As a writer for children, I am fortunate to be blessed with a non-stop whirlwind of inspiration every day thanks to my two youngest kids.
My two older girls are 23 and 20 and off doing their own thing these days, so taking care of my 6-year-old son and his 2-year-old sister allows me to not only revisit some of the joy, pain, and utter ridiculousness that I enjoyed with the older ones, but to be able to view their development – and mine! – with a fresh perspective.
It’s like watching the video of your wedding and discovering all sorts of things you never realized happened, because you were in the eye of the storm the whole time, and everything was swirling about you. Only when you get a chance to relive it are you able to truly appreciate the event.
That being said, I thought I’d share a few nuggets of wisdom my kids and I have learned over the past few years. Some of these have already spawned poems or picture book ideas; others most likely will, at some point!
What the kids have learned:
- If you walk backward without watching where you are going long enough, tragedy is inevitable.
- A penis is not an appropriate body part when singing the Hokey-Pokey.
- The punishment for lying is always worse than the punishment for whatever it was you lied about.
- The cat is not a bean bag, and does not appreciate being part of any game that involves tossing.
- In addition to creating pretty pictures, magic markers can also be used to paint your nails. And your lips. And pretty much any exposed surface.
- One must never like the same meal two days in a row. If I loved pizza yesterday, I must despise it today. If we have mac ‘n cheese tonight, I must throw it on the floor tomorrow.
What I have learned:
- A little girl wearing a Queen Elsa dress with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle shell on her back is a beautiful thing.
- Unconsciousness can do wonders. No matter how loud, rude, impolite, destructive, unruly, or otherwise improper your little hellion was during the day, as soon as he falls asleep…your sweet, angelic Gift from God returns.
- I may not like loud, banshee-like screaming, but when it’s happy banshee-like screaming…it’s music to my ears.
- Reading 8 books before bedtime is not as exhausting as reading the same book 8 times in a row. Or is the other way around? Dang, I can’t remember.
- When your 2-year-old daughter runs through the house shouting, “I laugh in the face of danger!” followed by a psychotic laugh…be prepared for anything.
- Two-year-olds have only two speeds: asleep and lightning.
- When feeding a toddler who dumps half her food on the floor, the family dog is an invaluable resource.
Ah, parenting. I have to admit, being a stay-at-home dad has its advantages when it comes to writing! These two are a never-ending source of
stress frustration insomnia joy and happiness!
And as I’ve told many folks, I probably wouldn’t be writing for kids right now if it wasn’t for these two young ones. I get to watch them grow, be inspired by them, and then write about it.
What a career!