Of Comments From Kids
It’s May, the month that Children’s Day is celebrated in Japan. For most of us, that’s every day of every month, but never mind. Here are a few more stories from the mouths of babes.
On Honesty: Cristin Marandino’s six-year-old nephew Ryan got into a scuffle with another boy over the swing set on the school playground. When the teacher sat him down to find out what happened, he walked her through the events very logically, then at the main point, stopped, looked at her and said: “OK, here’s where it doesn’t look so good for me.”
The McDonalds’ grandson Miles was in an elevator with his mother Deirdre when a woman leaned down and asked him how old he was. “Three and a half,” he said brightly. “And how old do you think I am?” the woman continued. Studying her thoughtfully, he answered, “To the end of numbers.” “Oh,” Deirdre quickly interjected, “but he can only count to ten.”
On Godliness: At St. Paul’s Church in Riverside one Sunday our seven-year-old daughter Audrey had a few choice words to say about the organist: “Wow, he’s noisy! That music reminds me of the Spook House at Disney World. It makes me scared in my stomach.” Meanwhile over at Christ Church, when a little boy was asked what he liked best about the Christmas pageant, he said, “Seeing the baby and the German shepherds.”
Years ago Sister Carol Ann, now director of Villa Maria School in Stamford, was elated when a young man in First Communion class asked her how to spell the word “penance.” She was delighted to oblige. But her bubble burst when she asked him how he was going to use it in a sentence and he replied: “The Red Sox won the penance.”
On Manners: On Grandparents Day at Greenwich Country Day, the first graders were asked to introduce their grandparents to the class. “Sure,” said Peter Fox. “This is my grandfather Bill, and this is Barbar. Isn’t she cute?”
Our daughter announced that she didn’t think she’d go to Randolph Carter’s fifth birthday party. “You think I have to go to these things,” Audrey told me, “but I really don’t.” “Well then, if you don’t elect to go, you’d better call Randolph and offer him a very polite excuse,” I advised. Two days later I heard her on the phone: “Say, Randolph, I’m awfully sorry but I won’t be able to make it Saturday.” Then a long, long silence, deep sigh and, “Oh, all right, Randolph. I’ll come for just a little while!”
Sitting in church with his Sunday school class, my brother Mike put a quarter in the collection plate, kept staring at the usher passing it and finally yelled indignantly up to our parents in the balcony, “And he didn’t even say thank you!!”
One of the sisters at Villa Maria overheard a student caution a new boy “to watch out for those nuns. They took a perfectly rotten kid like Billy and ruined him,” he said. “They must have done something to his brain because he started holding doors open and saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’”
On Business: Holding a mock election two years ago, second graders at North Street School were discussing whether they’d vote for Romney or Obama. “Well,” announced Maddie Buchsbaum. “I’d never vote for a person who drove with a dog on the roof of his car and tried to shut down Mommy’s business.” (Mommy is on the board of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England.)
On Travel: Bea and Al Brittain were driving down to southern New Jersey to visit relatives, taking along eight-year-old Boo King in the back seat as a playmate for their young nephew. Suddenly Boo announced: “I’m sick; I’m sick.” So they quickly stopped the car, got her out on the shoulder of the turnpike and waited. Nothing happened. “I thought you said you were sick,” Bea asked her. “I am,” said Boo. “I’m sick of driving!”
On Culture: Lew Morris’s five-year-old granddaughter told her she just loved books. “Why, that’s wonderful, Lizzy,” Lew responded enthusiastically. “What kind of books do you like to read?” “Oh,” the little girl replied, “mostly nonfiction.”
Our little grandson Misha was sitting at the table in our kitchen nook building with a very complicated toy out of Bionicles. “Gee, Misha, I’m impressed,” I admitted. “The label on the box says this is for people eight years old and older. You can do it and you’re only five!” Shrugging, he replied, “How cool is that?”
Wally Ramsey, an English teacher at Country Day, sent our sixth grader home to show us a paper she’d done particularly well on. Assignment: to define five words, then use them in sentences. The word “vie” she’d defined as “to worry.” Used in a sentence? “Oy vie!”
Oy vey, where would we be without these kids to freshen our lives? Do send us your favorite stories for our collection. They’re all treasures.