Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Now I Know What Art Linkletter Meant…

So, I wanted to take a brief break from political blogging to discuss a topic that continues to mystify me: Children.

Not having any of my own, I confess to not having an understanding of who they are and how they operate. My own memories from childhood are my only real reference points. So, whenever I am exposed to them for any length of time, it usually turns out to be an enlightening experience, as well as a rare chance for me to see how the smaller half truly lives.

As I blogged last week, I spent Thanksgiving weekend in Oklahoma at the invitation of my friend Felicite. She and her husband, Sean, have three kids: two daughters (Soleil, 9, and Lili, 2) and a son (Finn, 6). For some strange and unimaginable reason, these kids decided quickly after I met them several years ago that they like me. Maybe they recognized in me a kindred immature spirit.

Anyway, they always engage me whenever I visit, and these interactions usually produce a few memorable quotes. Here are the top three (in no particular order) from my most recent trip.

1) “Richard, would you buy me a machete for Christmas?”

Rest assured I am not in the habit of buying swords for kindergarteners. But this comment came about when a gardener produced such an implement, and Finn reacted with the wild, boyish, “Dennis the Menace”- like enthusiasm he demonstrates on a regular basis. I found this enthusiasm so amusing that, when Finn asked me this question, being a wiseass I said I would.

Me: “Why do you want a machete?”

Finn: “I want to go to the North Pole and fight Santa.”

Well, at least he only wants to fight Santa.

As you can imagine, neither parent is enthused about the idea of my buying a deadly weapon for their child. So, I googled “plastic machetes” as soon as I got back to Baltimore, and found a few possible substitutes. Still, even plastic machetes look a little precarious from a safety standpoint. This might wind up being a hard promise to keep.

2) “He can sleep on the floor.”

The family was kind enough to let me stay at their house. For this to work, however, the two-year-old had to relinquish her bed to me. Displacing toddlers from their normal sleeping arrangements is not something I make a habit of. But, given that she had just started sleeping in it not too long ago, I figured that she would be fine with the temporary inconvenience.

And, she was, up until a point.

I overheard Lili ask her dad: “Daddy, can I sleep in my bed tonight?”

He responded: “But, where will Richard sleep?”

“On the floor,” she responded, without missing a beat.

Later, as we all watched a movie, the child helpfully pointed out for our collective benefit that one of the characters was sleeping “on the floor” via a futon.

She eventually got past her sense of displacement. But it isn’t one of my prouder moments.

3) “Troublemaker.”

Soleil, the oldest child, projects a scholarly nature beyond her years while retaining a child’s happy outlook on life. She has many interests, but seems to be going through an artistic period at the moment. So, I was flattered when she presented me with the following signage in celebration of my visit. I will let the picture speak for itself.

“Kids say the darndest things,” Art Linkletter used to say. Too bad he never had the chance to meet these three.


  1. Thanks for not blogging the naughty things they say!! To the floor, Cross!

  2. Felicite, is that you? SMURF!!! MLY!!!