Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

What did you say?

One of my 9th graders is known as having a teddy bear personality. Everyone says so. You don't have to spend a lot of time with him to know that this is true. He loves everyone and everyone loves him. Not much gets him down and he is very easy-going. He's never said a mean word to anyone. He aims to please and he is always kind and thoughtful. He takes after his father.

Earlier this school year a teacher, who has never even had him in class (didn't even know how to spell his name in her communications), said some hurtful and mean things about him. She accused him of lying and of being the kind of student who purposely chooses to ignore work. Needless to say, we were all flabbergasted since any of his teachers, friends, and family members can tell you that none of this is true of him at all. In the end we just agreed to disagree and prayed that her words wouldn't take root. Because nothing could be farther from the truth.

He stumped me the other day when he came home and said he needed some ideas for an English class writing assignment. He said he needed to write about a time when he acted out of pride or was cruel. An interesting assignment to be sure. The problem was that we couldn't think of a time when he was prideful or cruel. I'm sure it has happened, it's just so rare with him that we were downright perplexed.

Finally, I had it. The only problem was that he was 3 or 4 at the time but since the teacher didn't have a statute of limitations, it was just going to have to do. And he wasn't exactly prideful or cruel but you work with what you've got, right? Besides, when you're that young you really can't remember so he could add whatever details he wanted for his assignment.

He was, at the time, the youngest child in the home. You know how it goes, you're very careful about what the first child eats, and plays with, and watches but by the fourth child, well, it's just a bit more lenient. Besides, it's more difficult to keep the little one away when the older kids are watching a movie or playing with something that would earlier have been off limits. But sometimes this doesn't work out so well.

Around the age of 3, this child was being reprimanded by The Good Doctor for something that he had done. He was very quiet and solemn while Dad was talking to him but in the middle of The Good Doctor's rant, this child looked him straight in the eye and blurted, "You idiot!" With emphasis. Inflection. The real deal. He meant every word. Except that he had no idea what he had really said and the meaning behind who it was spoken to.

The proverbial pin was heard dropping from somewhere at the other end of the house. Maybe even the end of the block.

I was behind The Good Doctor when this occurred and had to leave the room before the toddler heard the gales of laughter coming from my mouth.

What? Isn't that what you would have done? Okay. Maybe not. But remember, laughter is how I get through most things in life.

The Good Doctor followed me out of the room leaving the child standing on the steps wondering exactly what had just happened and how he had cleared the room so quickly.

Once we got over our surprise and I got over the giggles, he was told that his was an inappropriate phrase to say to anyone, especially a parent. But we decided that there was no way he had come up with that on his own; he must have heard it somewhere.

So we gathered the three older children and asked them where the youngest might have heard such a phrase.

"Oh, that's easy," the eldest announced, "We were watching 101 Dalmatians the other day and that's what Cruella deVille calls her sidekicks."

Ah ha. We knew there had to be a source!

Problem solved. Assignment done. Easy peasy.

Except that he chose instead to write about the time our family auditioned for that TV show with the three judges.  He said he realized that it didn't have to be a case of pride in the negative sense, but could be a time when you were proud of your accomplishments.

I still think the idiot story is better.


  1. The things we remember.
    The things we don't.
    The assigned writing prompts that connect with the writer. The ones that cause the whole family to ponder!

    1. I was kind of sad that he decided to write about something different. I was looking forward to reading his account and comparing it to my memory of the event.

  2. Well, that was an interesting assignment. Glad he got it all worked out. So funny the expressions kids pick up when they're young.