Time Out Is Preferable

, , , , | Related | October 27, 2018

(I have asked my four- and two-year-old children to clean up their toys in the family room. My two-year-old repeatedly refuses to help clean up, so I send her to her room. When she comes back out, this exchange happens.)

Me: “Hi, [Daughter]. Are you ready to help your brother clean up?”

Daughter: *pauses, and shakes her head* “No. Room.”

(She put herself back in time out again. I made sure she helped next time she came out.)

The Birds And The TVs

, , , , , , | Related | October 25, 2018

My parents decided not to have a television when my brother and I were younger; they didn’t want us growing up addicted to TV. My dad is an OB/Gyn, but at the point of this story, neither of my parents have told my brother or me anything about the facts of life… intentionally, that is. My brother is four, and I am two when my parents observe this scene.

My brother is on his back on the floor, knees bent and covered with a blanket. I am under the blanket and I come crawling out from beneath his legs. In other words, he “gives birth” to me. My brother sits up and starts cuddling me, saying, “My baby, my baby!” in a very excited voice.

My dad looks at my mom and says, deadpan, “Maybe we should get a TV, after all.”

Her Babysitting Is Be-Nein

, , , , , , , | Related | October 24, 2018

My maternal grandmother, who I refer to as my Oma, left Germany in secret very shortly before the Berlin Wall went up. She came to the US, where she met and married my Opa and started her family.

Her mother, who my mom and I have always called Omi, spoke basically no English, but she still came to visit us when she could. The last time she visited, I was about four years old and didn’t really understand how different languages worked. I thought it was word-for-word substitution — that in another language “giraffe” means “breakfast,” and in another could mean “purple,” or any number of variations.

I was young and couldn’t talk with her, but I have one very fond — though somewhat embarrassing — memory of her that made an impression. I was running around the garden and using a wooden frame on a garden bed as a balance beam. I guess I was making her nervous, because she kept frantically shouting, “Nein! Nein!” at me. Since I didn’t understand that she was speaking to me in another language and thought she was shouting the number nine at me for some reason, I gleefully cried back to her, “Ten! Ten!” and went on with my playing. I didn’t understand until years later what had actually happened.

How Old Does That Make The Mother?

, , , | Learning | October 21, 2018

(I’m a private English teacher and work mostly with kids. When I first get to know the children, we usually chat a bit about our families, likes and dislikes, etc., to make them feel comfortable and to assess their current English level. One time a student’s mom comes in and tells the kid to pay attention, and he pouts a bit, since we’ve just started and she’s already hovering.)

Me: “You know, moms are always like that. My mom is the same way. Even if I was a hundred years old, she’d talk to me like I was a baby, too!”

Boy: “You’re a hundred years old?!

Gyros Are Getting Pricier

, , , , | Friendly | October 20, 2018

(My friend’s brother travels a lot for work and has for years. Whenever he pops back into town, he tells us all about it and also gets to vent about the stresses of traveling. Usually my friend’s kid, at this point nine years old, plays in the adjacent room with her toys while the grownups talk over coffee. We assume she’s not interested in that kind of stuff until one random day, a commercial for a well-known sandwich chain comes on TV…)

Commercial: *what my friend’s kid hears* “You can get 30 euros for 90 dollars.”

Kid: *long-suffering sigh* “Those currency exchange rates just keep getting worse and worse.”

(Once our laughter died down enough for us to breathe again, we explained to her what “gyros” were.)

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