Not only did I get help washing the dishes, but my floor was cleaned too!


I love to learn. I have two degrees and, if it wasn’t for the ridiculously high costs of getting an education, I’d probably have a few more. The process of discovering something new and mastering a subject excites me. Right now my fixation is on learning the Spanish language. I have even considered packing up and moving to a Spanish-speaking country for a year or two just so I could become fluent. Then reality hits me and I go back to stuttering Spanglish mini phrases, much to the confusion of every one around me.  I also loved to teach. Yes, I was a dreaded math teacher.  I got to make a living by torturing students with algebraic equations and bopping them over the head with the Pythagorean theorem. It was a good time for me but probably not so much for my students. It is because of my experiences as a teacher and as a student that I can appreciate the fact that learning is not a simple process. Some people learn by seeing, some learn by listening, others learn by doing. The point is, the process of learning something new can be frustrating, even for adults. So why then, do we give children such little latitude when they spend the majority of their early years stuck in a constant state of learning?

You see, when a child is born, they are born with a clean slate. They know nothing. One minute they are floating around, having their favorite meals via the umbilical cord and the next, there are lights, strange faces, weird sounds, scary scissors and other mind-boggling torturous looking devices. I bet that all of that commotion, more than anything, is why you hear the first of many loud wails from the delivery room. And from that moment on, that baby is learning. As adults, it can be difficult for us to appreciate the fact that children are constanty learning at almost every moment of their young lives. We recognize the big milestones, their first smile, their first steps, their first successful potty moment, the first day of school, and even driving a car for the first time. What we sometimes forget are the less popular learning moments; the times where our children learn the true use for an item that we take for granted. I’ve watched my children take an item that I felt had a simple purpose and put an entirely different spin on how to use it. And after years of being a parent, I am still amazed at the misconceptions that my children have on how to correctly use products that we adults mindlessly use every day. Here are ten of the many misconceptions my children have had about an object that we adults usually take for granted.


1. THE TOOTHBRUSH.  Let me start by saying that I am not big on taking baths. To me, showers get the job done a lot faster and without the fuss of running bath water and then having to share it with little ones who don’t know the difference between water that you get clean in and water that you pee in. So it was just by chance that I was lounging in my bathtub when Isaiah ran into my bathroom, grabbed my toothbrush and began his version of a pretty awesome drum cadence. The problem? He was using my toothbrush as the drumstick and the TOILET as the drum! What the heck! I was shocked and disgusted that my child would do that to me. But did he even know what he was doing? Did he understand that naked bottoms did their business on that seat and he was essentially rubbing remnants of that business all over an item that was to go into his precious mother’s mouth? Of course he didn’t! He was too busy having a child-like innocent moment that would lead to gross destruction of many white blood cells near and around my oral cavity. I promptly threw that toothbrush away and gently* explained to my son that toothbrushes are NOT to be banged on the toilet seat. But as he ran off, blissfully unaware of the yuck factor of that moment, I was left to wonder how many other drum solos he had performed when I wasn’t in the room.

2. POSTAGE STAMPS. It is amazing how we adults set our children up to misunderstand something and then act surprised when they do what we have taught them it was okay to do all along. Such was the case when Jacqueline got ahold of her father’s self-adhesive postage stamps. She was only five years old but she had been bombarded with stickers of all kinds since she was a wee little one. So when my husband began searching frantically for his stamps, I had a sick feeling in my stomach that proved to be a forewarning of what was yet to come. We found his postage stamps. Daddy’s little girl was sticking them all over the living room wall. My husband went…wait for it…POSTAL! (Sorry but there was no way I could go without saying that.) He was desperately trying to peel away the stamps while ranting about money being stuck to his wall and the inability to now mail out bills that were of high importance such as the mortgage. My daughter stood there, confused at the words coming out of her father’s mouth and trying to figure out why her daddy was ruining her sticker montage. This was also the moment that my husband eagerly embraced the concept of online banking.

3. PERFUME. As an experienced mom, I should have known that Jace did not fully understand how to properly use the little bottle of perfume he had swiped from his sister’s room. But, I took for granted that my 2-year-old knew that the liquid in that bright red bottle was used to scent the skin. So when he stuck his hand out for me to spray it, I obliged. And to my horror, he immediately stuck out his tongue and gave his hand a big lick. I mean really, as a lover of ice cream cones, I can appreciate the big lick, but that was just ridiculous. It was also evident that he’d had an agenda for that perfume and it had NOTHING at all to do with smelling it. But once Jace got a good taste of what I had sprayed on his hand, his face contorted into a look of pure disgust as he began to spit and sputter. “Yuck!! Yuck Mommy!” he yelled as he gave me an accusatory look. I didn’t know what to say. Somehow I was sure this whole incident was my fault. Maybe i should have seen this coming, I don’t know. But from the mean looks my son kept throwing my way, he certainly wasn’t taking any responsibility for the disgust he was feeling at that moment. However, it wasn’t too long before he was running off to find something else inappropriate to ingest. And in his wake, I was left to wallow in the fact that I should have known better.

4. APPLE. As a young mother in my first new apartment, I frantically tried to find ways to keep everything nice and clean. It was that motivation that lead me to ban all crayons and markers from our home. Forget creativity! I was not going to have my children writing on the pretty white walls. Unfortunately, I didn’t account for the fact that Jacqueline was a creative toddler. So I was shocked and dismayed when she took the bright red apple she was eating and wrote all over my walls with it. There she was, grinning from ear to ear at her crimson creation, while still chomping on the now paint-encrusted fruit. I almost had a heart attack! I was never able to get those red stains off of that wall. I was also unable to get my security deposit back when we moved.

5. BABY POWDER. I love baby powder. I love the scent, the feel, everything about it. Unfortunately I haven’t purchased any baby powder for at least 2 years. Why? Because of Isaiah Otey. I guess I should take the blame for leaving him in the room, alone, with a substance that I never thought he’d touch. But when I came upstairs, what I found was a make-believe winter wonderland. Oh yes, the entire room was filled with blowing powder. There was powder ev-er-y where. Powder in the air, powder all over the floor, powder on my furniture, and powder covering my son’s entire body. He looked as if he were staring in a live action version of Casper the baby-fresh ghost. I was livid! We actually had to use a fan to blow the powder out of the room. That fan never worked after that night and I never bought another powder product into my home.

6. NAIL POLISH. Jacqueline is a girly girl. I am not. So I know I have had a bit of confusion when it comes to using beauty products. However I am pretty sure that nail polish is supposed to be applied to your finger nails or maybe even your toe nails. Some people even use it to stop a run from spreading in their panty hose. Nifty huh? Well, leave it to Jacqueline to find yet another use. I caught this child taking my clear nail polish and painting it all over her lips! There she was, her lips puckered up and pouty, just as glossy as glass. I screamed, I yelled, I berated myself for leaving the polish out in the first place. And through it all, my daughter just looked confused. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t use fingernail polish remover on her mouth. So, she just walked around with bright shiny Hollywood lips until the polish wore off. Thank God the polish wasn’t red. I didn’t want to have to explain why my child looked like the Joker instead of a beautiful three-year-old little girl.

7. DISHWASHER. Ah, the dishwasher. It’s a lovely invention. I don’t believe in washing dishes unless I am loading or unloading this nifty little product. And Isaiah had been watching me use the dishwasher long enough to know how the process works. So when my son decided to be a big helper and wash the dishes for me, he knew just what to do. He piled the dishes inside, filled the little box with soap and pushed the button. Presto! The dishes are washing and…there is soap ALL OVER THE KITCHEN FLOOR! Poor Isaiah. He was heartbroken. He had no clue that the dishwasher took special soap. I could tell by the crushed look on his face that he was really trying to help. I wasn’t happy about this one but I hugged him just the same. At least he tried.

8. FREEZER. I love frozen vegetables. It’s a dream come true for me as a mother to come home from work, pop a bag of frozen veggies in the microwave and TA DA, health food without the fuss. But one day I opened my freezer and nearly jumped out of my skin. The kids came running at the sound of my screams. What was it that had me so freaked out? I am ashamed to admit that it was a pillow. Not just any pillow but a beady-eyed little Hello Kitty pillow that Jacqueline had stuck in my freezer.

Yeah, this kitty may LOOK innocent but...I don't trust those beady little eyes!

Apparently she felt that if it got cold enough it would soothe her back muscles (WTF moment). All I’m saying is, I wasn’t expecting to see something STARING at me when I opened that freezer door. It just as well could have been a rat looking out at me. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

9.  ICE TRAYS. If you’ve checked out my “About Me” page, you know that I am a penny pincher. So when my ice maker went out on my refrigerator, I rejected the idea of paying hundreds of dollars to repair the device. What I decided to do instead was purchase a few ice trays from the local dollar store and call it a day. It had been years since I’d used trays but they make ice just fine, for pennies on the dollar. What I didn’t realize is that my children had NEVER seen an ice tray! So I innocently asked AJ to fix me a cup of ice water and to use the ice trays in the freezer to get the ice. The ensuing ruckus had me running to the kitchen in a state of panic. Once there, I found my teenage son, literally banging the trays against the counter over and over again. When I asked him what he was doing he stared at me, dazed and confused, and muttered in frustration ”I’m trying to get the ice out Mom!” I couldn’t believe it. I mean, how did this happen? Am I old? Am I antiquated? These children have never seen or used an ice tray before? Good grief! The things they don’t teach you in school! I had to take the ice tray from him, twist them, and he watched the ice pop out in amazement. This led to stories of when I was growing up, using ice trays instead of an ice machine, and living to tell about it. You would think I milked cows or herded goat for pennies as a child. To my son, this experience was definitely in the same realm.

10. MORE POWDER. Look, I am a truth teller. I over share. I get it, and I can’t help it. So if you are fragile, please skip this number, because I’m going to use the word VAGINAL, as in vaginal powder. Oh yes, I buy vaginal powder. Well, I used to. Hey, we all like to be fresh right? (If you say no  to that question, please stop reading and go double-check your scent down below.) Well, I had a big ole container of some fresh-scented, vaginal pick-me-up powder. So, when it came up missing, I went on a manhunt. It didn’t take me long to find the culprit. It was Jacqueline, again, the beauty-product thief. This time she had swiped my Summer’s Eve and had used it all…over…her…body. Oh my baby had vaginal powder under her arms, all over her chest, her back, even her face. She smelled like an entire field of  happy-go-lucky, white pants wearing, jogging women. This time she was a bit older and I had the pleasure of telling her what she had just smeared all over her body. Yeah, it freaked her out, but I got a good laugh from this. Sometimes free entertainment is all you are going to get as a parent. And who knows, maybe an executive somewhere will read this and decide to re-think their commercial advertising. It’s a stretch but you never know…

* By “gently” I mean that I yelled until veins bulged out of my neck.

Have a mis-KID-ception story? Leave a comment and tell us all about it!

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