Some friends and I were having a conversation and all volunteering information about embarrassing things we (as kids) or kids we know did or said.
One anecdote about someone else’s kid:
About ten years ago, I met an artist friend and her daughter and grandson at a performance art / poetry / art show being held in a punk rock club. The club was essentially a poured concrete cube with a few smaller concrete cubes attached for bathrooms and offices and storage. Completely lacking in aesthetics, unless you like rusty spikes, pipes and crap hanging out of every surface. It was The House of Tetanus. The concrete floor was lumpy and soiled with mysterious liquids of possible biological origin and I had on non-sensible high-heeled shoes because I had no idea I’d end up hanging out inside a giant cinderblock that evening. Being a punk club, chairs were considered to be only for wussies, so there were a total of two in the entire place. One was broken.
The grandson, little J., who was about 4-5 years old at the time, was already used to being taken to wild and wooly artist Happenings and gallery shows and was taking everything in stride, but eventually his batteries started to run down and he got tired. He was unhappy to discover that I was already sitting down in the sole functional seat when he decided to take a break. I offered to pick him up and hold him on my lap, and he agreed that this was a great plan. We could share, and thus BOTH sit down. Huzzah!
So we’re chit-chatting back and forth, watching the performances, and his mom and grandmom are chatting with both of us as well, and little J. turns his head around to look me straight in the eye and announces, “Hey, baby, I know I’m sitting in your lap and stuff, but I hope you know that this doesn’t mean we’re getting married or anything.”
ROFFLE! I just about died, right on the spot.
This still gets repeated as an anecdote whenever J. (now a teen who is old enough to drive) and I are within five feet of each other. He was FOUR! (Man, they start young these days.)
Various horrible things I said or did as a very wee child:
I normally was very quiet, but not when nice old ladies would coo over how cute I was. Imagine: “MOM!! That lady has BLUE HAIR!” Now imagine it being bellowed out in a posh lingerie department (classical music, whispering salesladies, free tea and all).
I removed the bottom-most item from can and box pyramids in grocery stores. More than once. You can imagine the result. Usually item was desirable (to me) but otherwise was not even an item my family typically purchased.
I hated my tight, blister-inducing, fugly, uncomfortable Sunday School shoes, so I often hid them somewhere and claimed not to know where they were. One Sunday I figured out a brilliant plan to be rid of the foul things and tried to flush them down the toilet. Alas, this failed, but one of the shoes was too wet to be worn. I went to church with one shoe and two socks on (and one shoe off), and OF COURSE it was a Communion Sunday, thus the whole family had to go up to the rail. The entire congregation got a view of my sock foot and apparently gossiped and bitched about how careless my parents were for not noticing my state of dishabille, and gave my mom the stink-eye as I gimped around.
I supposedly refused to talk much at all for a VERY long time, which caused my parents concern and had them thinking I might be a mute. Right as they began considering taking me to a specialist to find out why I was language-delayed, I quickly busted out with mostly grammatical, complex, full sentences. (Reminds me of the punchline to the old anecdote: “Previously, everything was satisfactory.”) I soon made up for lost time, becoming such a motormouth that my father claimed I was vaccinated with a phonograph needle.
I stuck a bunch of non-delicious and unwanted cooked carrots, tucked into a napkin, inside a plate hutch / display-cabinet-thing’s drawer. Then forgot about them. Hutch drawer was only opened on holidays, and had holiday placemats and linens inside. Carrots were discovered. State of mummified carrots after several months was indescribable.
I was insistent about odd things. At age 4 or 5, I was certain “reluctant” was pronounced “reLOOchant,” and was a pain in the ass when corrected. The fact that I was reading stuff with that word in it at that age was the only mitigating factor, I guess.
I fed the family dog peanut butter AND gum. (I’m sorry!)
I used overflow tunnels for forts (basically, storm drains, presumably intended to keep the island I grew up on from disappearing into the ocean should we get a lot of rain). Also swung from power lines and climbed up to the top of trees until they started to bend over. Talked to strangers. Taunted mean older kids. Picked up snakes and caught bees. Wandered around in the woods by myself. Did not look both ways crossing busy roads. In short, I had no concern about my survival at all.
I used to catch tadpoles and minnows in the creek next door by using a glass coke bottle. My brother’s claim to shame is that he actually stole the swilly tadpole bottle off the back porch steps and drank most of it as fast as he could, thinking he’d managed to steal a bottle of soda (we weren’t allowed many sweets, so a bottle of Coca-Cola was a major treat). He survived, but it is presumed that the tadpoles didn’t make it. To this day he denies it, but he was caught DOING it.
All kids are royal pains in the butt, no matter how good, on the whole, they happen to be most of the time. I know I was no exception.