is 18 months old and has not slept through the night once,' there's still a certain beaming that takes place among us parents.
Maybe it's just because of the age of my son, but it's the comments and stories about the young kids that I find most interesting. Ask me how my son is, and you could get any variety of statements or stories, all of which may or may not have to do with his disdain for whole milk, his fascination with throwing my sunglasses on the ground or his love of eggs and avocado.
Over the last year, this column has afforded me some rare insights into the funny things kids do, thanks to frank discussions, emails and phone calls, all prompted by these ramblings each week.
I thought I would pass along some of my favorites. I apologize beforehand if some of these are a little off color, but as parents you understand that not everything that happens is politically correct.
-- A young father was home alone for the weekend with his then-2-year-old daughter. Nature was calling him in a big way, so he asked his daughter to sit down and watch her favorite television program while he tended to his business. She obliged, but before sitting down, walked over to a stack of Sports Illustrated magazines and handed it to her father, saying, 'here daddy for the potty'.
-- After her daughter whispers to her she has to use the restroom at a cookout, the mother points to the house and tells her to go ahead and take care of it. The 8 year old, decked out in her swimming suit, walks over to a tree, stands there for a few minutes and returns to whisper (not really) to her mom she took care of it, as if all those watching were unaware.
-- One of my nephews seems to have an interest in politics at a young age. Sometime before his second birthday, he was asked who would be at my house during a visit. He said 'Aunt Pam.' When asked 'who else?,' he said 'Barack Obama.' When he arrived at our house and the story was told, he was asked, 'who else was running for president?' He replied, 'John Cain,' and of course everyone knew whom he meant. When asked whom he wanted to win, he sided with the GOP candidate. And, oh yeah, it maybe worth pointing out his name is Reagan, but that may just be a coincidence. The morning after the election, he asked something along the lines of 'who won?' He was dejected needless to say at the results.
-- Halloween is a big deal on my street in Berlin. Each year the block picks a theme and the houses adopts consistent decorations and the neighbors dress the part. Two years ago, it was superheroes. Last year, it was a western theme. While handing out treats to the more than 700 kids that came to our house, a little boy, around the age of 5, grabbed my fake gun, looked inside, looked up at me and turned to his mother. 'It's not loaded, mommy,' he said as he walked away. The mom looked back, shrugged her shoulders and laughed.
-- When a couple were going through the potty training days, they often told their daughter, who is now 37, to not touch anything in a public restroom because of the dirty factor. One day when she was about 3, the mom and daughter were invited to lunch at the home of a friend. While there, the daughter had to use the bathroom and went on her own. A few minutes later, a small voice yelled, 'mom, is it clean in here?' The mom was horrified but the friend found it adorable and the story was told often many years later.
-- A mother and her two children went to the park to burn off some energy. The eldest son takes off for the swing set as soon as the car is put in park, only to return a minute or so later, with a piece of dog excrement, saying, 'mommy, what's this?' Unsure, the mom smells it, and says, 'oh drop it, that's a dog turd.' The son says, 'what's a turd?' She says 'it's poop, son.' For the next couple weeks, when it came time to use the bathroom, he would say, 'mom, I have to turd.'
-- A father and 6-year-old son are eating dinner at a restaurant when the kid asks for a taste of his father's wine. After numerous attempts, the dad gives in, letting him take a taste. He spits the wine out and drops the glass on the table, spilling it all over his white T-shirt. The father says, 'just tell your mom you spilled grape juice.' The son says, 'but it's not juice daddy.'
It's worth noting I did not include any of the parents' names here for a simple reason. When they told me of these situations, they had no idea I would be summarizing them in print. I guess that's what you risk when you talk to a newspaperman.