Custom Search

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The "Damn It!" Chronicles

Many of you already know the "Damn it" saga in our house that started when Short Person was two, but since just as many don't, I am reposting the original blogs-- because I have an update at the end =)

When Short Person was two, she started picking up educational wisdom from her Grandfather in the form of colorful words. Words that she loved. But the biggest one, the one she really wanted to say more than any other was the phrase "Damn it".

(Originally Posted November 27, 2006)

A few months ago, my daughter picked up a new phrase. A phrase she loved to use. Any time she would hurt herself, drop a toy, just get mad, or need Cheerios, the words "Damn it" would erupt from her mouth as though she were enthusiastically happy.

Somewhere, there is even video evidence of this fact.

The short person was playing outside at our family reunion. As her little cousin prepared to go down the slide, my daughter had the bright idea to go and sit at the bottom of it. She got tagged in the leg by two feet. Not hard, but hard enough to propel her out of her seat and proceed to grab her leg and hop around the ground saying, "Damn it, damn it, damn it!"

For two months, I followed her around correcting her "Damn it!'s" with "Darn it's" and it worked. Until last Thursday when we had dinner with my in laws. Now, she's back to saying it... but this time, she's smarter. Now, she's correcting me. The other day, I said "Darn it" and my daughter walked over to me, grabbed my cheeks (I was kneeling at the time), pulled my face up to look directly at her, and said "No Mom... it's DAMN it."

(Originally Posted January 6, 2007)

We've gone through a few rounds of telling the short person that she needs to say "Darn it" instead of "Damn it". I finally cured it in a matter of speaking by telling her that when she looked like Grandpa she could say "Damn it" too.

For a long time that reasoning worked. It worked to the point that she was telling Daddy that only Grandpa could say it whenever those chosen words left HIS lips.

Tonight, the little character almost outsmarted me.

She came into the living room, lounged against the couch, and looked up at me.

"I look like Grandpa now." She said matter-of-factly.

"You do?" All I could think was "God help me, I think I know where this conversation is headed". Pleading for emergency wisdom from above.

"Yep! I do. So... can I say 'Damn it' now?"

My mind raced through response after response, searching for a way around my self-inflicted Grandpa rule. "Well, honey... I know you look a little like Grandpa but there are... other factors." Big words, I'll just use big words and she'll get befuddled.

"Fectors?" She's staring at me inquisitively, waiting for a response as to what that might mean.

"Yes. Like, I still think you're a little young yet. And... you don't have as many wrinkles as Grandpa..." I let my voice trail off and paused, wondering if this will do it, but she turned her face up at me.

"Please? I want to say Damn it." Her voice had a little wistfulness, like she knew that if she didn't say these two words she was going to be missing out on a big enjoyment in life. I'm a sucker for that voice.

"Hmm... well, maybe you should ask your Daddy." The ultimate cop out for those times when you know you are outsmarted and need back up assistance. This unfortunately happens altogether too often in our house but between the two of us we've somehow managed to stay ahead.

The short person wandered into the hall and I heard the door to our bedroom swing open and the first line of her "I look like Grandpa now" speech. Unfortunately, the rest was only quiet mumbles so I turned back to watch the basketball highlights on television. A few minutes later, she returned, her feet stomping sullenly on the floor and the scratch, scratch, scratch of a stuffed animal being dragged behind.

I looked at her lowered head and asked the question I was dying to know the answer to. "What did Daddy say? Did he say you look like Grandpa?"

"Yep!" She responded enthusiastically and I momentarily freaked, wondering what in gracious name my husband had told her.

"Oh... well, what else did he say?" I watched as she frowned and pursed her lips.

"Dern it, dern it, dern it."

UPDATE: January 20, 2009

Two years. That's how long we thought the words "Damn it" had been eradicated from Short Person's vocabulary. She's experimented with some others, like Hell (We discovered that one during a game of hide and seek when Shortie couldn't find me. She stood in the middle of the living room after about five minutes of searching and screamed, "Mom! Where in the HELL are you?!), and a few worse ones that don't need mentioning, but 'Damn it' had all but disappeared.

Until tonight.

Tonight, we learned that although you can teach someone not to say something out loud in front of you, it doesn't mean the word has gone away.

LJS and I had just put Short Person to bed and were in our room talking about the weekend's events when all of the sudden there was a loud noise from down the hall.

Followed very closely by a very loud, "DAMN IT!"

Her water cup had fallen in between the bed and the wall to the floor.

It is very hard to scold someone when you are laughing your butt off-- not that it would do much good anyway. After all, one slip in two years isn't bad, and I believed her when she said she forgot she wasn't supposed to say it.

Ahh... thank you, Grandpa =)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Saturday Scrapbooking (Imagine)

One of the things I wanted to accomplish last Saturday while scrapbooking was to frame a set of drawings that Short Person had done of her and I. The drawings tell a story about her and I going to pick flowers, but having to climb hill after hill to get there.

The frame I had was a four window, with 3x5 openings-- perfect for the pictures since she had used the backs of some of my note cards to do them. Unfortunately, she had drawn about 20 pictures, so I had to narrow it down and choose the best for the frame.

As I laid them out, I came across a picture that I was not expecting, but was so cute and endearing and funny, I had to share it. The picture is of us, on top of very large hills. She is goofing off and I am standing, frowning, my arms crossed looking at her.

How very astute of my almost 5-year-old to include something so true to life. LOL...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Heaven's Mail Delivery Service

There are many challenges that come with parenthood. Temper tantrums, picky eaters, marbles in noses, body parts stuck in things that leave you wondering how they got in there in the first place, just to name a few. But none of these things has been so challenging as attempting to figure out Heaven's delivery service.

Short Person loves writing letters. So much so that envelopes, colored pictures, and notes are piled upon nearly every available surface awaiting delivery. She's written to all her classmates, nearly all of her relatives, Santa Claus, and the neighbors, so it would only make sense that this letter writing would transcend its way to Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.

"Mom. How is this letter going to get up to Heaven?" Shortie looked at me with all the expectation of a 4-year-old that thinks her mom, mostly, knows everything. "This letter is for Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus."

"It is, huh?" I needed to buy time. Exactly how did a letter get to them? Find the nearest dead person and enclose it in the coffin? That answer was definitely NOT going to work.

"Yeah. Can you put a stamp on it?" She asked.

"Well... It doesn't really work that way." I immediately cursed myself for not forward-thinking. I so could have taken the easy way out and instead I chose to be honest.

"So, how do I get the letter to them?" Her little nose was scrunched up and she was looking at me with varying shades of doubt as to whether I was the right person to ask. Since Daddy wasn't there, however, she was stuck with me.

"I don't know, Honey. I need to think about it, okay?" I went about doing chores, thinking that maybe I could take her to a Catholic Church where they light the candles. They have a delivery box there for prayer requests-- or, they did on television. Since I haven't been to a Catholic Church in quite some time, i was a little iffy on the particulars. I had her set the letter on the table next to the door with the promise that I would get back to her with an answer, and she went about writing more letters.

About a day passed before it was brought up again.

I was in my office, working on the computer when I heard the front door and then the screen door open. Since Short Person and I were the only ones in the house, I bolted out of the chair and ran into the living room prepared to ream her up one side and down the other for going out the front door. I caught her just as she was coming back in.

"Mom, DON'T WORRY! I was only on the porch." She had one hand up in an attempt to stave off her mother's bout of lecturing. "I just needed to do something REALLY QUICK."

I'm gathering my patience. After all, it wasn't like she had run down the driveway and was playing in the street. The whole episode had only taken, maybe 2.5 seconds. "Honey, you know you are not supposed to open the front door without asking mommy or daddy." I gave her the stern I-mean-business look. "Sweetheart. You are only in pj's and snow boots and it's SO cold outside!" I looked out the screen door. Cold and snowy. Snow piled higher than she was.

"But Mo-om. I tolded you, I only needed to do something REALLY FAST, so don't worry!"

I sighed. Okay, no harm no foul, but what in blazes did she need to do in her nightgown with three feet of snow outside?! I asked her as much.

"Well, I was trying to see if it was windy or not."


"Yeah. I was trying to mail this letter to Jesus." She said matter-of-factly. Any hot air I had left vacated at the answer as I tried to figure that one out.

"Why-wind-huh?" I sputtered out, totally confused.

"If it was windy enough, the wind could take the letter up up up to Heaven." She let out a long, drawn sigh of disappointment. "But it's not." Setting the letter back on the table, she took of her snow boots and went to sit on the couch, a picture of dejectedness.

God bless her, she'd figured out a way to get it there all by herself. I assured her that it would some day be windy enough and we'd be able to float the letter up to Heaven on our own created Heavenly delivery service, thankful that those words were enough to squelch the disappointment she felt.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Games We Play

When Short Person was a tiny baby I didn't know what to do with her. Here was this little lump of our flesh and blood, in my arms, watching me. She couldn't talk, couldn't move, and most of the time her little eyes were crossed, proving she couldn't see.

She was as intimidating as hell.

But she had this way of looking at me as if to say, "Come on, Mom. I'm watching. DO something!" So, I started playing games with her.

They started small. At one month, I'd hold her up, my hands under her arms, her little feet on my thighs and play the "Leaning Tower of Baby Meg". I'd lean her from one side to the other side, then back, then front. Slowly, so that her little head wouldn't lull from side to side, but relaxed enough so that if she wanted to test her muscles and build them up, she had the freedom to do so.

A few months later, when she could hold her head upright on her own, I started "Shake the Baby".

Whenever LJS and I bathed our dogs, Sammy and Heidi, we'd always shake the excess water off of them before wrapping them in a towel. We'd hold them under their front legs and wiggle their torsos back and forth. The method migrated to Short Person, but I always sang "Shake the Baby... Shake the BaBEE" to the tune of "Shake Your Booty". That game lasted until she was old enough to stand up and do it herself. She'd stand up after the bath and shake her booty and sing "Shake the Baby".

There was the "Mommy needs Kisses!" or hugs or cuddles game. Where I'd attack her with a million kisses until she was giggling hysterically and saying "do it again! do it again!" and I was too tired to go on. And there were others that I can't remember right now.

But some games started completely by accident.


"Mommy! Mommy!" Short Person rushed into the office and sat down on my lap facing me. "Let's do 'The List'!" I knew that tone of voice. There was no talking her out of it. Ever. She loved doing "The List".

"The List, huh?" I put down the shirt I had been folding and gave in to the little brown eyes looking up at me with anticipated glee.

"Yeah! You do the list and I'll say Macaroni and Cheese!"

The List had started quite by accident one night over a year ago. Short Person had been hungry and wanted something to eat, but didn't know what. I started listing things and have been listing them ever since. Just as I did now.

"Okay, we have lettuce and pickles and cereal and..."

"Macaroni and Cheese!" Shortie shouted out.

I knew my next line. It had been rehearsed over and over and over again, and should I ever forget- or take to long to respond- she was there to help me along.

"Macaroni and Cheese?" I asked. "I didn't put Macaroni and Cheese on the list. Who put Macaroni and Cheese on the List?!"

"I did!" She said with unconcealed enjoyment.

"You did!" I flipped her down and started tickling her until she was nearly hysterical with it. "You can't put Macaroni on the list! Only I can put Macaroni on the list!"

Short Person finished out her bout of laughter and sat up, immediately collecting herself. "Okay Mommy. It's your turn now!"

"My turn?" I hated when it was my turn. I couldn't ever think of anything to put on the list.

"Yeah! I'll do the list and you put... M uh M's on it!"


"We have toast and apples and..."

"M and M's!" I shouted.

And then it was her turn to go through the lines, tickling me as much as she could, enjoying the game...

Some day I know I'm going to wish I had written down all the games we played. I know I've already forgotten some of them. Some of the games we played so often that I'd dread the words. The question to play. The games I now regret have gone the wayside of her maturity.

So here this page sits, to some day be scrapped into the Story of a Short Person as a reminder of the games we played.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Short Person and the Commercial Age

Presents were precariously stacked on top of the dining room table, every surface filled, as I struggled to cut off a piece of wrapping paper from the three foot roll. It dangled precariously over the table, wobbling as my scissors sliced through it, and I grumbled under my breath at the complete lack of space our small house afforded for such projects.

Short Person heard my mumbling and wandered over, leaning against the table and watching with concern as her mother struggled to do a job she believed should have been a tad easier. "You know, Mom... They have this thing. It's called a 'Gift Wrap Cutter' and you just put it on the wrapping paper and it slices right through."

"Really?" I asked, wondering how on earth she knew this. "Does Aunt Anjee have one?"

"No." She paused, still watching as I wobbled toward the end with the scissors. "It's purple... and it kinda... makes cutting easier and faster. And you know? It's safer than scissors and you can cut straight lines and everything!" She looked at me with wide eyes, conveying her message of hope even after the words stopped.

"Well... that sounds... like a marvelous device." I responded, wondering where she got the intuition that whatever this device was it would be all of those things. Wondering where she may have even seen it in the first place.

"It's at the store. I could show you where, okay?"

I replied that I looked forward to checking out the object with her on our next shopping excursion and went back to wrapping presents as she meandered back into the living room to play.

It wasn't until a few hours later, cooking dinner and watching television while I did so, that the commercial came on for the Scotch Gift Wrap Cutter "designed for safety" and "making cutting easy, fast, and fun".


A couple days later, LJS wandered into the kitchen while I was doing dishes. "So, Short Person says that we need to buy some type of lotion. Something about it stopping the itching?" He looked at me with confused concern.

"Does her skin itch?" I asked, worried, and looked back at her as she wandered into the room. "Honey, does your skin itch?"

"No, Mom." She said, with an impatient sigh. "I just think we need to get some lotion to make your skin 'silky smooth' and to 'stop the itching'."

"Oh. Okay... Honey, if your skin is itchy we can put some lotion on it after dinner, alright?"


She wandered off, leaving LJS and I somewhat perplexed at the conversation. A few days after that, a commercial came on for Eucerin. A lotion to make skin "silky smooth" and "stop the itch".


It has been incredibly cold in Oregon lately. Colder than I remember it being, for longer than I remember it being. At night, our routine has consisted of the big jobs of dinner and huddling on the couch trying to stay warm during the coldest nights. I've taken to wearing layers of clothing, while Short Person has taken to an attempted blanket wearing.

"You know, Mom... They make this blanket thing that has SLEEVES! I saw it!"

"Oh really?" I asked. "Do you and Grandma Alice cuddle in it together?"


"Oh, does Grandma Alice wear it while reading a book?"


"Grandma Linda?"

"No... I just saw it."

I watched as she walked away to cuddle up in a blanket. I'd known about the blanket with sleeves thing from a pattern or catalog or something, but couldn't figure out where Shortie would have seen it.

A few weeks later, a commercial came on for the "Snuggie Fleece Blanket" a "blanket with sleeves".

I was starting to see a trend.

The strange thing is that not every commercial gets her attention. It is only specific ones, and usually only products she really thinks we need.

My skin itches a lot. I barely escape a week without a bout of hives brought on by the latex in my socks or bra or other mysterious item I forgot to check. Barely a night goes by that we aren't huddled in a blanket trying to stay warm while also reading a book or attempting to color, something that would be better accomplished if that blanket had sleeves. The gift wrap cutter for cutting long pieces of wrapping paper and ProActive for the "owies" on my face.

Each product useful, in its own way, to us.

It has been fun to watch. Two days ago, she came racing through the kitchen to peer up and over the counter and the small tv we have next to the stove, intent on the commercial playing. Something had grabbed her attention, but neither LJS or I could figure out what it was. She watched silently, paying close attention, and when it was over she wandered back to her desk to finish coloring. Not a word was spoken.

But you can see it there, in the concentrated look, that she's filing it away for future reference-- just in case a situation arises where that product might be needed...

Incidentally, the Commercial age has its downfalls. One of these downfalls is the closed spectrum that it has brought with it. While you and I might be able to see around the products flashing lights, she is convinced that the product she has seen is the only one that will cure, help, or clothe.

She really, really wants a blanket with sleeves, but regrets that they only come in red, blue, or black. I asked if she'd want pink, thinking that even if I couldn't sew a lick, my sister would be able to zip together two pieces of fleece lickity-split. "No, Mom. They don't COME in pink!"

Little mind expanding, I can't wait for the day that it takes the leap outside the box. I'm going to love watching where your imagination takes you.