Out of The Mouths of Babes

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I’ve always loved this saying.  The unintentional wisdom that comes from our kids can be easily overlooked, but if you stop to think about some of the things they say, beyond what could make a great snippet in a women’s magazine, there truly is great hidden wisdom even if accidental.

When my oldest was maybe 5 years old, I was on her case to make her bed, or tidy her room, or one of those things that Mothers everywhere are always hassling their kids to do.  She stopped, put her little hands on her hips, shot me a look and said “oh, just get over it Mum.”  At the time, I was not impressed, as many Mums can probably well imagine.  But I made mention of it later to some friends, and they laughed, but one suggested that it was probably very good advice.

How many times do we make a big battle out of little things until it seems that everything is a battle with our children?  If they leave a toy on the floor of their bedroom, does it really make that much of a difference?  If they stand on it in the middle of the night, who is going to suffer for it?  They might hurt their foot, or slip and get a fright, or break the toy, but then they just might learn something from it.  Maybe Mum was right when she said I should tidy up my toys.  If they don’t eat all the veges on their plate, does it really matter?  No child has ever died from missing out on one small piece of broccoli and half a carrot now and then.  It truly is a lesson in picking your battles.

My youngest now is four, and she’s the most incredible parrot.  The things you say that you just don’t expect to hear back come out of her mouth, and usually delivered with the most impeccable timing.  She has taught me to hear myself and the things I say more than my other two children ever did.  Especially when I’m driving.  There is nothing quite like hearing a little voice from the backseat saying “What? Is your indicator broken you silly cow?”  Or asking just what that ‘dopey b**ch’ did that upset me so much.  I didn’t realise just how much I swear when I’m driving.  Now I’m making an effort to be a bit more creative and tasteful in the things I say to other drivers.

It can be hard to hear the things that you say.  Anyone with a teenager will know that they just don’t hear how often their latest catchphrase comes out their mouths.  Like, really, I mean, actually, you know?  Until we parrot these phrases back to them over and over, and point out just how often they say them.  I started to repeat “like” to my teenage daughter every time she said it.  She got embarrassed, she got angry, but eventually she dropped it from her vocabulary.  Unfortunately, now it’s been replaced with text language.  Where’s your lunchbox? “idk, idc.” (I don’t know, I don’t care – for those unfamiliar with teenage texting).   She even says “lol” instead of laughing at the moment.  A friend had a two year old who started every sentence with “Actually.”  The truly amazing thing was when her mother frowned and said to us “Actually, I don’t know where she gets that from.”

Miss Four’s best ones though, have been to her older brother who is 12.  My son is a bit difficult at the best of times, he has a tendency to not let anything go and will carry on about it long past the time to stop.  My charming little Miss Four rolled her eyes at him one day and told him to “build a bridge and just get over it.”  He was helping me to get her ready from Preschool while I made her lunch.  She was stalling and mucking around when it came to putting her shoes on, and he was getting quite frustrated with her.  She looked up at him from the floor, and said, “It’s not all about you, you know.”

There are times when the things they say are just funny.  “My birthday is knocked over.” (In October) had us laughing until our ribs ached, but other times, if you think about what they’ve said, there can be a message that you need to hear.

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