I appear before you on a rain-slick road. You’re driving. I’m ahead, my mouth open wide, my eyes open wider, my arms waving in panicked alarm. My lips are moving, but you can’t hear what I’m saying. And you look over to your passenger and you say, “We better stop, see what’s wrong,” and you ease up next to me. You roll down the window.
Lightning flashes. Thunder drums the dark.
And I whisper something in your ear —
Then I’m gone. Gone as fast as I appeared. As if I was never there.
And your passenger says: “Who was that? What did he say?”
You turn to your passenger and say: “…It was a warning.”
“What warning? Is the bridge out? Is there an accident up ahead? Oh my god, are we going to die? Tell me! What did he warn you about?”
And you say:
“Small children. He warned us about small children.”
* * *
Our son, the one they call B-Dub, turned five.
He has leveled up, and in a few months will DO BATTLE IN THE KINDERGARTEN ARENA.
This is amazing to me, because oh, what a glorious little person he’s becoming. He loves art and he bounces around like a springheeled monkey and he’s surprisingly compassionate. It’s terrifying to me, too, because time is like air in your lungs — you can’t keep it for long. You hold onto it long as you can, but eventually you let it out, and take in a new breath. Time slips in, slips out, and slips away. One day time, like breath, will stop for us.
But one of the most interesting and unexpected side effects of all the shit about which I had no idea. It’s not that I thought having a kid would follow a pre-designed roadmap. I knew it would be full of unexpected twists and turns, and that in basically generating a new human being you’re going to see some emergent weirdness as part and parcel of the process.
I had no idea what was waiting, though. Not really. Not truly.
And so, I appear before you now: a specter haunted by the realities of life with a tiny human. Some of you are thinking of having children. Some of you are already on your way to having them, or have children who are not just small, but very tiny, and those tiny immobilized larvae will one day soon grow up. You’re not ready. I wasn’t ready.
But I am here to prepare you.
preschool is a plague gauntlet
Here is a thing that will happen:
You will send your child to daycare or to preschool. Children at that age are basically just sticky wads of animated strawberry jam — everything gets stuck to them. Further, they are not creatures possessing adult manners. They don’t think much about, say, coughing on each other, or flicking boogers, or licking walls. It’s as if evolution has decided that children between the ages of three to five must engage in a Darwinian Thunderdome where they will test their immune system’s mettle at every possible turn.
So, they cough on each other, and it sticks. It sticks real good. All those germy bits, all those viruses and bacteria — your children are walking, talking petri dishes. Assume they are coated in a persistent grease of angry paramecia.
Here’s the problem, though: you, as an adult, have not had to test your immune system’s mettle in quite some time. Sure, sure, you go to work, but you go to work with other adults who by and large have beefed up their immune response in the normal way. But preschool? Preschool is a jungle. It is a rare bit of rainforest, dark and untested, and full of squirmy things that want to haunt your body. Bird flu? Fuck the bird flu. It’s the preschool plague you gotta watch, because as an adult, you are now going to run the same pestilential gauntlet your kid runs. At that age, kids rock around 8-12 illnesses (colds, usually) a year. That’s one or two a month. And ha ha ha you’re going to get them all. You can’t protect yourself. Your kid will sneeze into your eyeballs. He will touch your food with snot-slick fingers. And after a while you’re like, fuck it. Just gimme the sickness. Just blow your nose into my face. Get it over with. Welcome to Plaguetown.
Two winters ago, I was pretty healthy.
This past winter, I had pneumonia twice, flu once, and like, 80 colds.
THE PLAGUE GAUNTLET IS REAL
laughing at their jokes is a pathway to madness
Kids tell terrible jokes. They make almost no sense. They learn a joke format, but they have no idea what to do with it, and so it’s like, “Why did the washing machine eat the squirrel?” And you think there’s an answer there, so you say, “Why?” and then the child responds, “BECAUSE FOUR AND FIVE POOPYBUTTS LEMONADE STINKYTOWN PROBABLY.” It makes no sense. But it’s absurd, and funny in how not funny it is — and it doesn’t hurt that the young one is cackling like a witch with a cauldron full of village children. So, you do the natural thing.
NOW YOU JUST FUCKED UP.
You should not have laughed. It’s like inviting a vampire into your house. That joke, like the vampire, is here to stay. All day long the kid will be galloping around, yelling “FOUR AND FIVE POOPYBUTTS LEMONADE STINKYTOWN PROBABLY,” again and again and again. FOUR AND FIVE POOPYBUTTS LEMONADE STINKYTOWN PROBABLY. FOUR AND FIVE POOPYBUTTS LEMONADE STINKYTOWN PROBABLY. FOUR AND FIVE POOPYBUTTS LEMONADE STINKYTOWN PROBABLY.
For the small person, it just gets funnier.
For you, it’s like a worm eating your brain.
And you can’t get them to stop. Not until the next joke. Don’t get me wrong. It’s sweet, in its way. They just want to please you. They want to amuse you and themselves. But it will ruin you. It will eat your mind. Endless absurd punchlines. Around and around. Again and again. Until you’re hiding under the covers, shoving LEGO bricks into your ears.
nothing will ever be clean again, you filthy filthmongers
We have taught our kid to clean up after himself, and even still, he’s like a megaton bomb. He’s a little earthquake. He is a whirling mote of chaos in a formerly well-ordered existence, and his chaos is infectious. Nothing is ever really clean. Nothing is ever really organized. His room will be clean for five minutes, and then you blink, and instantly it’s a flood of stuffed animals, or LEGO bricks, or crayons. I’m not even sure half the things we find on the floor are his. I think children open portals to the rooms of other children, and toys flood in and out like a moving tide. Mess generates mess. CHAOS REIGNS.
all your base belong to them
My kid is a little over three-feet tall. He weighs as much as a couple pixels. He’s a scrappy, skinny little root, cute as a button, as innocuous as a bunny.
And he controls most of the territory in our house.
It happened almost overnight. He went from ROLY-POLY PILLBUG CRAWLIN’ AROUND THE FLOOR to JACKRABBIT WITH A ROCKETBOOSTER RUNNING INTO WALLS AT TOP SPEED and it just happened. He has his room. He has a playroom. You’d think — dang, for a new person, that’s a pretty good haul in a house he doesn’t pay for. Two whole rooms?
Basically a kingdom to a tiny person.
But the child, he is spatially greedy.
The living room. Our bedroom. The hallway. His toys creep in like possessing tendrils. His stuff, his presence, his chocolate-smeared handprints (god, that better be chocolate). You wake up one day and you realize: “I don’t own this house anymore.” Once, he had two rooms. Now we have two rooms. I have the kitchen and the bathroom. And even the bathroom isn’t exactly a sanctum sanctorum, either. You’ll be trying to do the unholy business of taking out the body’s garbage in peace and quiet — then you’ll see a shadow descend underneath the crack below the door. Gentle footsteps. A knob, rattling. Sometimes he won’t even say anything. He’ll just stand there. Other times he’ll yell — “ARE YOU DONE POOPING.” Or he’ll say something completely absurd: “I CAN STILL SEE WITHOUT A FACE.” All to remind you that he controls it all. Get used to it. The air you breathe is his air. The floor? His floor. You’ll know when you lay in your bed and damn near get a Boba Fett up your no-no hole. Your pillow is gone because he took it. He owns it all. YOU OWN NOTHING HOW DID THIS HAPPEN TO YOU.
sometimes they’ll draw things that look like dicks or boobies
The other day at breakfast — in public — I looked over to see that my son was very plainly drawing a dong. He had his crayons and his paper and right there was just — it was a dick. It had balls at the bottom. We’re not talking like, anatomically authentic, but a basic grade school rendering of an amateur hour wangle-dang. I said, rather hesitantly, “What are you drawing, kiddo?” And he said, “I’m drawing WALL-E,” and then he proceeded to add more details, all of which thankfully eradicated the overall dickness of it. Other times, the essence remains. “I drew a plane!” Yeah, no, that’s a dick. “I drew some clouds!” Oh my god, those are boobs.
To be clear, at no point am I suggesting children or adults should be shamed about body parts — or that they should be unaware of them — just that, they have a limited availability of shapes in their palette, and when they draw, sometimes it’s a stick with a couple of circles at the end.
poop butt pee farts also humongous deuces
Everything is poop and butt and pee. All day long. And the child will never not find it hilarious. (Sometimes, you’ll think it’s hilarious, too, which will as noted only reinforces the behavior. MOMMY LAUGHED AT POOP JOKE NOW HERE ARE 758 MORE.) They will insert the word ‘poop’ into a sentence and think it’s high art. “Do you want more mashed potatoes?” “I WANT MORE POOP MASHED POTATOES HA HA HA HA.” “Have a good day at school.” “YOU HAVE A GOOD DAY AT FART HA HA HA HA.” (Okay, that was a pretty good one.)
Also, sidenote: your kids will drop Herculean deuces. It will seem impossible that the log in the toilet — which is as big as a body-builder’s flexed forearm — came out of that small person. It will be a deuce larger than you produce as an adult. It will be the kind of turd produced by a slovenly man who just ate seven microwave burritos. You will take a picture of it in the off-chance the Guinness Book of World Records will come and give your child an award.
everything is feast or famine
Last week, we couldn’t get B-Dub to finish any meal. Even snacks he’d poke at, pick at, then set aside to go play. (Basically, the meals were boring, preventing him from far more interesting endeavors, like trying to ride the dog or drawing Kylo Ren lightsabering Iron Man in the face.) And we’d have that classic fight of YOU NEED TO EAT YOUR FOOD and he doesn’t want to eat his food, and we don’t want to force him to clean his plate because sometimes people just aren’t hungry but at the same time, we kind of need him to consume basic nutritional intake so he doesn’t get scurvy or rickets or some other wasting disease.
Now, this week? Flipped on its head.
This morning along, by 9:30AM, he had eaten: a bowl of cereal, a packet of applesauce, some saltine crackers, and a generous plate of scrambled eggs. I’m pretty sure he was thinking of killing and eating one of us to slake his howling hunger.
It’s not just with food, though. This is life with a small child. It’s EVERYTHING or it’s NOTHING. It’s 60MPH in one direction only. This week, he likes My Little Pony. Next week it’s LEGO. This week he wants to constantly be outside, next week the outside is poison and the sun is killing him and it’s terrible why do we torture him. Which leads me to:
goddamnit they’re dramatic
Speaking of which, your kids are are going to be mega-dramatic. Every slight against them is Shakespearean in its dimension. You tell them, “No, you can’t have that toy,” and it’s as if you shat inside their soul. It’s like you denied them vital life services. They’re going to die if they can’t have that toy. That toy is everything. That toy is life.
They get a boo-boo and it’s like, AGGGH I AM DYING, THEY WILL HAVE TO TAKE OFF THIS LIMB TO SAVE THE BODY, I’M BASICALLY GUSHING BLOOD OVER HERE, I’M PRETTY SURE THAT’S MY ORGANS OVER THERE ON THE FLOOR, FLOPPING AROUND LIKE A FISH TAKEN OUT OF WATER. Meanwhile, there is no actual cut, and when you ask them to identify which foot they injured, the foot changes every time they answer. “This one. No, this one. That one. The other one. Just give me a Band-Aid.” (Spoiler alert: Band-Aids are basically like injury stickers. They just want them. They think Band-Aids will fix bruises.)
We have at times offended him and he has made it very clear that he would now like to go to a different family, he does not like this house, he does not like his room, he does not like the food, he likes nothing about this place including the parents, and by golly, he wants to be adopted out elsewhere. “I want to go live with another family tomorrow,” he says. I can’t even twist it around on him. I say, “Okay, I’ll get the paperwork started,” and you think, ha ha, you tiny fool, you will think I’m serious. You expect him to backpedal, but oh no. You dig deeper: “Your next family doesn’t have a TV, lives in a dumpster, and has a pet crocodile who will bite your legs off while you sleep.” “GOOD,” the child answers, “THAT SOUNDS MUCH BETTER THAN HERE.”
Sometimes, they can hurt your feelings. They can hurt you in your very heart.
Our son is fond of saying, “You guys don’t make good choices.” It’s a surprisingly hurtful thing to say. He doesn’t mean it to be. It actually sounds rather mild as a condemnation, and we laughed it off at first. But as an adult you’re suddenly cast on a doomward spiral: OUT OF THE MOUTH OF BABES COMES WISDOM AND OH GOD MY LIFE WHAT HAVE I DONE WITH IT. You suddenly question everything from that doughnut you ate yesterday to your choice in a college degree.
you can’t negotiate with terrorists except you’re going to anyway
You’ll make a deal with them. Because it seems like the thing to do. Sure, sure, you’re a real hardass who would never negotiate with your kids, except somehow despite having the patience of an irritable, pee-filled chipmunk, somehow your child will outlast your stubbornness. So at some point you’ll try to negotiate.
You’ll say, I will give you the thing, but first you have to do the other thing.
And they’ll agree.
And you feel like, yeah. Wow. Compromise. It’s how everything happens. It’s the root of politics, of career, of life itself — compromise. And you feel surprisingly adult, because your child has learned a Very Valuable Lesson™.
Which is true.
But they learned a different lesson than you thought.
The child learned: MY PARENT IS WEAK AND WILL MELT LIKE ICE CREAM IN THE HOT SUN.
Next time, they show up, and instead of fighting, your kid offers the bargain right out of the gate. “I would like a cookie, so I will do this other thing to get the cookie.” Again you feel adult. Again you feel like — bingo, bango, bongo in the Congo, look at how well compromise works!
The time after that, though…
The child knows to test your resolve. If the small human can get a cookie after, say, eating five more bites of food, then how about four? And you say NO, IT MUST BE FIVE, SO SAYETH THE LAW, THAT IS HOW COMPROMISE WORKS, and once again, the child has rooted herself to the idea that there is literally no way in heaven, earth and hell she is going to eat five bites of food. It will be four, and there will be a cookie. Or! Or the child will eat five bites, but they will be bites so small they could be described as “molecular.” And the child will say with a cheeky twinkle, I ate my fiiiiive biiiiites. And you’re like, goddamnit, kid.
You stand your ground, of course. You plant your feet and make a decision. And maybe you “win.” But probably, the kid goes away having eaten no bites and nobody gets any cookies and now you hear about that specific cookie for the next six years.
Did I mention kids are dramatic? Yeah.
Finally, this leads me to:
never promise them anything ever
Do not make them a promise.
Because you will, by some strange universal law, have to break that promise.
And you think, oh ho ho, but it’s a small promise. Sure, we can have ice cream when we get home. Yeah, we can go swimming tomorrow. Yes, of course we can take Tiny the Owl (stuffed animal; not actual owl) to Little Jim-Bob’s house.
You’re a positive parent. These are easy promises. No problem!
You get home, and there’s no ice cream, and the store is closed.
You can’t go swimming tomorrow because the pool is rented out.
You can’t find Tiny the Owl, or you remember that Little Jim-Bob is allergic to Fake Owls.
And now, now you’re trapped between the Scylla and Charybdis of a promise made and your inability to fulfill it. Adults, of course, can negotiate this disappointment well. And of course part of your job as a parent is in fact to inoculate your children against that kind of disappointment so that they can weather larger problems later. And yet, you made a promise, you fucker. Your child remembers. Your child never forgets that promise you broke. Not that night. Not the next night. I suspect your kid will remember it when he gives your eulogy, and he’ll probably tell everybody about that time you said you’d let him play Minecraft after school but you didn’t because basically, you’re a monster who hates fun.
I always wondered why my mother said two words to me very, very often:
Now, I know why. Because you can’t promise anything. Not even simple things. Everything got the answer of “We’ll see.” Can I have ice cream? Can I have a puppy? Will there be air to breathe? Will I be murdered tonight? We’ll see, child. We’ll see.
Practice the phrase well, young parents.
I Kid, Of Course
The tiny person is the best thing, ever. All these things aren’t really warnings (okay, the plague gauntlet is real), but is just stuff that may or may not happen and even when it does and it feels frustrating, it ends up fun or funny later. Having the kid is the greatest charm and the weirdest adventure, and happy birthday to him. We love him very much. Even though he’s taken over our house and says “poop” a lot.
And let’s be honest. I say “poop” a lot, too.
62 responses to “Ten Warnings About The Small Children You May One Day Have”
I mock your germ gauntlet – after teaching Kindergarten, I could swim in the Ganges. Those kids had the weirdest germs ever, including Space-Time Continuum Infection. Don’t even ask.
But nowadays I never, ever get ill. Coxsackie’s going around? *YAWN* Swine flu? Pshaw.
PS – Coxsackie is a really funny word.
Laughed. So. Much. Thx for posting this.
So, my sister-in-law and I have had a bit of a chat, and we’ve come to the conclusion that you are clearly spying on us with mind-rays. Please stop.
Was watching fireworks with my nephew a couple years ago when he was just about five. Everyone is ooooing and ahhhhing. He realizes this is a be loud as you want time. What word do you shout loud as you can when you are 5?
Then you try to actually fart in time with the fireworks while shouting it.
It’s hilarious when kids draw naughty bits… but, for me when I was little it was all about words. I was trying to make up a whole new alphabet, and remember making up the word ‘nookie’… my folks turned on me quickly (as I said it in public… in the city street loud enough for everyone to hear it!) and told me to shut my mouth! I was 7 years old and had no idea what I said was another word for sex… I thought I had made up a very cool word from the recesses of my brain. The strange thing was that I couldn’t stop staying it because it sounded funny… now, wait until you kid starts staying those words! 😛
It’s when they’re young you’ll also be trying to get around promises. I remember when my niece was 4 years old, I promised I’d never lie to her… and to this day, I never have. She’s 17 this year and has appreciated my honesty – because her Mum hasn’t been the most honest person to her in her life; so when her Aunty tells her that everything she says is the truth – I make sure it is. I also make sure to keep every secret she ever tells me under lock and key
I invented “porn” for mixing my mashed potatoes & corn. It seemed natural after “Peatatos” (mashed potatoes & peas).
My nephew is five, and the worst flu in my life came from his petri dish cheeks. My own sons never got me that ill.
I await your thoughts on teenagers with a fifth of bourbon because they’re a species unlike any other. I’m not sure they’re human.
All this terror your young ‘uns are providing is nature’s way of training you for teenagers, Chuck.
So. Much. Smothered-because-at-work laughing. Thanks for that! Oldest is 22 and married; Youngest is 16.5 and about once a week I still complain “there’s no such thing as PROPERTY RIGHTS when you’re a parent, dammit!” Also? Sometimes it’s not chocolate.
The tiny person IS the best thing ever. Enjoy it while you’ve got it. My house is spotless, I own it in its entirety, I haven’t caught a cold in years, nor have I laughed so hard I almost cried, because my tiny person is 6’4″, no longer draws body parts or negotiates, isn’t even really dramatic any more. He’s still terrific, of course, but oh, I do miss that tiny person that was.
The thing that people really never tell you about being a parent is that the tiny, cool, PITA person disappears in a flash of lightning and never, ever comes back again. They become a new person, not so tiny, still maybe cool, but you don’t ever get to play with the three year old version or the five year old version or the eight year old version or the eleven year old version again.
I’m totally weeping now. My 8- and almost-5-year-old sons are fast asleep, but I may have to go snuggle them and be extra silly and sweet with them I. The morning. Thank you for the reminders.
You’re a sweet man, Chuck.We are at the grandma & grandpa stage now. I love my kids dearly, and their kids even more, but I turned the girls’ bedroom into an office and the boys’ into a playroom for the grand kids. Anyone who wants to come back and live with grandma is sleeping on an inflatable bed in the family room. Which is just off the kitchen. And good old hippy-vegan grandma gets up at 5:00 a.m. to make coffee and likes to open the day with a little soothing Led Zeppelin, or Rainbow while she makes Tofu Surprise for breakfast.
They rarely stay longer than a day or two.
I want to be you when I’m a grandparent.
my daughter just turned 5. She’s always been great – though there are dramatics, especially if she can’t do something by herself, but god forbid you should try to help her. I’ve a 6 month old son now, though, and I’m taking photos of how our house is now so we can remember it, because he’s going to fucking destroy it, I can see it in his eyes…
Mine turns six soon. This is so insanely accurate. I keep wondering when I’ll get to take a crap in private again.
Well, I’m up to 8 and 10… no dice yet.
My daughter is five. Son is three. Nothing quite like hearing what, most assuredly, must be the Trojan War outside the bathroom door just as your bare cheeks hit the cold porcelein. Every. Damn. Time.
This is one of my favorite posts of yours! Love the part about breath and time. Thanks!
ROFL!! So true. Me boyos are 21 and 18 but I can remember those days … sometimes it still feels like ‘those days’! And they still laugh like loons when either one lets loose a berserker belch!! Then again, so do I … oh dear …
I have this problem too. My 17-y.o. is being trained to belch. A lot.
Plague thing, so true. Now, I am lucky, as my tiny humans are taller than me, but luckier still because I work in children’s dept. at book store, so I get sick about once a year with some newly mutated virus. So someday I’ll be Granabby and won’t be supersick. My boss had grandkids and he went from being never sick to always sick. What you say is true. And funny! thanks (because if you can’t laugh…)
It’s reassuring that other people are going through this but also terrifying that at age 5 some of this will still be a factor. My kids are two and I read this list laughing/crying/trying to remember what I’d already read because I got interrupted eight times.
(On the “every injury is the worst thing ever” front: my son had a scrape on one ankle last week that’s all healed now but he still remembers where it was and panics when he realizes he has no Band-Aid. The best part is that he actually got a worse rash from the Band-Aid adhesive than the initial scrape was.)
*sidles up inconspicuously*
*one last furtive glance*
…he will be a tween.
Nothing will prepare you. Nothing.
*fades into shadows*
This post is spot on. I have a four year old and am already preparing for the preschool plague this fall. I really laughed at your kiddo’s request for a new family. My kiddo’s version of that is to say “I don’t love you anymore, Mommy”.
“I always wondered why my mother said two words to me very, very often:
Mine was “I’ll keep it in mind.”
My daughter learned to ask “Will you keep it in your mind, mama?”
My mother’s was … **Maybe.
Can I watch muppets, momma? Maybe.
Even after she became a grandma…
MOMmom, can I play Zelda? Maybe
When I asked her about it as an adult, her reply was, ** Never answer Yes, or make promises to mini terrorists. It shows weakness and they will capitalize on that, always. So glad you’re grown. Kids really are lil fuckers.
My daughter’s just showing nascent toddlerisms–like weeping through her bedtime book because she knows her day is about to end, or shrieking if we take a toy away to feed her. She’s 9 months. I made a joke to the wife about trying for kid #2 and she gave me the facial expression version of slamming the door in my face.
So it begins. Wish me luck.
I know all of these things are real because my mom still reminds me 30 years later.
My almost-6 year old is the biggest drama llama I’ve ever met. Like huge wailing sobs over which TV show his little brother chose to watch. I seriously hope this stage ends soon because the moose sounds that come out of him really hurt my ears some days.
You had me at Time…me thinks thou has an opus of a story between that paragraph.
Happy Birthday to B-Dub!
And, it doesn’t necessarily get better with grandkids, either! Of course, I am the Mean Grandma, who doesn’t spoil the kiddos (much) and has rules and stuff at her house, too. Had them all here yesterday, and the four year old was acting like a pooprat (I say poop a lot, too) over something on the TV, so Grandma turned it OFF!!! Horror! Evil! Worst, Place. Ever. Ran to Mom- “I don’t want to visit Grandma any more!” Mom just said, “Hey, Grandma’s house, Grandma’s rules.” An hour later, when she was trying to get his shoes on him so they could go home, all we heard was: “No!!! I want to stay with Grandma!!!!”
Kids. Go figure.
The mimicking is always the best. My Father learned that, much to his chagrin. I was four and Dad took me to the mall. A woman cut him off in the parking lot, causing him to curse, “Stupid tit!” By chance, we walked in at the same time as she did, and I strode right up to and waved, smiling angelically, “Hiiiii, Tit!” Apparently, that was ~not~ her real name…
Thank you Chuck! and Happy Birthday to you all! You made it to five! Whew…. now keep going! 🙂
The broken promise thing — yes fifty years ago my parents promised me I could go home to Texas with Uncle Dale. Then it was like ahhh hahaha, what you didn’t know we were kidding? … then when my own son was ten I was so damn confident my man Barkley and his Suns would beat my kid’s Jordan and his Bulls that I made this innocent bet. And ended up with a bright red #23 shaved into my head, all because I remembered what that non-trip to Texas felt like. But goddammit, who the hell wants to go to Texas?
Chuck, I just laughed so hard that I cried. Actual freakin’ tears, because this is the best description of parenting ever. And I say that as a non-parent, who has merely witnessed the chaos of child-wrangling. But this is real and basically gold. And I am very glad you posted this. Going to show it to my best friend this weekend!!
In tears over here. Totally accurate. My youngest also just turned 5 and is getting ready for kindergarten. Luckily I have two older ones so my immune system is up to the task. Mostly. My goal for the next two years is not to get lice again. Kinder and 1st grade are the worst for lice. My daughter’s hair is going to be in a braid or pony tail for the next two years.
When my younger sister was five, she said “Jesus Christ!” after hearing our mother say it once too often. My mother hastily reminded her that “you can only say Jesus Christ in church.”
That Sunday in church, all dressed up in a froofy little gown, she sat in the pew saying, “Jesus Christ, it’s warm in here, Jesus Christ that’s a pretty dress, Jesus Christ I’m hungry,” etc. My parents were mortified while also trying not to laugh.
The topper was afterwards as we walked to our car she said, “That was fun. Now where can we go to say ‘shit’?”
My nephew was obsessed with trucks. Garbage trucks, tow trucks, etc… you get where I’m going with this I’m sure. He also has a cute speech impediment.
We lived three blocks from a firestation, which we passed or trucks would pass us on his walk to the Catholic Pre-K / Kindergarten he attended. I can remember to this day the look on the nuns faces when Chris excitedly shrieked and screamed, OOOHHHH Dooba! Fire Fuck! FIRE FUCK! FIRE FUCK!
Yeah, my sister had the same issue. We had to tell her those were cars.
This was hilarious and true! Although, my girls are adults now, I remember like it was yesterday. They will embarrass you too. I remember testing driving a new car once, the salesman was driving first and explaining all the gadgets. My two girls were in the backseat. Suddenly, we heard from my 8 y/o, “Mama! Camille just wiped a bugger on the back of that man’s seat!” Camille was my two year old. You should have seen the salesman’s face! Needless to say – I bought the car. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent) LOL.
Great post! @sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles
I shared this with my daughter and her husband; she gave birth to twin sons on May 12th. I figured it’d be a good idea to warn her in advance that of what she’s in for a double dose of–plus, twin-telepathy.
(The poor mites were two months’ premature, so they’ll be in the hospital for at least another few weeks, but heck, she’s gonna have her hands full.)
Donkey farts! Why didn’t you write this 32 years ago? At least I would have been prepared. Hilarious and all true. Enjoy! They grow up waaay too fast.Thanks for the laugh, Chuck.
Just wait until he learns to read … and asks you exactly what that XXX Adult Superstore billboard means. (Why CAN’T we stop there, Dad?)
The reason kids act like something is the worst thing that has every happened to them is that it IS! They have no basis for comparison. Not being allowed to have ice cream is LITERALLY the worst thing that has every happened in their short lives. Which is kind of nice, really.
Mine are 12 and 9 so I am past the plague stage and into the “never seeing my daughter because she is always in her room on her phone” stage.
Oh, we showed them “The Fifth Element” on the weekend. Great movie. But there is a scene where the weird radio star guy is obviously giving the air hostess a blow job (do you still call it a blow job for women?) and my nine year old son is asking me why the man keeps bobbing down while he’s talking to her…
Okay, viewing public, I’m trying to share this on Facebook, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how. Was Chuck Wendig banned by Mark Zuckerberg or something?
Yes. Mine is 3.5. His first year in daycare I was sick all the time. He’d be sick like 24 hours and I’d gasp and wheeze for two weeks and feel good for maybe 5 days before he brought home a new plague. Children are cesspits. But cesspits covered in awesome sauce.
I remember secretly observing my kids sitting in front of a super Nintendo at the ages of 3 and 5, and my daughter saying, “Shit. Shit. Shit. as she tried desperately to get Mario to actually land on the mushroom she was aiming for (her 3 year old brother just seemed to have knack for it). It was too funny to even get mad about.
My kids are all grown up. So I can promise you with fair amount of knowledgeable authority, that your roller coast is just now leaving the station. The carney has opened up the brake and the creaky cars are starting up the track. It will have its ups and downs, but damn if I wouldn’t do it all again in a heartbeat, just to hear that 5 year old girl saying shit at Mario all over again.
With our oldest, we discoverd a second Plague time: when he started Jr. high, and went from sharing germs with 30 kid to sharing with a whole school, he got sick even MORE than in preschool. Didn’t share QUITE as generously as when little, but still, I had above average number of colds. AND we got a letter from the school notifying us he had an unacceptable number of absences.
You failed to warn peeps about little boys and how creative they can be. For example: My 4y/o was playing outside in our freshly excavated yard. Dirt is boy heaven, only second to mud. My son decided he wanted to “paint” himself with mud. Paint himself to look like a “skeleton.” He comes into the house covered in mud from head to toe. Face, chest, extremities, completely covered. Not a big deal. After all, that’s what boys do. However, there wasn’t any mud outside. Where did he find the mud? “I made it!” He said proudly. Where did he get the water? “With my pee!” His face beamed with pure genius! Yes, my 4 y/o was covered in mud that was made by his own pee. Gross!
This is amazing.
A great kid!
[…] “Ten Warnings About the Small Children You May One Day Have” by Chuck Wendig […]
Ah yes… I have a Teen (16), a Tween (11) and a Toddler (2.5) and I read this aloud to my fiance… we were both in stitches, him trying to battle a vampire on the PS4 at the same time and me trying not to cough myself to death between sentences – we’ve just had the first few months of the Preschool Plague hit us and I’ve not quite recovered from it yet. Toddler appears to be a younger female version of B-Dub!
Tween is hitting Puberty big time and as she has a flair for the Dramatic, that’s all we get; in 4K, Surround Sound with commentary (from Teen) and Costume Changes up to five times a day at the weekend.
Teen is Angsting with the best. He flips from pure Existentialist to Happy-Go-Lucky and back again within a New York Second. Add in a little High Functioning Autism and you’ve got a recipe for Doldrums so dense that you could mine it for Gold.
I adore all of them. My house will never be the same (it wasn’t spotless to start with, but I had a handle on it) and I will miss the mess when it’s gone.
OMG. So. Freaking. Funny. I should know by now not to read your blog posts at work. Too hard to not laugh out loud. My oldest is graduating from HS this weekend, but I still remember. Deuces. OMG. So many times had to take him straight to the tub (before he was potty-trained). Then clean the tub. Ugh. Enjoy now, cuz teens will sneak up when you least expect them (be glad he’s a boy. Trust me.)
Chuck, you think it’s bad now? Just wait til he’s a teenager! 🙂
Before I had my son, my husband and I got sick once every other year and had a medicine cabinet that consisted of one expired Tylenol bottle. By the time he turned six months old our medicine cabinet expanded to three bathrooms, because we ran out of shelf space in one. Walgreens and CVS would call us for help when their supplies got low. If terrorists want to take over another country, send a bunch of 3 year-olds with colds to the opposing country and wait a week for the adults drop. They are truly little balls of Weapons of Mass Destruction.
I would love to share this with some friends, but I know they wouldn’t enjoy the smattering of stronger language. Any chance I could “edit” and share, (with appropriate acknowledgement, of course)?
I’d prefer not, but thank you for asking.
You kill me dude. So funny. I have only begun this journey with my five-month old daughter, but this post hits the feels like a Pachycephalosaurus collision. High five Dude.
[…] Chuck Wendig sums up life with a tiny human so well in just one–albeit rather lengthy–post, I’m gonna do it in separate […]