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Posts Tagged ‘kids say the darndest things’

Note: Posts are always better with photos, but I’ve yet to figure out the best way to upload them from my phone to a shared computer. When I do, though, I’ll be sure to share.

In the meantime, I can tell you that this experience has already exceeded my expectations – and we’ve only been here for  a week and a half.

I volunteer in a house with 23 boys, all of whom are roughly between the ages of 10 and 20, and I’ve already begun to refer to them as mine.

And my boys are simply amazing.

They’ve been so welcoming and friendly and inclusive. For instance, even given my mediocre skills, I spent the better part of last Wednesday playing soccer (and trying to remember to call it football) with some of the boys. We didn’t win (my fault, not theirs), but it was the best workout I’ve had in a while.

They’ve also been patiently teaching me to hacky sack. I can honestly say that I’ve spent more time hacky sacking (is that the verb?) in the past few days, than I have in my entire life.

The one minor difficulty I’ve had with them, is getting them to understand my name. “Elizabeth” has proven a bit difficult for them to say, so usually they stick with calling me Sister. But the other day it clicked with them.

Sister! Your name Elizabeth? Like Queen of England?

And another boy chimed in:

I will call you Sister Queen!

Hey, if that’s what it takes for them to remember, who am I to stop the name association?

I’m just here to help.

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I’ve been volunteering a lot recently with the kids at church. It was one of my 27 goals, but it was also something that I’d been missing since coming to DC.

Through many years of babysitting, tutoring, teaching Sunday school, and volunteering at camp, I’ve worked with just about every age group, and have had clear favorites over the years.

Usually, when pressed, I’ll list middle schoolers as my favorites to work with. They don’t have the high school attitude yet, but they don’t require the same kid gloves as elementary schoolers do. So middle school usually wins.

But recently, the early elementary crowd has been pulling ahead. That’s the age group that I help teach some Sunday mornings. It’s also the age group that is, I think, the most inclined toward total honesty.

Toward the end of one lesson the kids were coloring, and one started singing “Dynamite.” (You haven’t truly heard Taio Cruz until you’ve heard it from a six-year-old.) I had it on my phone, so I played it for them, which, of course, sparked further requests.

Firework!

Call Me Maybe!

Billy Joel!

Ah, a kindred spirit. (Fun side note: Billy Joel was my first concert.)

As the sounds of “Call Me Maybe” eventually filled the classroom, Aiden – the little boy who had requested it – confided just why he liked it.

I like this song because I like to chase girls.”

And Astrid, the little girl who had requested Billy Joel, responded in much the same way I think I would have at that age.

You can chase me if you want!

Kindred spirits, indeed.

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I was sitting in the lobby of my doctor’s office on Wednesday, waiting for my physical therapist to call me back. As I was waiting, playing Words With Friends, naturally, a little girl bounded into the room with her dad, who had obviously just gone through therapy.

She said hello to everyone, told them all that she was five years old, and didn’t have to tell anyone that she was just a naturally happy child.

And then she came over and said hi to me.

Her dad stepped out to change, telling her she could talk to whoever she wanted (which, admittedly, surprised me a little), and she kept right on talking to me.

I learned that she’s an artist. She’s a singer. She’s a designer. And she doesn’t know which one she’s best at because she’s so good at all of them. But designing is her favorite.

And then she walked over to her bag and pulled out something that she’d made.

This is for you,” she said.

Are you sure?” I asked her. “Don’t you and your daddy want to keep it?”

No. It’s for you.

Okay – tell me about it.”

And she pointed to each of the three people, telling me about them. That’s her, all the way on the right, with the very pretty bow in her hair. That’s me, in the middle, with the awesome blue pigtails. And that’s mommy on the left, holding a brush, because mommy brushes everyone’s hair.

Then she signed it, so I have a Naomi original.

Impromptu gifts from children are heartwarming because you know that they mean it. They’re still genuine in their intentions because they haven’t learned how not to be. And they still talk to everyone around them, because they believe in the goodness of people and haven’t had to learn that sometimes stranger equals danger.

It kind of makes me want to be five years old again – or at least act like it.

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One of the overarching themes of both my history and international relations classes has been the Cold War. We’ve looked at the causes, the threats, the politics, and the effects both then and now. So it’s safe to say that I think or talk about the Cold War on a fairly regular basis. And, as much as I think about it in terms of class and lecture, it also makes me think of middle school.

Yes, middle school.

To my recollection, we didn’t study the Cold War in junior high. We were more focused on Ancient Greece and Egypt and the Renaissance. We didn’t get to modern history until high school. And the Cold War was well over by the time I entered 6th grade, so it wasn’t something that I’d grown up thinking about.

The Cold War reminds me of middle school because of a boy.

I met Griff probably the first day of 6th grade, and shortly after that he became my boyfriend. Basically, he walked me to classes, occasionally carried my books, complimented me, and we sometimes talked on the phone. It lasted all of a month.

He broke up with me by having one of our mutual friends come up to me in class and say, “Griff doesn’t want to date you anymore.” And my little 11-year-old heart was shattered. But I survived.

After the breakup, we didn’t really talk at all, save for group projects, so imagine my surprise when Griff started whispering things at me across the classroom, and in the hall. And it wasn’t just “things;” he would whisper the same phrase over and over:

“The Cold War is over! The Cold War is over!”

It was always in a kind of shouting whisper, like he didn’t want anyone to hear, but he was also trying to make his point.

To say I was confused would be an understatement.

I asked my friend, Lesser, what it meant (consequently, she was the one who had helped Griff break up with me, and she was also going out with his best friend), but she had no idea. I think I even asked my mom at one point, also without a satisfactory explanation.

You might argue that the most productive thing would have been to ask Griff what he meant, but that’s just logical. And how many logical 6th grade girls do you know?

Regardless, I never found out his reasoning behind the phrase. And even when we became friends years down the road, I never bothered to ask him. But now, every time we talk about the Cold War in class I think of Griff.

And I wonder if he would even remember saying it.

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Last summer, when I went to see the newest Harry Potter movie, I remember being surprised that the mom next to me had brought her child to the theater. Some of the earlier movies (and the books) may have been kid-friendly, but this past one was pushing it. And definitely not for the pre-teen set.

Last night we went to see Kick-Ass. And, despite the fact that a big part of the idea is based on kids as superheroes, the previews and reviews (and the R rating) made it very clear that this was another movie I would never have brought my child to. Which, I suppose, is why we were both surprised when a dad walked in with his 13ish-year-old daughter.

Now, I don’t want to spoil the particulars of the movie for anyone, but let me touch on a few broad characteristics:

  • There was a LOT of very graphic violence
  • Even more blood and guts
  • A character who talked about his frequent masturbation habits and fantasies
  • And a child whose vocabulary consisted of words like cunt, cocksucker, and dick – on a regular basis

Don’t get me wrong, those aren’t actually criticisms. I enjoyed the movie even more than I thought I was going to. The sailor mouth on the little girl didn’t bother me (though, even being forewarned, it was shocking at first), and I only covered my eyes at one violent scene. In fact, I would recommend Kick-Assto adults.

I just can’t imagine seeing such graphic fight scenes as a kid. And, even more than that, I can’t imagine being a young teenager (and therefore already awkward) and watching that whole movie – the violence, the language, the sex – with my dad.

I don’t know how much 13-year-olds know today, or what their comfort levels are, but, when I was that age, I got squirmy watching the sketching scene from Titanic with my parents. I can’t fathom watching [*spoiler alert*] sex between teenagers and some guy jerking off to his English teacher – with either of them.

But maybe it’s just me, and I’m behind the times. What do you think? And how young is too young, do you think, to see an R-rated movie in the theater?

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I’m a little bit confused – and it has to do with Facebook.

See, when I first signed up, many moons ago (fine, five years – I don’t know how many moons that is), it was limited to college students. It was very basic – no crazy bells and whistles, and not nearly as much advertising of your personal life. But, even if we were (too) open, it was still limited to our peers.

Then, Facebook eventually opened up, and I began to get friend requests from old campers of mine – who were still in high school. And then came the parents, reuniting with their old high school/college friends and friending their children. I don’t have a problem with being friends with both of my parents on Facebook. (Yes, both of them. My dad shocked everyone when he figured it out all by himself – and even posted a profile picture.)

That's him on the right - 60+ years ago...

That's him on the right - 60+ years ago...

Anyway, they’re more than welcome to look at my photos with the understanding that if there’s something they don’t like, there’s really not a whole lot they can say. Because I am an adult (for all intents and purposes [side note: for the longest time, I thought it was “all intensive purposes.” Oops.]).

BUT, I keep thinking – if I were still underage and friends with my parents? I would be a lot more careful with what photos I put up, what I made public and what my status updates were. Which is why it surprised me when I saw the status update of my 20-year-old niece:

stupid stupid stupid underage consumption while being in the passanger seat kiss my ass!” (Yes, the misspelling bothers me.)

1) I know you’re friends with your mom. Did you tell her before she saw your status?

2) When did it become normal to post run-ins with the law, however minor they might be? Hers is not the first I’ve seen. When my friends and I were younger, getting an underage was something we talked about amongst ourselves at the lunch table, not broadcasted in a public forum.

3) Does this just mean that I’m getting old?

misusing_slang

Listen, I like Facebook as much as the next person, but you can bet that if I ever get arrested (God forbid), I will NOT be writing about it on my wall.

A blog post, however, is a different story…

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I could feel this morning that today was not going to be my day. Waking up at 5am and not being able to fall back asleep (or at least into a good sleep) was the first clue. Lovely.

However, when I finally got into work (because, despite not being able to sleep, I was still somehow running late) this post and photo from Fuck You, Penguin made me giggle.

lobster

And reminded me of mini-Elle and her Halloween costume from when she was about three-years-old. She dressed up as a lobster (in a costume that my parents had given her, no less), but before she could go out trick-or-treating, she had to figure out what kind of noise a lobster made.

You know the game you play with kids to teach them about animals: What kind of sound does a cow make? Moooooo. What noise does a pig make? Oink oink. And so on, and so forth. But what sound does a lobster make?

Anyone?

Mini-Elle finally found an answer, though. She walked around on Halloween, proud in her costume, and whenever anyone asked her, “Mini-Elle, what do lobsters say?” she’d respond in a deep, child-trying-to-sound-like-an-animal voice, “Eat me with butter!

Because, what else would a lobster say?

Happy Friday!

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