Friends & Family

Kids Say the Most Incisive Things

The other day, my son and I took a walk. He wasn’t his usual chatty self–it turned out he was coming down with a cold–in fact, he was a bit of a grump. I kept trying to start conversations but he’d shut them down. I kept trying to hold his hand but he’d yank it away. After a while, he started walking on people’s yards instead of the sidewalk.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“We’re sliced apart,” he said. “We’re sliced apart and we’re never going to heal.”

I have to say, I got a little misty.

Later, my daughter was rummaging through my jewelry and she came across the necklace I wore at my wedding. It’s silver and sparkly, so naturally she wanted to wear it. I told her no.

“Why not?” she asked.

“It’s my wedding necklace. It’s extra special.”

She thought for a moment. “But it’s never going to be your wedding again. So it’s not your wedding necklace anymore.”

I have to say, I got a little misty.

She handed it to me and I clasped it around her neck.

Sometimes my children sting me with their observations. I realize that they are not thinking about these things as deeply as I am but in their simple view of the world, they see things that I might not want to see and say things that I might not want to hear. Sometimes they’re trying to hurt my feelings–there was definite malice in my son’s comment about us being sliced apart–but sometimes, they’re just stating what seems obvious.

Like when my daughter said, chuckling, “Mom, you’re such a kid!”

She’s actually said that a few times.

Sometimes she means it as a good thing: I’m silly, strange, and fun to be around. Sometimes she says it with a note of criticism: I’m forgetful, disorganized, or whiny. Sometimes it reminds me that I need to be acting with more authority and leads me to administer discipline. Whatever the circumstance, it always provides me with insight.

I’m sure there are lots of ways I could be criticized as a mother–lots of ways I could be better–but if I have one definite strength, it’s that I listen. I care about the things my children say and I spend a lot of time letting them talk, uninterrupted. Conversations are one of my favorite things about parenting, and by paying attention to their often long and rambling dissertations, I’ve learned a lot about them and myself. My son, with his unique brain and his speech delay, uses words in unexpected and often poetic ways. My daughter, with her sass and massive vocabulary, forms strong opinions and never hesitates to voice them. They both mimic phrases from books and TV (as all children do) but they also create their own scripts.

Perhaps I’m more impressed by them than I should be, but my children’s words make me smile every day–and often, they make me think. They’re the best conversationalists I know and I hope they never want to stop talking to me.

1 thought on “Kids Say the Most Incisive Things”

  1. I know this is not relevant but I felt inclined to share it anyway.

    Somebody was telling me about their five year old who insisted on dressing up as Superman. He remained that way, more or less full time, for six months. One day they were out shopping and a man they didn’t know put on a look of shock as they approached, “Whoa!” he exclaimed, “Hi there, Superman!!”

    The five year old looked up at him and explained, “I’m not really Superman. I’m just a little boy dressed up as Superman.”

    I don’t know why I find that so beautiful, but I do.

    Liked by 1 person

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