Kids are hilarious, this much we all know. America’s favorite-dad-turned-alleged-rapist Bill Cosby even had an entire show about it, the oft quoted Kids Say the Darnedest Things that had an impressive 64-episode run for the garbage that it was.
What I didn’t realize until I’d spawned off myself was that kids are at their funniest when they’re not actually yours. It’s all fun and games until you’re the one held accountable for the offensive drivel that comes out of their cherubic lips. Just the other day the teacher at Lucy’s daycare came to me with a perplexed expression on her face, saying that Lucy had called another student a ‘tot’ and saying that while it wasn’t expressly a forbidden word, Lucy had immediately hung her head in guilt afterwards. My immediate response was basically along the lines of ‘HA HA WHAT HOW STRANGE, KIDS, AMIRITE’, but inwardly you can imagine the mingled pride and shame I felt when I deduced that Lucy had actually said ‘twat’, a favorite word of mine that I have now tragically had to cut entirely from my daily lexicon.
Unfortunately, that is just the tip of the iceberg. If the most upsetting things that Lucy produced were just curse words and the nightmares she loaded her diapers with, I would have it made in the child-rearing shade. Instead, in her nearly three years on this earth, she has also perfected the art of the insulting non sequitur.
An example of this is when she and I were having a fulfilling in-depth conversation about Oscar the Grouch’s hygiene habits. She was telling me that she was in full support of him exercising his right to live his life however he chose (“he likes to be stinky, I like that, I like him stinky”) whereas I was arguing that a little soap now and then never hurt anyone. There was a pause in conversation where she seemed to be considering my counterpoint, before she exhaled a heavy sigh and said, “Mommy, you make me tired and sad.”
I would be lying if I said that didn’t hurt. I mean, she makes me tired and sad on an hourly basis, but there’s no need to say it. Of course, instead of telling her gently that saying things like that wasn’t nice, I burst out laughing, which meant she gleefully repeated the hurtful sentiment over and over until I had turned up the music (Definitely Not One Direction) to full blast until I’d successfully drowned her out.
Now, that sort of stuff happens regularly, but the older she gets, the more artfully devastating her timing gets. She waits for lulls in conversations, moments where she can get all attention on her before delivering the fatal verbal blow. Like in the car, where Orie and I were talking about eye color and Lucy interjected sweetly, “What color are your eyes, Mommy?” I twisted around in my seat to tell her, opening my eyes wide so she could see, and she surveyed them for a moment in quiet thought before saying with a small frown, “I don’t like them.”
To be fair, I don’t know what I expected. My mother to this day likes to tell the story of how five-year-old me plucked a hair dye box off of the shelf in the grocery store, stared at the beautiful model on the front, and said with a wistful smile, “I wish you had her face.” I guess it’s in the genes, and honestly, I’d rather my kid be hilarious and a bit of a tot than boring and Stepford-y .
Though I could do without her poking me in the thigh fat and saying ‘oh no’.