Kids Say The Darndest Things, Don’t They?


Springboro's Guy Pasvogel, published author, shares his thoughts

Kids say the darndest things, don’t they? Out of the mouth of babes comes some of the most hilarious comments that are generated out of thin air. 

In the mid to late fifties, a TV show entitled “Kids Say the Darndest Things” aired for the first time, hosted by Art Linkletter. It was one of my favorite shows. Sometimes their comments could outdo the adults, all for a laugh or two. 

We, as parents and grandparents, never really know what is going on inside a child’s brain. Everything is so new to them and every child has his or her own timetable as to when the first word or sentence comes out of their mouth.

At an early age, we teach them the ABC’s and read them stories, anxiously awaiting their first word. Normally the first words learned are“Mommy” and “Daddy.” We are so careful to not say bad words that they might mimic and embarrass us in public at a later date.

I am reminded of a time I was watching a live broadcast of Bozo’s Circus as a kid on WGN-TV in Chicago. Bozo and Ringmaster Ned were reprimanding a little boy for acting up on the show, and his response was “Cram it, Bozo!” (Cut to commercial while all Chicagoland kids ask their moms what “cram it” meant.)

This last Thanksgiving my significant other Jackie and I spent four days in Arlington, Virginia with her son and my step-son Heath. Heath and his lovely wife Nicole have two small children named Carl James (C.J. for short) and Alexandra Ann (Alex for short). C.J. is two years and four months old and Alex was born last October 18th.

So far, C.J. has managed to say words such as Mommy, Daddy, no, up, down, bed, pizza and coffee. Up and down are expressed when he gets up in his high chair to eat and then lets us know when he is finished. (During our visit, he got to experience his first "up-down" while riding thirty-two stories on an elevator to overlook Washington D.C. in the distance.)

Another favorite word is “park” where he goes to swing and go down the slide. On our last visit a few months before, C.J. climbed the many steps up the slide only to be afraid of the height and step back down. (I could imagine his fear as a young toddler to my fear of parachuting down to earth from 30,000 feet ... never happened, never will.)

That’s where Grandpa Guy stepped in and accompanied him back up, plopped him down and nudged him to slide down to dear old Dad. That little nudge was all it took. Now, he is unafraid and is a daredevil — the likes of Evil Kneivel at the park.

Little C.J. is also “hell on wheels.” He loves to push his three wheeler around the neighborhood under the supervision of Dad. He even survived his first wipeout on the sidewalk, bumped his head and had a nice shiner (black eye) to show for it, adding another word to be born out of his mouth, “Oopsee.”

C.J.’s favorite activity in the morning is helping Mommy make coffee. He has a kiddie stair that he can step up to Mommy’s level in the kitchen. Mommy has a Cappuccino-Espresso machine, and she walks C.J. through the steps to make just the perfect cup. He is now ready to go to work at Starbucks and the word “coffee” comes out of his mouth every morning.

C.J. is so fascinated by cooking in the kitchen that Daddy ordered a mini-play kitchen, complete with sink, refrigerator, fake oven and burners. Thus was born the word “pizza,” as he will take Grandpa Guy over to HIS kitchen and make his favorite dish.

During our four day stay in Virginia, Jackie and I heard many words come out of C.J.’s mouth but no complete sentences. Then, on the last morning C.J. and I were playing in the family room when Jackie appeared in the kitchen. 

I yelled out, “Whatcha doin, Jackie?”

Then, just like a parrot, C.J. spoke, what in my opinion qualifies as his first complete sentence. He yelled out three seconds later, “Whatcha doin, Jackie?” 

Jackie and I both laughed, and he repeated that line a few more times because he got a reaction out of us. We were hoping for Grandma Jackie but “Jackie” will do for now.

In a few weeks the family will be arriving to visit from Virginia. We anticipate the first words coming out of little C.J.’s mouth when he sees Grandma will be… “Whatcha doin, Jackie?”

In the years to come, C.J. will learn many new words. His vocabulary will grow leaps and bounds, but we will always cherish those first few words spoken this past Thanksgiving. We are anxiously awaiting our next zoom call when the first words coming out OUR mouths will be... “Whatcha doing, C.J.?”

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