Stupidity, The Bane of All Parents

When it comes to parenting pet peeves, one thing most parents can’t stand is stupidity in children.

I’m not talking about the usual brainless things that happen around the house that you EXPECT with children, things like spilled milk, kids lolling all over the sofa instead of sitting like regular human beings, clothes that never make it two feet to the hamper, and a myriad of half-baked chores that never quite get done; things you have to stand over children and cite the obvious, repeatedly, all so they can ignore you and continue on in blissful ignorance.

I’m talking about DUMB things…like walking through the house with a plastic bat whacking yourself in the head over and over and over. That’s my one year old. (Bonk!) “Ow.” (Bonk!) “Ow.” (Bonk!) “Ow.” I have to take the bat away before he gives himself a concussion.

What about hurrying up to get ahead of your mom or dad in the hallway just so you can slow down to a crawl and get tripped over?

Or following so closely BEHIND Mom that when she stops, you find yourself back in the womb?

How about walking into walls? Why do kids do that? “Bibble bibble bobble boo,” they babble and ‘bonk!’ into the wall they go. And they don’t even cry. It’s just ‘bonk!’ and repeat and then change course like one of those battery operated cars they make for kids these days…and all the while they keep on babbling.

Ever notice that? When you EXPECT your kids to get hurt, they don’t. You watch your kids play at the park. They fall off slides, out of trees, off the jungle gym. They run into walls and signs posts. They get up and start running and do it all over again. Then they walk two feet and trip and here come the waterworks. What does this tell us? That science is wrong about physics? No, it tells us that kids are, well, sometimes complete idiots.

And the reason that parents hate this is because odds are somebody is going to think our children take right after us. Am I right?

Like somebody is out there thinking, “Man, I bet that mom just loves going around the house whacking herself in the head with a blunt object.”

Well, actually I do. I’m having one of those days today. All anybody seems to be able to do is whine. There are NO WORDS! It’s just whiiii-iii-iiii-ne about this and that and everything in between. WHY????? I don’t know! (Bonk, bonk, bonk!)

Here’s one. If you put your finger in the cat’s mouth, it will get bitten. That’s a no-brainer! And yet the same child will put the same finger in the cat’s mouth three times more immediately after getting bitten…and cry about it!

“Momma, it hurts when I do this!”

“Then, don’t DO that!”

What about walking on sidewalks? My kids (all five of them) can’t walk on a sidewalk to save their lives without tripping into somebody’s garden or falling into the street. And THREE of my children are older than seven years!

I’m SURE that the neighbors are thinking, “Man, idiocy just RUNS in that family! What kind of person CAN’T walk down a sidewalk?” And here we are, a whole family, putting on a prime show for those behind-the-curtain-peeping neighbors.

So I’m sitting with my foot on ice today because I fell off the sidewalk on the way to the mailbox this morning… and I’m thinking about a parent’s fear of stupidity and getting labeled as such.

Bumps and bruises are like nicks and scrapes on any inanimate object. If you treat your property that way, it shows you don’t care. And when it comes to kids, if they end up with all these bumps and bruises, we must be doing something wrong!

But we aren’t. And we can’t stop them.

The best we can do is buy some kneepads and helmets hoping we’ll help our kids escape the Darwin effect… so they don’t kill themselves walking down the hall.

And when they reach the age of twenty-five we can congratulate ourselves because our kids SURVIVED childhood.

Now pass me a cookie because my foot is really throbbing!

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  • cmacri

    I too feel like bonking my head with a whiffle ball bat. Stupidity seems to have increased exponentially with the onset of puberty. After discovering water leaking through the kitchen ceiling this morning, this article was very appropriate. This is the conversation I had with my teenage daughter this morning:

    “So what happened with the toilet?”

    “Well it was clogged and really full, but I only had to go a little bit and then by reflex I flushed. But I cleaned it up.”

    “And what were you planning on doing with that pile of towels in the bathtub?”

    “Well, I was just going to let them dry out a little.”

    “And then what?”

    “Hange them on the line I guess.”

    “And then what?”

    “I dunno, what?’

    “They were used to clean up toilet water – they need to be washed!”

    “I thought it was just clogged with toilet paper from the baby playing or something.”

    “Did you use the toilet?”

    “It was only a little”

    etc, etc, etc


  • Cooky642

    Thanks for this reminder of what life USED to be like when the children–and then the grandchildren!–were little.

    I have adamantly claimed for nearly a lifetime that one can learn a great deal about our relationship with God by observing small children and domesticated animals. This article (and “cmacri”‘s response) gave me an idea. I’m going to take this article to my pastor and suggest that, for a month, he handle every penitent in confession thusly:

    “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. I blah, blah, and blah.”

    “Tell me: did that hurt when you did that?”

    “Yes, Father.”

    “Then, STOP DOING THAT!!!”