Kids Say — and, It Turns Out, BELIEVE — the Damnedest Things (and yes, that’s how you spell ‘damnedest.’ Trust me. I looked it up. I see that questioning look. Stop it.)

My daughter is a force of nature: whip smart, nurturing and kind, an old soul, beautiful to boot.

And sassy. Head strong. Perhaps a little stubborn.

Check her out, in her 2.5 years of sassy glory (this was seven years ago…but add a foot or two onto her height, and she’s still giving me the exact same expression. Today. Every day, in fact.)

But there are times when I shake my head in wonderment at the naïve words that issue forth from her silly yet seemingly sophisticated mouth.

Case in point: We were driving home from dropping my son off at school the other day, and she was telling me about a person in her life for whom she feels tremendous ill will.

And I quote:

“Mom, I HATE so-and-so.” (name oh-so-creatively changed to protect the hated…)

“Come on, I seriously doubt that you HATE her,” I respond. “You may not like how she acts, or you may not like something she did. But let’s reserve hatred for real evil in life – like Adolf Hitler, for example.”

“True,” she says, stoically. “So true.”

Thus ensued a dramatic pause that seemed to last a lifetime, which I imagined to be her deep soul searching as it related to the power of my thought-provoking, compelling statement. I looked over, and the sheer focus of her gaze, the intensity in her eyes, were undermined mere seconds later by her follow-up clarification:

“Adolf Hitler…He’s that baseball player guy, right?”

(*cue brakes screeching, car swerving, mouth dropping open in aghast horror*)

Sure, she’s 9: But shouldn’t my brilliant, whip smart, Gifted-and-Talented-certified child know who Adolf Hitler is? Didn’t we have this discussion many times? Haven’t they learned about him in elementary school? Didn’t she overhear her brother and I lamenting the terror of his reign when my son read Diary of Anne Frank, crying about it almost nightly?

Her response to my disbelief at her naivete: “But Mom, his name just sounds like the name of a baseball player…”

Oh. Wow.

Out of the mouths of babes, right? Gotta love children, in all their naive, trusting, innocent-to-a-fault ways. And is it just me, or sometimes, do they have opinions that are just downright crazy?

My daughter, it just so happens, comes from a long line of crazy naïve girls. I may or may not embody this example. Remember, I’m the chick who thought artichokes were animals (they have hearts, after all!) and that curb feelers were designed to help blind people drive.


So I’m certainly not one to judge. I am a child of the ’70s. My brother and I grew up watching Donny and Marie (and imagining we would grow up to be just like them — after all, he was a little bit country, and I was definitely a little bit rock ‘n roll).

Flashback to 1970-something: My brother and I are misbehaving one day at a mall – I’m guessing I’m 4 and he’s 6. My mother, being the ever-practical type, disciplines and reprimands us, but not one to miss an opportunity, spies a photo booth while mid-admonishment. Without skipping a beat (I can only imagine, as I’ve blocked the memory out entirely), she pushes my brother and me into the booth, whips the curtain closed and inserts change.

Now remember, this is the ’70s, and these machines are not exactly technologically advanced. A series of loud clicking and snapping ensues, followed by the deep groaning and grinding of gears, lights dimming and flashing…

And outside of the booth, this picture pops out for my proud mommy, who is eagerly awaiting the prize resulting from her spontaneous photo inspiration:

Can you say, “Child Abuse”?

As for my brother and me? We thought we were being fucking killed. Given the intensity of my mother’s scorn (which probably wasn’t all that bad, but in our childhood imaginations, she was the Maddest. Mommy. EVER.), we knew she was done with us.

We knew she was so done, she had put us in a box behind a curtain to have us murdered.

Little did she know she was producing a picture that would live in infamy as the ultimate testament to our naivete — and perhaps to her inability to recognize her sheer power, as reflected in our 4- and 6-year-old eyes.

So while my daughter firmly believed that Adolph Hitler must be a baseball player (because his name just sounds like the name of a baseball player, after all…), at least she does NOT believe that a photo booth is a torture device designed to eradicate all evil children from Planet Earth.

I did. Hell, so did my brother.

And in keeping with the baseball theme established by my daughter, as a little girl, I also believed Yogi Berra was just a fancy, sophisticated way to say Yogi Bear. And this, I believed until I was probably 13. Come to think of it, I also thought Baby Ruth was Babe Ruth’s baby.

I shit you not.

In my young mind, thanks to Sally Struthers, I trusted that the cost of a cup of coffee would save all the children in Ethiopia; I was confident that Luke Skywalker used a Life Saver to kill his father; I vehemently believed that Puff the Magic Dragon was really a wistful song about a depressed giant dragon abandoned by his best friend, Jackie Paper; and I thought blow jobs actually involved blowing (come on, peeps, don’t leave me hanging: We ALL believed that at one time or another, right?).

Innocence is a beautiful thing.

The crazy thing is, I still remember the voracity with which I would have defended all of these beliefs. I also remember the absolute confusion inspired by the correction of my false notions.

Just like, for example, my daughter will most likely remember yesterday morning. As I poured her a bowl of cereal, she lamented that we haven’t had Wheaties in the house in far, far too long.

“Why didn’t you buy them for so long,” she asked. “Were they out of season?”

Sure, sweetheart. The Wheaties were out of season.

I think it may be time to have a conversation with this trusting soul sooner than later about blow jobs and how they do not involve blowing.

(And BTW, if this is news to anyone reading my blog, my apologies…)

OK, fair readers: This is the part where you are compelled to contribute:

  1. What did you believe as a child that you later learned was SOOOO not true?
  2. If you have kids, what utterances have issued forth from their mouths that have made you question their sanity/upbringing/genetics?
  3. Have you ever seen such terror on little faces than in my Photo Booth Murder pic? I swear my brother looks like he has seen a ghost…makes me smile every time.

Oh-oh-OH: It’s also giveaway time! I know you’ve all been waiting with bated breath to learn the identity of the lucky reader who will own a shirt that exactly matches one of mine…except for the tags and such, of course…

I’ll call you, and we can show up on the same day wearing the SAME shirt. We’ll be Puke-Shirt BFFs!

…and the winner is…

Lori Dyan, come on down! (and I’m just gonna ignore the fact that your comment was essentially a flirtatious tease aimed at my Manfriend, an electronic “come hither,” k? K…)

Lori, send me a private e-mail or tweet me with your mailing deets — and the shirt will be en route, spunky girl.

Many thanks to all of you for sharing my last post, tweeting my last post, Facebooking my last post, commenting on my last post (and this one, too — hint, hint…) and/or for just being generally awesome.

Seriously. There’s not a douchebag in the entire lot of you!


160 thoughts on “Kids Say — and, It Turns Out, BELIEVE — the Damnedest Things (and yes, that’s how you spell ‘damnedest.’ Trust me. I looked it up. I see that questioning look. Stop it.)

  1. Rob Rubin says:

    I wonder what baseball player she thought Hitler sounded like. If you find out you should send him a friendly note that he might want to consider changing his name since so many young people are confusing him with the worst person this planet has ever seen.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Haha! You know, I was thinking through this yesterday after I read your comment, and I meant to ask her but I totally forgot; however, my guess is she confused “Hitler” with “hitter.” That’s just a guess, though…

  2. Life From the Trenches says:

    Your photo booth picture is the best ever. Hands down. I’ve been shoving my kids in those things for years hoping for something that awesome. Now I know the missing ingredient — fear! I plan to work on that. Great post.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Glad to be of service in providing you with that final ingredient. The trick for you, considering you’ve used the photo booths before, will be to really, REALLY come unhinged. Then they’ll forget all about their previous experiences with the harmless photo booths of the past…

      Best of luck to you! 😉

  3. Lori dyan says:

    Ack!!! I’m reading this post and laughing out loud to the point that my kid thought I had a tv hidden in my iPhone and then the gasp when read my name caused them to ask if my phone was suddenly broken…well, let’s just say that’s more excitement than I’m used to. Also, that picture? Is equally terrifying and hilarious. (and yes, I thought there was blowing involved, too…thank god for Fast Times at Ridgemont High…#carrots). Mwah and thank you!!! Email coming 🙂

    • Lori Dyan says:

      p.s. the horrifying/hilarious picture I’m referring to is young Mikalee and bro, not hot-stuff modern-day Mikalee, nor cutie patootie attitude-giving daughter of Mikalee….

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      AWESOME! Glad you’re excited, because otherwise, I’d feel awfully abandoned by my new Puke-Shirt BFF.

      …and why didn’t anyone ever tell me to watch Fast Times at Ridgemont High? That could’ve made things far more comfortable…for me and “others.” Or rather, “other.”

  4. Tara Cutler says:

    I was thirteen years old when my evil and wicked step-mother told me I was a brown-nose. Holy…bitchy much? Of course, I had no idea what it meant and as soon as I could sneak away from helping with dinner, I ducked into the bathroom to check my nose in the mirror. Since I was a greasy-faced teenager, the tip of my nose did look kinda icky. A swipe of astrigent with a cottonball later, I was proud of myself for taking care of that little problem. It wasn’t until a year or so later when I realized she was calling me an ass-kisser.

  5. lexy3587 says:

    hah, you guys really look terrified! I hope you’ve made multiple copies of that photo, for safe keeping.
    When I was young (probably around 10), i was in the car with my mom, and she imparted the knowledge on me that Tim Hortons (of Tim Hortons coffee… this might just be a canadian and northern states thing) had been a hockey player. And that he was dead. “Oh. His widow must be really well endowed.” … the day I learned that “Endowed” doesn’t have any similarity to dowry, inheriting a business (which I believe she did not) doesn’t make your breasts big, and that tim hortons coffee coming out of a parents’ nose is the most hilarious thing ever.

  6. Ashley says:

    What? You mean Puff wasn’t a dragon?!?!? *squinty smile*… Back sometime around 1970, there was a commercial that warned of the dangers of Venereal disease – with quite the catchy tune: “VD is for Everybody…” I had no idea what VD was, but at the age of 8 I wanted it cause the people in the video seemed to think it was really cool;)

  7. megalagom says:

    Funniest post ever- I can’t wait to have children to see those cog wheels turn. I LOVE that photo booth shot, hilarious!! It’s like every picture of me with Santa combined.

  8. muddledmom says:

    Just when you think your kid is the smartest kid ever, he comes along and says the dumbest thing, right? Like, “So are hot dogs made from dogs?” Or while shopping in a store and wanting to know what a sports cup is. “Does it protect your head?” No. You can actually see that lightbulb go off. Points down there. I rush him out of store. Sometimes I worry.

    Great post. Love the picture.

  9. perilsofdivorcedpauline says:

    1. At age ten, I still believed a period was that thing at the end of a sentence. (Mom wasn’t big on the birds-and-bees talk).

    2. My daughter hasn’t delivered anything close to the Adolf Hitler line, but she did proclaim confidently, not that long ago: “For dinner, I would like some filet – mignon – yay.”

    3. About the photos: I think you and your daughter are awfully cute!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      1. Reminds me of my daughter, who came up to me the other day with her “American Girls/The Care and Keeping of You” book (it’s the birds-and-bees talk — without the talk part) and pointed to the section on PMS. Then she said, “You know how my brother has been so moody these days? I think he has PMS.”

      2. Wow. The girl has taste! And is so spunky!

      3. Thank you. They are two of my absolute favorite pictures ever.

  10. Helen W. Mallon says:

    At the age of ten, I believed that the John Keats poem read, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever…It will never become obsolete.”

    This amused my advertising-agency father very much. I felt quite put down when he told me the truth. My pounding “B” and alliterative “O” were MUCH better than Keats’s snake-hissy (parseltongue?) “it will never passss into nothingnessss…”

    Yeah, we were a literary family. We suffered high-class trauma.

    You should find a contest to submit that photo to. Surely there’s a therapist on Twitter who’s trying to generate new clients with a “Best Trauma Photo” in exchange for some free sessions.

  11. MaryAlice Spurgeon says:

    The photos MAKE the story. You’re all so adorable. And, your mother just may be my hero in a twisted sort of way.

    My daughter would yell “I just need a piece of quiet!” when her little brothers would get rowdy. My youngest thought her head was her “branium” having missed the difference between the brain and the cranium.

    As usual I get a big grin when I see you’ve posted something new. Don’t stop.

    p.s. Don’t you mean ‘bated’?

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Thanks for the compliments, and yes: My mom should be the hero in this story. I just got off the phone with her, and she was recounting the entire day — it was adorable. She said she and my dad laughed so much in response to the post and to reliving the memories…knowing that I made them happy, and reading all of your great comments, makes this post one of my favorites so far!

      I’m going to have to start asking for a piece of quiet. That is ADORABLE.

      p.s. THANK YOU! The bizarre thing is just last week I posted on my “Mikalee Byerman, Writer Chick” page on Facebook about “eggcorns.” It’s the literary term for words that sound similar but are NOT the same: gun-ho (instead of gung-ho); flush out (instead of flesh out); for all intensive purposes (instead of for all intents and purposes); etc. And then I commit one? Oh, the irony…

  12. Mark Petruska says:

    You guys look frightened to death. I hate that I’m laughing so much over the photo, but…heh…I just can’t help it.

    You know, Peter, Paul & Mary still insist to this day that Puff The Magic Dragon has nothing to do with drugs and really IS about a magic reptile in the land of Honalee. To wit: “The authors of the song have repeatedly rejected this urban legend and have strongly and consistently denied that they intended any references to drug use. Peter Yarrow has frequently explained that “Puff” is about the hardships of growing older and has no relationship to drug-taking. He has also said of the song that it “never had any meaning other than the obvious one” and is about the “loss of innocence in children”

    Not sure whether I believe them or not.

    As for my own childhood naivety, I assumed incorrectly that Cookie Crisp cereal actually tasted like cookies. Until I tried it, of course. How do you spell FALSE ADVERTISING?

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      You’re absolutely welcome to laugh over that photo. Hell, I laugh over that photo, and I’m the one still spending time with a shrink to get to the bottom of it all! (Just joking, of course…).

      I’m glad I’m not the only skeptic in the room about good ol’ Puff. I have read a few stories about the “urban legend” assertion, but come on: Puff?! Draggin’?! Jackie Paper?! Sure…just about a boy and his magical dragon.

      And while I agree that Cookie Crisp tastes nothing like cookies, I will suggest that I’m a fan of the marketing aspect of it. Because of the word “cookie” on the box, I have convinced my children that it is a dessert. So sometimes, they have a small bowl of Cookie Crisp in milk after dinner — instead of ice cream or candy. Makes me feel all tingly inside…

  13. joaquinbarroso says:

    Hey, long time no blog! 😛 We all miss’ya

    I seem to remember that I used to think that whenever a blackout occurred at our apartment it was because a plane got stuck in the power lines hanging outside on the street, and I imagined all these people with ladders trying to untangle the plane. I remember my mother telling me all this and now she swears she couldn’t have possibly said so! Probably I made it up, told her and she just nodded or something.
    I guess this is the most naive thing I can think of my childhood right now, well that and Santa Claus but that was a nice thing to believe in, right? Here in Mexico kids get presents not only from SC on Dec 25 but also from the Three Wise Men on Jan 6! So you better believed in them, am I right? 🙂

    Have an awesome weekend!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      LOVE the image of the plane — good thing blackouts aren’t all too common, or you’d probably have trauma issues based on all those downed airplanes!

      And you’re DAMN right you need to believe in Santa (and the 3 Wisemen) as a child; where’s the fun if you don’t, right?

      Thanks for sharing (and for missing me) … have a great weekend yourself!

  14. O. Leonard says:

    “…makes me smile every time?” shit, I’m just now picking myself up off the floor. That was the funniest damn thing I have ever seen. The murder booth. The looks on your faces is classic, wait, what’s a better word, nope classic is good. If your brother’s eyeballs popped out any more, they would have actually popped out.

    I still believe “Puff” is a dragon and I don’t think Anne Murray’s “Snowbird” has anything to do with cocaine, even though it was banned in some places.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Glad you enjoyed the murder booth snapshot. Now I’m thinking of launching a mystery novel series with that name…

      And I’m glad you’re so gullible hopeful, O. Leonard. You crack me up!

  15. Michele says:

    My 16 year old AP class taking high honor student was on the phone with her friend taking about the Prom. Her friend “J” was getting spray tanned for the Prom and I heard her ask her friend “A” are you going with “J” to get spray tanned. “A” is a very dark skinned African American from Jamaica.

  16. John says:

    Hilarious. And now I’m curious if there was a specific baseball player whose name is similar to “Adolph Hitler”, that she had in mind.

    I think I’ve told this tale in your comments section before. When I was 11 or so, we went to Florida for baseball’s spring training. It just happens to also be spring break. Our family was driving through sunny Florida when we passed a gentleman’s club. The marquee for the place was advertising a wet t-shirt contest. And from the back seat, my poor dad had to hear his 11 year old son ask him “How do you judge a wet t-shirt contest? Do you squeeze the water out into a bucket?” There was no answer, only a prolonged silence that I only later realized was awkward.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      John, that story makes me want to travel back into time, scoop up “little John” and give him a great big hug. Not in a creepy way…just in a “wow, you’re so adorably naive” way! I LOVE IT!!!!

      And honestly, I think my daughter may be confusing “Hitler” with “hitter.” Seriously.

  17. My Book of Stories says:

    And I thought I was naive! A man exposed himself to me and it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized what he was doing! I didn’t know that was his “little man!” I didn’t know when I graduated from high school (1975) what they now know at 13! The picture is hysterical. What a great post. I’ll be laughing for a while. Donna

  18. Ruth Zive (@rzive) says:

    This was SOOOOO worth the wait!

    So many thoughts; I apologize in advance for any stream of consciousness contribution.

    First of all, as I was reading, I asked my nearly 8 year old son if he had ever heard of Adolf Hitler. And he hadn’t. But what’s really remarkable about that – we are Jewish. He goes to a Jewish Day School (so glad I’m getting my $10,000/year’s worth!). And he has 4 older siblings who have ALL learned about the Holocaust. At length. Now, in fairness, he didn’t think he was a baseball player.

    Second of all – I beg to differ about blow jobs. They could, theoretically, involve some blowing.

    Lastly, until I was nearly an adult, I was pretty sure that Jingle Bells was about a ‘one horse soap and sleigh’. It was life changing (for this Jewish gal) when I realized I was singing the wrong lyrics.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      This is like, seriously, one of my favorite comments ever. I am simultaneously stunned, validated and laughing hysterically at the idea that your child — in a Jewish school — didn’t know about Hitler. Simply AWESOME!

      …and yeah, good point about the blow jobs. Let’s just say I thought it was entirely about blowing. Like it was a horn or something. I couldn’t imagine how that would feel good…

      From now on, our family will sing about “one horse soap and sleigh.” You have now started a new tradition, and we will forever be in your debt.


  19. mj monaghan says:

    Thanks for ruining it:
    So … Puff the Magic Dragon WASN’T really a wistful song about a depressed giant dragon abandoned by his best friend, Jackie Paper??

    I’m crushed, and devastated!

    You know, in that pic of you and your brother, I understand he’s terrified, but why are you trying to pull out your teeth??

    I just can’t think of anything or time when I might have been naive. hehehe 😉

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Yeah, friend: You just believe whatever your naive trusting little mind wants to believe, k?

      And I can only imagine the teeth pulling pose was a form of self-soothing. Some people suck their thumbs; I look like I’m pulling my teeth out. It’s the exact same, but totally different.

  20. redjim99 says:

    During one attempt to make my daughter behave for her mother while I was out on night duty I told her that her mother was a werewolf, Years later she told me she had been terrified of full moons for years afterwards, gotta watch those throwaway lines and ex’s.


  21. littlefishacrossthepond says:

    When I was little, I carried this image in my head of Abraham Lincoln in top hat and coat being shot in a phone booth. I somehow mixed up the whole theatre booth/John Wilkes Booth thing. In fact, I can’t think about the Civil War without seeing that image in my mind. I wonder who Mr President is calling?

  22. goingroundandround says:

    Oh, those little faces! Did your mother feel sorry for you when she saw the photo?

    I can’t even remember the silly things I used to think, although I know they were myriad. We didn’t have a TV while I was growing up, so I was very naive.

    My youngest stepdaughter wouldn’t flush the toilet regularly until she was almost 14, because she had seen a “Rugrats” cartoon episode when she was little where they thought the swimming pool was “the big potty” and imagined being flushed. So, logically, she thought she would be sucked down the toilet if she flushed it. at least that’s the reason she gave. And she also patently refused to close the toilet lid, ever (which made no sense to me because it would obviously have kept her from being sucked down the toilet, had she flushed!). You never know what cartoons will do to your kids…

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Ahhh, the toilet — rife with misunderstanding issues. I can absolutely understand her fear. And my guess is the idea of closing the toilet lid just caused that much more interaction with the object that was going to suck her down to the sewer…so I can kinda see where she was coming from!

      Yes, I do believe my mom felt horrible after seeing the pictures. I can only imagine…

  23. Tiffany says:

    Just last night, my eight-year old son and I had our first real drug talk. I was vividly recalling the pervasive ad campaign that tells parents to talk to their kids about marijuana. So I dive in. He tells me he heard about a cookie made of weed that is a drug and bad for you. I said, “You’re right, there is a drug called weed, and it is also known as marijuana.” He says, “But which weed is it?” and points to a nearby yard with overgrown brush. At that moment, I realized how very literal his world is! I hid the laugh that wanted to burst out, tickled by his beautiful innocence.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      LOVE IT! That’s awesome — reminds me of the time I was trying to convince my then-toddler son to eat something new, so I cajoled, “Come on, sweetie…this bite has your name all over it.” His response: “Where? I don’t see my name!”

      Facepalm. 😉

  24. SaptarshiC says:

    Come to think of it, the two of you look like you saw Hitler wearing baseball gear running like a crazed chicken towards you wielding a bat in his hands.

    And I was never too innocent to begin with. I take full responsibility for irreversibly corrupting the hapless souls of my helpless friends. I still am not innocent, I just feign to be.

    On a side note, what does Popeye really mean when he says ‘Well, blow me down!’??????

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Way to find a bridge between the bat-wielding Hitler and my photo booth murder pic: I completely agree! All events in life are interrelated in some way, after all. Right?

      And I don’t know about you, but the whole Popeye cartoon was rife with crazy: Popeye’s obvious steroid abuse; Bluto’s obsession with Olive Oyl; Olive Oyl’s passive demeanor. Wimpy’s gluttony. All bizarre. Throw “blow me down” into the mix, and it just adds to the nefarious undertones…

  25. ekhaugli says:

    Hilarious! Here are some memories that attest to how “whip smart” I was as a child: The underground railroad WAS an underground railroad. Whitesnake’s song “Smooth up in ya” (another child of the 70’s) was really “Smooth Opinion”, Prince’s “Little Red Corvette” was “Leave the rent collect” – And I remember that I really tried hard to understand what “leave the rent collect” meant. Thanks for you post, it was a nice way to start my day!

  26. kk50 says:

    When my son was little, his favorite meal was macaroni & cheese and polish sausage. He came into the kitchen while I was fixing it and said, “Mom, does polar sausage come from polar bears?” We still call it polar sausage.

  27. kitchenmudge says:

    You won’t believe this, but I was about 14 before I found out that the wrestling I saw on tv was an honest, genuine competition….compared to presidential debates. I know, I know. I was a slow kid in some ways.

    Good to see you back, Mikalee. It’s been a month.

  28. Ian Burgess Photography says:

    My daughter (6) quotes freely from Mary Poppins (example: me yawning the other day provoked “close your mouth Daddy, your not a codfish”)

    Your big brother in that pic just reminded me of that.

    We watched Mary Poppins for the first time together when she was 4; she fell in love with Mary, and I developed a crush for Julie…both of which suprised me greatly.

    I was fairly convinced as a kid that alligators lived beneath those pavement level HVAC grills…..I still have my suspicions…

    Hilarious and Epiphany inspiring post as usual MB…..your commenters are a pretty cool bunch too…!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I have the coolest bunch of commenters EVER. Present company (that’s you, silly) included!

      I love the “codfish” comment. She sounds almost as sassy as my little girl. We’re going to have our hands full, I fear…

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I believe Toy Story irreversibly scarred an entire generation. And Peter Pan scared the crap out of me as a child — mostly because the first one I saw that was “real” was a chick. I never understood that…

  29. Currie Rose says:

    Funny post! The innocence of little kids is just so refreshing, isn’t it?
    When I was little, I really thought goldfish used to be fish and defended it relentlessly. If someone said, “No, they were a cracker just shaped like a fish.” I would say- “Nah-ah, look it’s a FISH… they can’t make crackers look like fish!” I would get very upset and emotional trying to defend the fish.
    BTW, the pic of you and your brother is just PRICELESS.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Did you ever see those little Keebler crackers that were shaped like elves? If so, that must’ve REALLY creeped you out! Love it!

      Thank you so much for the comment. I love that picture of my brother and me with all my heart. It is one of my most prized possessions, so I was thrilled to share it with my readers!

  30. monicastangledweb says:

    My father, whose humor could be off-kilter at times, once told me that dolls were actually made from children who had died young. I was freaked, but I believed it at least for a little while. Btw, I love the photo of you and your brother. Priceless. 😉

  31. Bella says:

    My kids said so many “damnedest” things, I took to writing them in a journal! Would you believe when we get together during the summers, I take that journal with me and read some of their quotes out loud? It doesn’t matter that it’s been over 15 years, we still laugh till our sides hurt. The picture of you and your brother made me chuckle! Those faces! Oh my goodness! 🙂

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      That’s a beautiful idea. I’m grateful to Facebook for that one reason — I’ve documented their silliness all over my page, so with any luck that can serve as an online journal down the road. Thanks so much for the comment, Bella…glad you enjoyed the Photo Booth Murder pic!

  32. the home tome says:

    I work with kids and used to keep a log of their quotes – they do say the “damnedest” things (I’m going to trust you on that spelling, but it felt a little uncomfortable to type it.) The one I can recall most easily was on a day that I wore contact lenses instead of my glasses – a little 4 year old boy looked at my face in horror and said: WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR EYES?! Needless to say, I wore my glasses to work the next day…nice blog!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Haha! You never think of the fact that at that age, they almost view your face as a static thing, one that CANNOT change…lest you be violating some important 4-year-old code. Too funny!

  33. Harold says:

    She IS her mothers daughter after all!!!! 🙂

    I thought the song Jingle Bells said “one horse hopen sleigh” after all Christmas was a time of hope.
    My Dad was a carpenter/contractor and built houses…after touring some of the buildings in Chicago that my Grandfather was doing the plumbing in “remodeling” I thought he had built the buildings too. I thought this for many years…even mentioned it to one of the plumbers when I started working with them…did I ever get laughed at!!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Mother’s daughter, indeed…I’m in SO MUCH trouble!

      It seems Jingle Bells has inspired numerous childhood misunderstandings. That’s hysterical, but “hope” doesn’t seem as far-fetched as the confusion of another reader, Ruth Zive, who thought it was “soap.”

      You do have quite the legacy, Harold — perhaps not as far-reaching as you thought, but still… 😉

  34. kelliefish13 says:

    That story is hilarious, you must have been terrified!
    I remember my Mum telling me as part of her birds and bees talk that some women think only men can touch them and make them feel good but that its ok for them to touch themselves (or something along those lines). I nodded and agreed while wondering how on earth those women get dressed without touching themselves.
    At University my friends and I had a quotes board which we wrote down all the stupid things we said, made for some funny reading.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Oh WOW…I can definitely see how that would inspire some confusion for a child — TOO FUNNY!

      I’m telling you, after the reader response to this post, I’m thinking there’s an entire book in these stories…

  35. hemadamani says:

    my grand-daughter( my niece’s daughter, i’m not that old really ) 🙂 was sure her mom-dad didn’t love her coz she didn’t see herself anywhere in their wedding video and thought she hadn’t been invited….loved the post. brings back a lot childhood memories..

  36. talesfromthemotherland says:

    I’m pretty sure I’ve never had this many comments (except on a FP) and the comments here had me laughing all over! Great post; hilarious!

    I love the picture of you and your brother: priceless! His face is so completely horrified, and cute little you does indeed look like you’re about to be murdered. Bravo!

    Of course we all believed Puff was a sad dragon… and maybe the fact that I’ve been blowing, has something to do with why I’m getting no where with Smart Guy?

    I think my recent post about the Wenis is right up your alley… when my youngest son, looked at me so sincerely and said: “It’s real! The wenis is real! It’s a scientific thing; I definitely heard about it in science,” I nearly pee’ed my pants!

    Sorry, I appear to be streaming too… not necessarily consciously. Great post! 🙂

  37. Anne Schilde says:

    Adolph Hitler was traded to the New York Yankees in 1945 right?

    1. I remember my mom pointing out the Statue of Liberty for the very first time and asking her if that was the Staten Island Fairy. I was pretty sure fairies were supposed to be smaller, but you have to admit she does have an impressive magic wand.

    2. No kids so um… a “little girl I knew” was very confused once about a ballet move called banana splits. Later she learned that this move has nothing to do with ballet.

    3. I have to admit you both look pretty terrified. I’ve never actually seen someone do the cliché bit with the fingers outside the movies. You were 4? And wow, does your daughter ever look like you in those two pictures!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Totally traded to the Yankees in 45. Or was it the Mets? I forget.

      Impressive wand to be sure — that’s too funny! And I love the idea of the “banana splits.” I think that now, that totally needs to be invented AS a ballet move…

      Yip, I was 4 … and yip, she’s a Mini-Me. I’m kinda screwed…she’s SO sassy! 😉

  38. Impower You says:

    Thanks for starting my day off with a laugh. That photo booth picture is amazing and now I wonder what sort of monster I am for forcing my then 5 year old nephew to sit in it and take a picture.

      • Impower You says:

        Yes. It is funny how what can cause nightmares for one person can cause laughter for another. It sounds so twisted when I write it out.
        At age 8, I was convinced by an older cousin that there were monsters under my bed. She pulled this off by hiding under there as I fell asleep. She shook the bed and whispered scary words to me. I peed my pants and ran INTO the door. Yes I was so sacred that I couldn’t stop to think about turning a door knob. Scary for me, hilarious for everyone she tells it to.

  39. stephwithoutborders says:

    I was absolutely certain for some time that the world in all it’s glory was indeed black and white. Miraculously one day it contained all the colors we now have, and the photographs changed. I also thought there was a very small person that lived in the traffic lights and changed them from red to yellow to green. Mind you, I was a brilliant child much like your own!

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Oh. My. GOD. I love the idea of tiny people living in traffic lights. I wish I could go back in time and teach my kids that…of course, I have the daughter who believes Hitler is a baseball player, so there may still be time with her! 😉

  40. Posky says:

    IS violence against children wrong? It doesn’t always feel wrong.

    It’s time to let the judge be the judge….
    …at the your child abuse trial.

  41. Pye Savage says:

    I’m trying to think of something appropriate to comment but the mayonnaise jar is lying broken in the middle of the kitchen floor, the dog is carrying around the cat again looking for a new hiding place,and the internet just diagnosed my daughter with Dengue Fever, the Kansas City SwampTrots, or some other vague malady.
    I’m very pleased to hear about Puff but what are you talking about, blowjobs not having anything to do with blowing?

  42. Harper Faulkner says:

    Shit! So many damn comments, I forgot what your post was about. Well, I certainly don’t want to reread it, so, I’ll just say, nice job, Mikalee (if that is indeed your real name). Keep up the good work. Such glad we’re blog buddies. I’ll be back to read more. Where do you get all these cute ideas? You’re really something, girlfriend. etc, etc, etc, HF

  43. critters and crayons (@critterscrayons) says:

    In case my last comments went to spam (which seems to happen with my wordpress account- drat)

    The pic of your 2.5 year old reminds me of my own- chubby cheeks that give way to slender faces too soon! But, I also remember Donny and Marie and my D&M Barbie Dolls that had to come out when the show was on that I watched with my parents. Just like my kids sit with me and watch American Idol. No dolls yet. Thank Goodness. 🙂

  44. salmart2 says:

    A couple of things come to mind: After a shopping trip with my eight year old, he picked a wallet with his last $10. But as he went to pay for it, he turned to me and said, ‘But if I buy the wallet, I’ll have nothing to put in it’… very cute..

    And years earlier, I was explaining about how we chose our sons names. And I said, ‘And then you were born & we called you Douglas’. And he answered.. ‘But how did you know it was ME??’

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      I totally agree. My kids keep me smiling every day I spend with them. Whether it’s their observations, fashion choices, expressions — doesn’t matter, they’re just adorable! Unless they’re not. Then they’re just NOT adorable… 😉

  45. Heather Michele says:

    I love that your daughter said, “But Mom, his name just sounds like the name of a baseball player…”

    When I was about 8 or 9, I used to tell my mom that certain people I saw had a “Tony nose.” What exactly is a “Tony nose”, you may ask? I can’t really describe it, but it’s just a very specifically shaped nose. To this day, I see people with them. 🙂

  46. Brandi Dupont says:

    This isn’t my story, but one of my friends; however, it was so funny when she told me I just have to share! When my friend was a child she asked her Grandpa why he was bald and he said his hair was blown off by a cannon in WW2. She literally believed him so when, in 7th grade, the teacher asked what causes male-patterned baldness, my friend promptly stood up and reported what happened to her Grandpa. Can you imagine that teacher’s face? 😉

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      That is HYSTERICAL! I can’t even imagine — but I can, however, relate. After all, my own 7th grader was the one who confused “Protestants” with “prostitutes.” In class. Again, imagine the poor, poor teacher…

      How come nothing like that ever happened to us in 7th grade, Brandi?

  47. Chuck Short says:

    When I was a child, I believed that the Jolly Green Giant was “The Thistle Man” and I was terrified by him. This was spurred on by the song, ♫ “THISTLE MAN… he played one, He played knick-knack on my thumb; Knick-knack paddywhack, Give a dog a bone, THISTLE MAN came rolling home”♫

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Hahahahaha! Oh, the image — the Jolly Green Giant “rolling” home — no wonder you were terrified!

      And now that you’ve made me aware of your version, I shall never sing it any other way…

  48. salmart2 says:

    Despite all the movies that scream dreams can come true, I reckon it was about aged 8 my boy realized he definitely wasn’t the right height and probably not the right ethnic background ( not to mention his lack of extraordinary ball skills) to make it for the LA Lakers.

    Before that he came to me one day all upset & when I asked him what was wrong he said he didn’t think our long surname would fit on the back of the LA singlet! So did I tell him not to be so silly, that everyone who WANTED to play for the Lakers couldn’t all fit in the team? Nope. We sat down & drew the singlet with our name easily fitting in it and he went to bed with the smile back on his face!!

  49. teeceecounsel says:

    Interesting! Children can be so ignorant and innocent! I remember a few embarassing incidents. I used to play with some unique balloons that came out from something similar to sweet wrappers. My innocense lasted long and my discovery that they were used for protection during certain activities made me really feel… What’s that feeling? I think I understand exactly what you mean!

  50. JDA says:

    OMG! That pic of you and your brother is the best ever. I spit out my diet pepsi – Seriously had to take a minute to mop up before going on. I can only hope to capture such a gem of my precious angels one day.

    Funny how the loss of those “deeply” held beliefs as a child can really stick with you. I remember literally knocking a spoonful of raw chocolate chip cookie dough out of my aunt’s hand and across the kitchen sure I was saving her from getting worms. After looking at me like I was nuts she asked, “Did your mother tell you that?”. Of course she had and as I turned to look at her (my mother) the truth was there on her face. I will never get over it. I think I was ten at the time. In fact it trumps Santa and the tooth fairy as the worst untruth ever told me as it was totally self serving, designed specifically to keep kids out of the cookie dough. – but don’t worry, I’ve made up for lost time in the cookie dough department.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      What makes this comment even funnier than it is (because it’s all kinds of funny all by itself) is the fact that as a mom myself, I can TOTALLY understand the desire to say something like that to your kids. However, she had to go there? Worms? That’s HORRIBLE!


      I’m glad you discovered the plot…because cookie dough is too precious a commodity NOT to enjoy.

      Thanks for sharing such an AWESOME story!

  51. gus3 says:

    1. For several years, I thought “twins” were brothers/sisters whose names rhymed, because my kindergarten class had twins named Jim and Tim. My parents were more than happy to let me believe this mis-truth. I have no idea why.

    2. N/A. Yeah, okay.

    3. I love “creative parenting.” Especially when the little darlings realize they’ve been totally PWN3D!!!!!11

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      This. Is. AWESOME!

      I love the idea that twins were siblings with rhyming names in your tiny little innocent mind. Love it!

      And yes, that’s some mighty “creative” parenting…

  52. tedstrutz says:

    Excellent post… Love the photo booth! And the oh-so-cute mini-you! In fact, the big-you is pretty cute too, although I don’t know about that shirt!

    Yes, I had to look up ‘Damnedest’ too, not that I didn’t trust you…

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Ha! You TOTALLY didn’t trust me — but that’s ok, because I really didn’t trust myself either…

      And many thanks for the kind words. Except you’re just not willing to admit it, but that shirt rocks. It’s that trust issue again.


  53. salmart2 says:

    I don’t want hog the spotlitght here, but I have got 2 very cute kids who did say — and, It turns out, BELIEVE — the damnedest things.

    You know how your finger tips go all wrinkly when you’ve been in the bath too long. Well my toddler son was driving along in the car with my father one day and he turned to him & said ‘Poppa you must have been doing a lot of swimming lately!’

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      That’s too funny! You know you’re always welcome to grab the mic here any ol’ time…no hogging perceived whatsoever.

      But I do have to wonder: What did poor pruney Poppa say in response?

  54. Heather Michele says:

    I’m sure you’ve been nominated a bazillion times, but I just wanted you to know how much I enjoy your blog. Soooo…being the sweet and thoughtful person I am, I nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award! See my page ( for the details). I know how busy you are, so my feelings won’t be hurt if you don’t follow the instructions…I promise! Just know that you are truly an inspiration to all of us!

  55. elysianhunter says:

    Ok, my mother learned sex-ed from nuns- and it showed- she had three kids in less than four years which is INSANE. My sisters and I were pretty much left to wander around outside a good deal of the time. Whenever Mom got stressed out – and Mom’s both bi-polar and OCD from hell so it was on a pretty regular basis- she would lock us out and turn up the TV to drown out my screams as I had the hell beaten out of me for my oldest sister’s sadistic entertainment. With this lack of adult supervision, not only did I get the hell beat out of me daily or more often, I was horrendously naive, at least until I was about 12 or so. I believed you could get preggers from French kissing. I also believed that boys had wieners because they “cut them off of the smart kids.” 🙂 There might actually be some truth in no wiener=more intelligent, but you never know.

    • Mikalee Byerman says:

      Wow — your comment left me angry, sad and laughing — all in the span of a few short sentences. That’s pretty crazy!

      I can’t even imagine how you got through all that, but I’m just glad that somewhere along the way, you learned about the wieners. Though you’re right, you never know: You may have had some crazy insights there…

      Thanks for that whole mix of emotions — all wrapped up in one concise comment!

  56. ~Sil in Corea says:

    Oh, the looks on you and your brother’s faces are truly saying “death imminent.” Talk about ‘deer in the headlights’!!! That’s your brother, for sure.

    I used to think there were beavers in the wall beside my parents’ bed. They had put up some sort of pressed-board to cover the wall (sort of sawdust and glue mixed) and its brand name was BeaverBoard ™.

  57. vandysnape says:

    Great post 🙂 I believed a lot of silly things when I was a kid. My sister had a knack of telling things that I easily believed all she said . This is gonna be really silly but once she told me if you flush yourself in the toilet you well get washed up in the Beach . Yeah… I believed that and many things 🙂 I was quite a naive kid 🙂

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