Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My favorite child quotations (OK, and a couple of grownups, too)

I hope I get these right. Please post corrections, if your memory serves better than mine.

My youngest brother, who was (I think) about four at the time, was playing "three little pigs" with my youngest sister, who I believe was eight; he was making cushion houses with couch cushions, which she would then "blow" over. I was only sort of paying attention as I worked in the kitchen. All of a sudden, I heard a wail from my brother. My sister had just knocked over one of the cushion houses; my brother's protest was, "But [sister], that was a BRICK house!"

It's all a matter of perspective.

My oldest niece was over at my house for a visit one day. I think she was about three at the time. I needed to wash dishes, so I let her have a cloth and stand on a chair next to me at the sink. Again, I was somewhat absorbed in the task at hand, so I caught by surprise when I heard her say, "I'm scrubbing myself, with a scrubby-scrub-scrub."

I looked at her in alarm. I didn't really want to return her to her mother with soapy water all down her front. "You're scrubbing yourself?"

She returned my look with one of scorn. "The spoon." THAT should have been self-evident.

When I told this story to her mother (my sister), she pointed out that since this child was both an oldest and an extremely social child, she had learned to make inanimate objects talk for themselves.

One of my nephews was over at my house one evening, and told my roommate that he liked how her outfit looked. (Since I have stated ages thus far, this nephew was five when this happened.)

She thanked him for the compliment, and said, "You are such an angel."

He said, "Does that mean that I'm good? Because the other thing that it could mean is that I'm dead. Because angels are dead people. Vampires are dead people, too. Maybe I'm an angel vampire," and he went on like this for a while. Five-year-old logic is perfectly sound, but at times difficult to follow, so I don't really remember the rest of his commentary.

My mother visited London on a work trip, and of course one of the MUST see attractions is the London Eye, which is an enormous ferris wheel with these enclosed, see-through cars which take half an hour to go up to the top-- where you get this spectacular view of London-- and another half hour to come down again. One thing you must know about my mother to understand this story is that she gets seasick very easily. I mean, if she is reading on the living room couch and you are doing some sort of movement (other than walking past) which falls in her peripheral vision, she will ask you to stop doing whatever it is. So I guess that the London Eye, slow and stately though it is, does have some rocking motion to it, and sure enough Mom started feeling a bit ill by the end. She ended her report of the experience by saying, "So, I guess that it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me."

My sister just younger than me teaches her 5-year-old in his Primary (church) class. The lesson last week was on laws. She handed out play-dough to the children so that they could make animals; the idea was, they could talk about how laws keep you safe, just like a fence around an animal can keep it safe. One child refused to touch the play-dough. Her son made a fairly respectable (though flatter than average, for real life) turtle. Another child struggled to make a cat. He finally gave up and went with the prevailing trend, though on a smaller scale than the others (see below).

The three remaining children came up to her one at a time. The first handed her a small, thick, tube-shaped creation.

"This is a worm," he announced.

She thought to herself: "Uh-oh. No one can make this play-dough work. We are going to have a mostly-worm menagerie."

Sure enough, the next child came up and handed her a piece of play-dough which looked remarkably like the first one she had gotten. "This is a snake."

The third child also handed her a thick, rolled piece of play-dough. "This is an eel."

Ta-da! Live with your limitations.

The other difficulty with this lesson was that one child kept insisting on talking about Scooby-Doo and scary monsters. After a number of frustrating exchanges, in which she tried to get him back on topic, she finally figured out that this child had misheard the topic; he thought that they were talking about "claws".

Finally, the story I shoud pull out every time people ask for an embarrassing moment, because it isn't THAT embarrassing, and it is pretty funny.

My office is on the third floor of the building where I work. During finals week (for me, as a student) I am expected to turn in grades and grade final tests for my students, on top of any finals I need to do for the classes I am taking. It is a fairly stress-filled, sleep-deprived week, and on top of that, I started feeling under the weather on Sunday, before all this started coming due.

So. I was doing grading stuff on the ground floor, and needed to go to my office, and since I was feeling sick, I took the elevator. When I am well, I can usually beat the elevator by taking the stairs two at a time (when I don't beat it, it's because I have stopped to talk to someone). This day, however, I decided that I didn't care how slow I went, and with how cruddy I felt, the elevator might well be the fastest way anyway.

I was pleased, as I walked towards the elevator, to see that one of the custodial crew was just getting on, which means that he held the door for me and I didn't have to wait for the elevator to make its slow way to the gound floor. He pushed the two, and I pushed the three. Just to be melodramatic, let's say that I leaned against the elevator wall as it crept its slow way upward. (I might really have, but I don't know for sure.)

I got off. I walked down the hall. I punched in the code for the door of my office. It didn't turn green as it usually does. I tried the code again. Again it didn't open. I looked at the nameplate.

AAAAAAH! What are they doing, changing everyone in the office, in the middle of finals week?! Where is my office now? Why didn't they tell me?

I looked around me, searching for answers, and sure enough I found one. It was the custodian. The one who had gotten off at level two. The same level that I had gotten off at.

I walked up to the third floor at that point. Elevators are just too tricky, sometimes.

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