It's clear from responses to my first "Kids Off the Cuff" blog that my kids aren't the only ones who say funny things. If you want to hear a funny story from a parent, all you have to do is ask. Before I share some of those, I wanted to mention a couple recent gems from my own 8 year-old twin girls, Anza and Josie. They have reached that age where their "cuffs" can come from innocence or cleverness. I'll begin with the innocent.
September 13th, my birthday. The girls ask me what year I was born. I tell them.
Anza: What year did the world start?
I guess that question shouldn't surprise me from Anza. She once asked me if I went to school in a one-room schoolhouse. Her straightforward sweetness was also clear one night when she was having a hard time settling down after I put her to bed. When I checked on her she looked up at me and said, "I can't find sleep."
Innocence combined with thoughtfulness might explain one of Josie's cuffs.
Josie: Daddy, where do all the teeth go that the tooth fairy gets? Do they end up at the dentist's office in dentures?
Josie has always had a sharp sense of humor, by accident or design. This past summer during the Olympics we were watching the women's gymnastics competition on TV. There was a graphic that displayed the physical stats of one of the diminutive Romanian gymnasts.
Josie: If she lived in the United States, she'd still have to use a car seat.
Some of my favorite cuffs now come from their own interactions.
Anza: Daddy, would you please put this DVD in the player downstairs so I can watch it?
Me: Ask Josie. She knows how to do it.
Anza: She told me to stop talking to her 'cause she's doing her nails.
But my favorite cuff in recent weeks came while I was in the bathroom shaving one morning. Wiping sleep from her eyes, Josie shuffled in and pointed at the commode: "Is this seat taken?" Find a better line from an adult.
My girls have no monopoly on funny cuffs. Dr. Mike Messina, a dentist in Reston, Virginia, recalls when his 3 year-old daughter was ready to walk out the door to go to church with no shoes on. He suggested she go upstairs to get her new patent leather shoes. "Yes!" she responded with excitement. After rummaging through her closet for several minutes, she came down the stairs with one shoe on, crying miserably. Her dad asked her what's wrong. "I found 'Pat,'" she said, "but I can't find 'Leather.'"
Frank Downey of Nashville was asleep a couple weeks ago when a storm blew through in the wee hours of the morning. That's when his daughter Emma came downstairs into his bedroom and woke him up with words that no father wants to hear: "Daddy, it's raining on me upstairs."
Frank fixed the leaky roof and recalled another time that Emma had startled him. "I was asleep, but I could suddenly feel Emma's face right next to mine. I opened my eyes and she whispered, 'Daddy, are wolves nocturnal?'"
My friend Stephanie Duquette and her husband run a horse training facility in Washington State and during breaks many of the customers like to take a trip down the river on their little fishing boat. One time Stephanie and her son Colton joined them.
Customer: I hear you're going fishing. Got all your worms dug?
Colton: Who's "Doug"?
Karri Tibbitts was putting away laundry in her son Cole's room when she noticed his dirty clothes were missing.
Karri: Cole, where are all your clothes?
Cole: What clothes?
Karri: The ones you wore. Did you put them in the hamper?
Cole: No, they can get air in there. They're under my bed where they can't get air.
Karri: Why don't you want them to get air?
Cole: The lady on the TV said Tiger Woods shouldn't air his dirty laundry. You can't let your dirty laundry get air. It makes you bad at golf.
Donna Foster remembers visiting her mom with her 4 year-old daughter with tow: "My father died when I was in college, so our daughter never met him. At my mother's house there were many antiques, one of which was a very old grandfather clock my mother had always referred to as 'Grandpa.'
"One day we were visiting my mom's and the clock began clanging. My mother said, "Grandpa has to have his say." Our daughter walked over to the clock and patted the door: "Don't you EVER let him out?'"
Jennifer Colburn, like every parent, was struggling to get her daughter to clean up a mess. After her daughter dumped crayons on the floor, Jennifer told her roughly three times in 10 minutes to pick them up. Jennifer returned a few minutes later, saw the crayons still on the floor, and reminded Abby -- again -- that she had been told to pick them up.
Abby: I didn't hear you.
Jennifer: You were looking right at me.
Abby: Yeah, but you were getting on my nerves so I turned off my ears.
As my girls get ready to turn nine, I realize that their comments made from innocence will gradually subside. Perhaps nothing ever surpassed the amusing innocence of my daughter Anza than when she created a small picture frame for her Aunt Nancy. She was so proud of it she put her initials on the back.
I had to remind her that Anza was a nickname, that her formal name was ESPERANZA Sophia Sellers.
If you'd like to submit your own cuffs, please send them to email@example.com.