There was once an adage that children were to be seen and not heard. Hearing them without seeing them is highly entertaining.
With five grandbabies under the age of 3 all in the house recently, snippets of conversation drift from one room to another seconds before laughter erupts, damage occurs or action breaks loose in another part of the house.
From the kitchen: Klink, klink, klink “Those are Grandma’s fancy dishes. Can you be very careful?” Klink, klink, klink. Pause. Crash.
From upstairs: “I went poo!”
“Yes you did, but not on the potty chair.”
From every room there seem to be a lot of don’ts:
“Don’t put that in your mouth.”
“Don’t lick the window.”
“Don’t pull the dog’s tail.”
“Don’t color on the table.”
“Get out of Grandma’s cupboard now and don’t put tea lights in the toaster one more time!”
One of the most amusing snippets: “Why is John Henry wearing high heels?”
The best exchange between two adults at a meal with 14 crowded around the table:
“What’s on my foot? Is that a dog or a kid?”
“I’m not sure, but in either case, don’t make any sudden moves.”
Some were at the table, some were on the table, and some were under the table. In large group situations with small children, you take what you get.
Most often repeated phrase with a variation:
“You put chap stick on your lips; you don’t eat it.”
“That’s not a chap stick, that’s a glue stick. Now look what you’ve done. Your face is all glue-y.”
“She’s either a mime, or she’s got diaper paste on her face!”
She is the 2-year-old that will have high cholesterol by age 3 based on all the pastes, lotions and lip gloss she attempts to eat. Some kids crave dirt, this one craves petroleum byproducts.
A recurring snippet frequently overheard: “Somebody do a head count!”
Yes, please. The call for a head count was preceded by one adult child casually saying to a sibling, “Just saw one of yours outside. Barefoot.”
Most pathetic snippets overheard:
“Looks like her head is stuck between the sink and the wall.”
“The baby has gas. Really. No, really.”
And no doubt, one of the most heartless things an adult can ever say to a small crying child that has just lost a tug of war: “Isn’t it fun to share?”
On reflection, with five little ones underfoot, it is probably best to see the children and hear the children both at the same time. If you have the strength.
Lori Borgman is an Indianapolis columnist.