The World According to my Kids … From Hippos to Hogwarts

Illustration by Melissa Jefferson

Sooo … it turns out I’m not as clever as I thought I was, or cool.

I knew I was in trouble when I found myself standing at the kitchen sink last night, singing a familiar Nemo song. Dori’s “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” seemed the right soundtrack for one of life’s inevitable questions when you have a child on the swim team: “Mom, what do we do when the season’s over?”

Silence. Images of crickets and tumbleweed flashed across my mind.

Vinyl, this is iPod. iPod, meet vinyl. Nice to meet you, different wavelength.

On the Downward Slope of Clever Tricks

Theme songs for life may get you through kindergarten but hardly beyond. My son still gets a kick out of my best Peter Pan “tick-tock” rendition. He knows that there is no alligator with clock-induced indigestion roaming about, but it sure doesn’t hurt to study Mom’s face and keep a watchful eye on the bubbles anyway. 

This got me thinking. If I’m on the downward slope of the clever parenting tricks’ bell curve, then my kids are clearly on the upswing. Sure, I’m not in any way qualified to make an unbiased assessment of how funny and witty my two guys are. I’m their mom, and I think they rock for many reasons.

For instance, at a tender PreK and elementary school age, they have long figured out that Mom and Dad won’t actually eat them (although they are scrumptious enough to be nibbled on). They are not afraid of being “sold” at the next yard sale after a particularly amusing tantrum, and they don’t fear sharks in the lawn, though Mom and Dad have laid claim to spotting the occasional fin behind the flowerbed. There’s really no scientific correlation between not finishing their broccoli and growing horns. They have us all figured out.     

But how do they perceive Mom and Dad? What does our backyard and the world at large look like to them with or without a Disney soundtrack?

What I've Learned (According to the Kids)

Let’s sit down for a moment, “crisscross-applesauce” style, and wonder aloud. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • At four, my daughter assumed that clouds came from the steam emitted from a nearby nuclear power plant. A cloud factory.
  • A car or a house costs, like, say, $200 or $1 million.
  • Spending $16 on donuts for the swim team’s bake table is not unreasonable. What’s $16 if you drive a $1 million car?
  • Caterpillars can be turned into helicopters with the right crayon and a bit of ingenuity.
  • Hippos fly. (At least in our hippo aquarium set up in my son’s room.)
  • Books are for building said hippo aquarium. (The more the better; see Exhibit A below.)
    Exhibit A: Hippo Aquarium!
  • Swim meets in the tri-state area might as well be swim meets in a different time zone. If you have to leave the house at 5 am, then it’s crazy far.
  • While we are on the subject, bake table meatballs make an excellent breakfast at 8:10am, after warm-ups in the pool and right before swimming a hundred-meter relay.
  • The trip to and from school takes an hour or so, even though the bus actually drives for only 20 minutes. The rest is an unexplained time warp phenomenon.
  • Professor Snape is not as cool as you think, Mom.
  • The word “never” can be applied to answer any question. Always.
  • When the first and middle names of your child are being used, there’s trouble.
  • Shaking a clenched fist at the weather may convince it to behave less erratic.
  • A lower case car means it is of lesser quality.
  • Messes are for finding things easily.
  • T.Rexes don’t eat people…Do they?
  • Dora is 10, Diego 3 and Boots doesn’t count.
  • If names are not pre-assigned on packaging, things shall remain nameless. The guy riding the triceratops is “Guy Riding Triceratops.” The shark in the toy chest is Shark. Every hippopotamus is Hippo.  

All these things make me want to spend $16 on donuts and savor my little, $1 million VW, because my two guys constantly teach me how childhood truly rocks from their perspective!

Marion Kase is a Berks County, PA mom of a preschooler and a 4th grader. This post was adopted from her blog, Helicopter-Caterpillar.


Categories: MomSpeak