Is this bad, Daddy?

You know, kids say the darndest things. Not only do they say the darndest things, they do the darndest things. I guess if we use basic logic, we can conclude that kids ARE the darndest things. I ought to know, I’m the proud owner of some of those darndest things!

For example, a number of years ago, I was sitting at my computer typing away when my four-year-old son (child #3) approached me with his middle finger up in the air. Needless to say, I stopped typing. It’s not like I haven’t been flipped off before, I have, but usually by teenagers or adults. My initial reaction has always been to flip them back…you know, as if I lived in New York where flipping off is considered a formal sign of greeting.

FLIPPER: @#&! %#@*! (said while flipping me off).

ME: Oh, hello! How are you? (said while flipping off in return).

But you have to understand that it was my innocent little four-year-old (once again, child #3) who was using this formal expression of sign language to tell me to have a nice day.

CHILD #3: Is this bad, Daddy? (asked while struggling to keep that little middle finger extended).

ME: Where did you learn THAT? (sternly asked while stifling a smile).

CHILD #3: Um… (whipping his hand down behind his back quickly).

ME: Did you learn it from your older brother or sister?

CHILD #3: Um…

ME: Was it your brother? (I know how to play the “Um” game).

CHILD #3: No.

ME: Was it your sister?

CHILD #3: Um… (case solved).

Now before you think my daughter is some sort of cussing brat, it turns out that my four-year-old was practicing holding out each finger (I don’t know why) and my daughter informed him not to do the middle finger because it was bad. In his defense, he had to make sure. After all, it was his sister who gave him the information.

Sibling information is always suspicious. It was when I was a kid and remains that way today. The government can’t fix THIS issue, although promising to do so during a political campaign is apparently allowed, along with other lies.

POLITICIAN: I promise to enforce sibling truth laws if you elect me! (applause from the crowd, many wearing “Make Families Great Again” hats).

POLITICIAN’S BROTHER: Yes! About time! Now maybe we can finally find out if the mailman really is your father! And those kids you claim look nothing like you, maybe we can sort that out too! (Hint: If running for office, pretend you’re an orphan).

Another example of darndest things are the “infamous” swear words brought home by the two older siblings (child #1 & child #2). In fact, I once overheard a conversation between them (I wasn’t eavesdropping…honest) and it went like this:

CHILD #1: So and so (I don’t divulge names because Johnny Henderson is grown up now and I certainly wouldn’t want to embarrass him) said the “P” word in class today!

CHILD #2: So what? I heard the “Q” word today!

CHILD #1: That’s nothing! I heard the “X” word AND the “Z” word today!

CHILD #2: Oh yeah? Really? Well, I heard the…

And so on and so on, you get the picture. There sure are a lot of new words since I was a kid, but then again, when I was a kid my parents would’ve washed my mouth out with soap if I uttered the word “sucks”. Now you can hear that word while watching children’s’ cartoons on television. As a parent, I think that “sucks.”

Isn’t it funny, though, how some things never change with kids? Here’s an example of when I said something funny, at least I thought it was funny, to the kids. The boys laughed, but this was my daughter’s response:

DAUGHTER (the child formerly known as child #1): That was so funny I forgot to laugh…

Like I stated, some things never change. That was a popular line when I was a kid, but to hear it for the first time from my daughter kind of floored me. I remembered having a handy retort for this line years ago, but like I said, she caught me off guard. Now I was curious.

ME: Did you learn that at school?

DAUGHTER: Yeah, I hear it every time I repeat one of your jokes. (Kids are still the darndest things at age eleven, aren’t they?).

ME (trying not to appear hurt): Well, do you want a handy retort when someone says that to you?

DAUGHTER: Is “retort” really a word?

I could tell that the years of teasing and telling of funny, well, I thought they were funny, stories had built a wonderful atmosphere of trust between my daughter and I.

ME: Yes.

DAUGHTER: Will it get me hurt?

ME: Um…

I guess some things have changed since I was a kid after all. I was going to have her say in retort (yes, it is a real word!) “Well, you’re so stupid you wouldn’t understand the joke anyway,” but it probably would get her hurt. Besides, as retorts go, it wasn’t good then and it probably wouldn’t be good now.

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