Used Booby Traps

Sometimes I feel like this has become a blog about my three year old, Kate. All Kate, all the time. Kate and her potty mouth. Kate not using the potty. Kate mortifying me. Kate being Kate.

I’ve actually hesitated several times, fingers poised over my keyboard, pondering whether or not I should really write yet another play-by-play of Kate’s ability to drop salty words like a world-weary sailor. Really? I thought. Should I? People must be tired of this storyline by now. I know I am.

Whatever. In the end this endless cycle of blog posts dedicated to Kate will become part of her history, her moments of naughtiness preserved future consumption. Maybe it’s because she’s the baby of the family, or because she’s so petite, or because she’s so petite and now sports a saucy little bob. She insists on pulling her own crazy outfits together each morning and she’s just so.darn.cute.

She has the best comic timing.

She makes me laugh when I know I shouldn’t but I just can’t help myself.

Part of her charm comes from her vast range of facial expressions.  She also punctuates her words with her hands. As in those open-handed chopping movements while she impatiently reminds me, “I toad you I don’t wike hot dogs, Mom!”

A few weeks ago I decided to kill some time while Gwen was at preschool by hitting the local Goodwill. Kate loves Goodwill. She finds Beanie Babies like a champ and, during this particular visit she discovered an unopened package of SpongBob paper cups. Her excitement was infectious. I understood her joy at having found an unexpected treasure in an unlikely place. After all, that’s why we hunt at the Goodwill, always searching for white American pottery or vintage oil paintings. I didn’t score that day, but Kate sure did.

She loves the tactile experience of touching things I’d rather she didn’t touch. Though this particular Goodwill is clean and lacking that musty thrift store smell, I have a slight problem with her diving into a rack of ogre-sized bras. I mean, are they used? Who the hell buys a used bra?

“Oh.My.God,” I heard her say, “Wook.At.Dis. WOOK AT DIS, MOM! It’s a gweat big booby twap!”

“Jeeeesus, that is big!” I breathed, and was momentarily hypnotized by a set of bra cups the size of my head.

I shook it off and said, “Kate, put that back now and let’s walk over that way,” pointing to anywhere but the vicinity of potentially used undergarments.

“Wait, wook at dis booby twap. It’s got polka bots!” she screamed, holding a giant black and hot pink polka dotted bra up to her chest. She gave a little twist back and forth and admired herself in the mirror.

“Pretty!” I cooed, “Okay…let’s go this way now.” I began leading her away from the booby traps…erm, used bras.

Reluctantly, she hung the bra back up and began to follow me, the heels of her yellow rain boots thunking against the floor. As we neared the checkout, the thunk, thunk of Kate’s boots abruptly stopped. After a moment of silence, I turned to see what distracted her. The moment we made eye contact she shrieked, “Oh, no! I weft my SpongeBob cups! My SpongeBob cups!” She took off, her boots thunking at a high rate of speed as she retraced her steps.

I couldn’t see her anymore, but I followed the sound of her boots and the heads of other Goodwill shoppers who looked down as she ran past, their faces breaking into a smile. Eventually, her boots came to a stop and I heard her little voice say, “Oh! Dere dey are!”

On her way back up the aisle, and once more in my sight, she triumphantly held the SpongeBob cups up and called out, “Don’t worry, Mom. I got the ficken SpongeBob cups!”

She must have noticed my wide-eyed look of horror because she immediately said, “I said ficken not fuck. That’s okay, right Mom?”

A woman perusing winter coats began howling with laughter and turned to look down at Kate as she passed by. Then she looked at me and said, “She makes a good point!”

Chalkboard Declarations

First, let me begin by saying that I believe in self-expression via writing. Words are the most effective means of communicating how we feel, right? It’s kind of a no-brainer that I, of all people, would encourage my children to write.

So with that in mind, I painted an entire wall in Joe’s room with chalkboard paint.

It’s been fun to find their silly little drawings. Joe’s nearly perfect attempts to recreate Chomp from Super Mario World. Gwen’s weird-looking princess people with something resembling an antenna springing forth from their heads. A series of wobbly lines drawn by Kate and placed directly over the artwork of her siblings thus eliciting screams of protest and angry pleas for me to make her stop.

Sometimes Gwen is permitted to sleep on the top bunk in Joe’s room. These are the nights when her heart swells with joy and she beams with giddy delight at his invitation for a sleepover. We know that giggles and fake farts sounds are part of the deal. Dave and I accept that we’ll be required to stand at the bottom of the stairs and issue several warnings to settle down. Of course we know this, but boy, do those two children share a special bond. We love to see them loving each other.

So last week, during one of their sleepovers, Dave and I let them giggle and make fart sounds for a bit too long. Mostly because the giggles had turned to uncontrollable belly laughs. The deep and uncontrollable kind that can be so rare for Joe as he struggles with ADHD and anxiety and emotions. He’s a serious guy. So when he laughs so hard that he’s gasping for air, we let him and we share a glance and a chuckle before finally issuing the “that’s enough now” statement.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t give those belly laughs much thought the next morning. They had become a warm memory, filed away for use at some future date when I attempt to recall what Joe and Gwen sounded like at ages 7 and 5. When I need to pull that memory out because I’m pining for these days. The very days we are experiencing right now. The ones that parents of grown children tell me I will miss. I believe them. I do. But when you’re in the thick of it, it is hard to embrace that sentiment. Despite the wistful expression that washes over the face of a stranger when they see me herding my noisy flock through the grocery store, the look that comes right before they say, “I remember those days.” They say things like this as they stare at my children, not really seeing them at all, but traveling back in time to spend just a moment with their little ones courtesy of a warm memory filed away long ago.

When a complete stranger remarks that they miss their little ones, I pause. I do. I pause because I know I’ll feel the same way one day. Mostly because my naughty little brood makes me laugh. Despite their decidedly fresh behavior and inappropriate language, I will miss them terribly when they become pimply and gangly-limbed humans.

However, I will not miss finding the messages of self-expression that make it abundantly clear what those sibling slumber party belly laughs were all about.

 
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Origins of the F-Bomb

I was in the laundry room last weekend, folding the mountain of laundry and half-listening to David and Kate talk to one another. From three rooms away, I heard something hit the floor followed by Kate jabbering something in her Kate way. I heard David ask, “What did you just say?”

She obliged him and repeated her word. “Fuck.”

David’s footsteps were suddenly coming in my direction. He pushed through the laundry room doors and looked at me with raised eyebrows. “I just dropped something on the floor and Kate said fuck!”

“No she didn’t.” I responded. “She said walk, it just comes out sounding like fuck.”

“No. She said fuck.” His eyebrows were climbing dangerously higher as he shot me a look of silent blame, then turned and left doors swinging in his wake.

It’s my fault. I’ll take the blame on this one, although, he isn’t immune to dropping the F-Bomb…let’s just make that clear. But the truth of the matter is that Kate spends the majority of her time in my presence. Who else would she have learned that filthy word from? Plus, her timing and usage of the F Word reeks of my frustrated responses to a dropped object. You know when you’re trying to rush three children out the door and you’re running slightly behind then a snack cup of Cheerios that you’re struggling to fill implodes all over the floor? Well, I might not realize it in the moment, but I’m quite sure that my response to the Cheerios rolling across the floor is a hearty, “FUCK!”

Can I share something else with you? I’m ashamed of my foul mouth. I am. Really. I’ve dug into the deep dark recesses of my brain, attempting to recover the memory of exactly who it was that swore like a sailor in my childhood. In that very Generation X way, I want to blame someone else for causing my foul mouthed outbursts. But who? I don’t remember anyone swearing quite as much as I do. Maybe it was my brother’s fault. He was five years older and I emulated him. I followed him and his friends around when they didn’t know I was following them. Pre-teen boys swear a lot, don’t they?

Once, I spied my brother and our neighbor sitting in a truck at our farm. Their heads bent over something that was out of my line of sight. I watched from the horse barn until my curiosity got the best of me, then meandered in their direction, dragging a stick through the dirt, I pretended to stumble upon them purely by accident. They were so engrossed in their magazine that they had no idea I was there until it was too late to hide the outdated issue of Hustler. “Whatcha doin’?”

I’ll never forget the look of guilty surprise on my brother’s face. As if they had been delivered an electrical shock, those two boys jumped and let out a startled sound that sounded a bit like a tiny yipping dog, courtesy of their changing voices. “NOTHING! GET OUT OF HERE!” Of course, being the annoying little sister, I completely ignored his seemingly harsh response to my perfectly reasonable query. “Whatcha lookin’ at?”

courtesy Google image search

“Get the FUCK OUTTA HERE!” He yelled in his high-pitched cracky changing voice. Okay, I don’t remember if that’s exactly what he said, but I do remember him yelling at me and his voice cracked. As he was yelling, he stuffed the red, dog-eared magazine under his leg. I shrugged and went on my merry way. I walked off nonchalantly dragging my stick through the dirt and acting as though I hadn’t seen a thing. I feigned complete disinterest in their smut and I allowed him to believe that I was stupid. But I went back. Yes, sir I sure did! After they had gone off to do some weird boy stuff, I went back and snooped in that old truck by the chicken coop. I found what I was looking for behind the driver’s seat. It was filled with the F Word, in every sense of the word.

Yeah, it’s totally my brother’s fault.