I have a confession to make: the reason we decided to have a baby is so our lives can be a walking game of Mad Libs, which is possibly the best game ever. No, really. I will sacrifice myself to dirty diapers, $8,000 braces, and parent/teacher conferences if, every so often, my child just walks into the room and describes her new set of (adjective) blocks as making her feel like (gerund) (adverb) whenever she (verb).
The Set-Up: My brother was six years old, and for probably the fourth time in his life he was making a trip to the ER for a gash/infection/broken extremity. The doctor entered the consulting room where Trevor and my dad were waiting to see him. The doctor was of Middle Eastern descent and wearing a Kelly green blazer.
My Brother’s Response: Trevor looks straight at the doctor and asks him, “Do you speak Irish?” What makes it best is that he said this in a highland twang.
Y’know, so the maybe-Irish doctor could understand him were he not yet acquainted with a southern American accent.
The Set-Up: I once worked with a guy whose girlfriend was a first grade teacher. On the first day of school, the teacher asked the students to draw a picture of what they wanted to learn to do that year. One child was hoarding all the gray crayons, so the teacher came over to investigate the situation.
A Student’s Response: When she asked him what he wanted to learn to do that year, he looked straight at her and said, “I want to learn to cut metal.”
Well, YEAH. Me too, come to think of it.
The Set-Up: The year was 2003 and newly-coupled B and I had just seen The Lion King Broadway musical with my family. It was a-ma-zing. We were struck with how well-staged and moving it was, and based on the comments of other theater-goers who filed out of the theater with us, they did too. In the crush of the crowd, we were caught behind a dad and his little boys, probably ages three and four. The dad was pumping them for information on how much they loved the show.
The Boys’ Responses: The three year old glowed, as the dad clearly wanted. The four year old?
“I have earwaxes in my ear.”
The Set-Up: B was teaching social studies to a classful of first graders in Korea at our English academy. The text was an American social studies book and included a brief explanation of slavery in the US. B did his best to give the kids a rated-G version of this pretty sensitive topic that these kids could have very well never had any exposure to before. He explained that slaves were people who worked in the houses or farms of other people for no money, and who often lived in those homes as well.
One Student’s Response: “Oh yes! My mom is thinking about getting one of those!”
We think that maybe the girl’s mom was looking for an English-speaking au pair.
And the creme de la creme:
The Set-Up: 2000 was the year that brought the world my awesome cousin Maddie. She was the most awesome baby EVER. I am crossing my fingers that Bebe takes after her. But I digress.
So, Maddie couldn’t’ve been more than a few months old when one day my mom, Trevor, and I went over to my Aunt Jaye’s house for an afternoon visit. We were all sitting in the living room watching Miss Maddie coo and be generally adorable when Trevor sneezed.
Maddie’s Response: This tiny little thing said, “Gesundheit!” I swear on all that is holy that she did.
We all heard it.
All our jaws dropped. We looked at each other to confirm what we had just heard. The blank, astounded expressions on our faces affirmed that we had just heard a German word pass through the lips of this tiny person.
And of course Maddie then went back to blowing spit bubbles.