Parenting is a lot of wonderful things, but sometimes it can be downright difficult.
Whenever I need a good belly laugh I recall the fleeting moments when my children's comments inspired me to take notes with whatever was handy - a notebook, a drive-thru receipt scrounged from the bottom of my purse at a red light or even the back of my hand, in a pinch. I've been known to scribble them with crayons or even lipstick, if one of my muses 'makes a funny' while we're headed somewhere in the car and I can't find a pen.
When my daughter Holly was five she went through a fantastic phase, where she possessed a sort of raw curiosity mixed with moments of concrete clarity - topped with a burgeoning imagination and a little dash of wonder.
These are among the 'best of' my funny-girl's moments, and they still make me smile.
One rainy Sunday afternoon I prodded my daughter Holly, then a new kindergartener, to finish her homework.
"But my teacher says I don't have to do homework when it's raining," she remarked.
"I wish I was the girl president," Holly announced four years ago, during the last mid-term election cycle. "How 'bout I tell people to 'vote for Holly?' I could pass out signs," she suggested.
"What would you do if you were the president?" I asked.
"I'd tell people what to do," she replied. "Eat good vegetables, listen to your parents, do your work, go to school every day and be nice to other people."
At some point going to school every day lost its appeal for Miss Holly. After learning about patterns in Kindergarten, she came down with a cold. She stayed home from school the next day but hadn't forgotten the lesson.
"I'd like to go to school like a pattern," she suggested. "Go one day, then stay home, then go again."
"What did you do today?" I asked Holly, after picking her up from kindergarten one morning. I recall that she once remarked that she was tired of hearing me ask the same question every day. It seems that on this particular day, she decided to spice up her reply:
"We had two kitties, two chickees and four horses and we each took turns riding them," she announced. I was duly impressed. "…and then they pooped," she added.
"Is grass made by God?" Holly asked one spring morning as we drove through town.
"Yes," I replied.
"Then why did that man just unroll that grass?"
Holly accompanied me to Target so I could buy a bathing suit. Tired of watching me try on suit after suit, she laid flat on her back in the dressing room. Finally, I tried one with a black and white 'giraffe' design, which inspired this assessment from her:
"Mommy, you look like a cow." No, I did not buy that suit.
When I wished the birthday girl a happy birthday upon arriving at a party, Holly said "Okay, that's enough."
Translation: "You may go now."
One night at bedtime, Holly was nowhere to be found.
"I'm playing with the leprechauns!" she shouted, from inside her closet.
Translation: Bedtime can wait.
"I figured out why we're almost out of (Halloween) candy," Holly announced, one year. "You're eating it."
Upon viewing a cartoon depicting the "Grandma got run over by a reindeer" song, which included a scene illustrating Santa caring for Grandma - who apparently suffered from amnesia as a result of the accident with his sleigh - Holly asked her father to define the word "amnesia.
"Sometimes when people have a head injury, they forget things," he said.
"Where do all those things you forget go?" she asked.
"I don't know. That's a great question," my husband Todd replied.
"I think they go to your foot," Holly decided.
"Does God have to listen to the President?" Holly asked.
"Nope," I replied, stifling a giggle. "The President has to listen to God.
"Where does God live?" she asked, a few minutes later.
"Well, I believe that God lives in each one of us. Others believe God is in a place they call heaven," I said, "but you get to decide what you believe.
"I think he lives in our hearts," she replied. Amen to that.
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.