Kids Are Gross

Rare occasion. Griffin’s natural smile.

After watching The Book of Life, a cartoon with my children tonight, Jesse said that he was a Mexican. I corrected him by saying that he was not Mexican.

“But what am I Dad? he asked.

His grandpa responded, “AngloSaxon.” I tried to clarify by saying, “European American.”

He scrunched up his face in a squinched, inquisitive look and asked, “I’m a peeing American?”

“European American as in Europe.”

Then Griffin asked, “Dad, am I a peeing American?”

Sarahmay found the winter clothes and started putting them on.

Needless to say Ray and I had a hard time regaining our composure, but the boys thought that we were laughing about the “pee” joke. Why are little boys, and to an extent all little children, so attracted to potty humor?

This is a question that I have yet to answer; although, I have my theories. It must have something to do with the fact that everyone “poops” and “pees” but pretends not to notice this within the context of the general society. Little children must recognize that adults try to hush these things up by selectively ignoring the relative humor to be found in scatological processes. That being said, I’ve come to the personal conclusion that little kids are gross.


“Griffin, don’t pick your nose and then wipe it on the couch.”

“At least I didn’t eat it, dad”

He has a point. It seems that every child has to go through a period where nose-picking is a developmental necessity. Every child I have ever seen or tended at one time or another has to find out how far they can stick their finger up their nose. There are the single knucklers, the double knucklers (although it has to be painful), and the next-to-impossible, brain tickling, triple knucklers. What children search for up there for beyond the illusive multicolored booger, stretches my imagination and makes my nostrils hurt. I remember my uncle telling a story about a man who underwent a surgical procedure on his nasal cavities in his later years. When the procedure was done, the doctor showed the man a pencil top eraser that he had extracted. The man just said, “I put that up my nose in grade school about sixty years ago.” I guess children don’t just pick things out, they shove things in as well.

The car. That crazy traveling box of insanity. Yes, those are socks on Sarahmay’s hands.

No one is immune to this behavior. It must be a human trait that we either practice discreetly or flamboyantly. I am a school teacher by trade, and I have seen children, teenagers and adults pick their nose and ingest the contents when they thought no one was looking. Adults do this most often in their cars, which causes me to wonder why people think that when they are enclosed in portable glass, they think that they have privacy? Oh well! The truth is, children simply do not care where they excavate boogers from their nose.

I’m not pretending that my kids are perfect little cherubs. I love them but they are gross.

To be continued…

The State Fair: Five Heathens Amongst the Vulgar Crowd


Griffin, Jesse, and their cousin Jaxton. Little heathens in the heathen wagon.

“Daddy can’t drive, he can’t, because he will fly out the window and the car will blow up,” Sarahmay yells as I climb into the driver’s seat. That’s how the annual trip to the fair started. (I’m still not sure where she gets her inspiration for these comments about my driving. There is hope that I might avoid a future driving test with a decrepit DMV instructor. This evening when Sarah asked Sarahmay if she was excited to wear her backpack to school tomorrow she said, “No, I don’t want to go to school, because, because, because, because, I will fall and hit my noggin and my hand will hit and get a cut.” It’s got to be all of the tragedy she is exposed to in Disney films.)


Our state fair is a nice little fair as state fairs go. Compared to the enormous affairs of the East and Midwest, our fair is merely an excuse to go blow about one hundred bucks on food that will inch me toward that inevitable coronary. In fact, it’s the only reason I like to go (the food mind, not the coronary.)

Just trying to gauge the relative size of the Bimbo Burger. It’s nowhere near this big. But it’s enough to give Jesse second thoughts.


Typically, what happens at the fair is that we get sun burnt because the sun beats down on us all day, we become foot-sore from walking and standing on cement, we have full bellies but are hangry because we are malnourished with high blood pressure and dehydration, and the kids are unruly from being spoiled.  Our reactions to each other are standard responses to overindulgence and gluttony. (I can usually put down about 6 hand-dipped, deep-fried corndogs slathered in mustard in one go.)

This is not the experience that I wanted for me, my kids, or my wife. Once again, in the past, it has usually been me who is the problem. This year started differently. I wanted this to be a fun experience all the way through.

Sarah told the boys to clean their room in order to earn money for a surprise at the fair.  I’m not sure how other kids clean their rooms, but this is the way it usually goes in my family. The boys start stacking everything into piles of similar debris, like books, toys, broken things, sticks, legos (there usually aren’t piles of these, they remain where they are, deadly traps for unwary feet), cardboard scraps from Amazon boxes that were or are going to be the hyperdrive for the unfinished box-rocket that has been sitting in the corner of the room for two weeks or two months, and uncapped markers. Oh yes, and usually one or two of my tools for some reason.        {This should say Sarah’s tools, we are being truthful here right?}         (Just so you know, whenever you see the {}, that means Sarah has found a draft of my blog laying around unattended and has decided to “amend” the truth of it. She’s right by the way. They are her tools. Sometimes she lets me use them.)  They pile these things up and then shove them into the closet, (meaning Jesse only, Griffin has developed the fine art of looking like he is working.) Dust off hands, the job is done.

Then comes the parental inspection, but because we are ready to go ourselves, we let things slide more than normal. Sarahmay during this time has been dancing in her room, playing with her toys, avoiding her mother’s attempt to put some clothes on her, and singing her little nonsense songs.  What have I been doing? I’ve been cleaning the bathroom. It seemed like a good time to do it. (Actually, Sarah told me to clean it a week ago…two weeks ago…a month ago…that may be a blog post in an of itself. She said that I would not be going if the bathroom was not clean. I have been craving corn dogs and a Bimbo burger (see photo above) for about 6 months now, so the bathroom was cleaned.) Wash off hands, the job is done.


Griffin taking a swig of lemonade and immediately spitting it out.


As I drove to the fairgrounds, I observed that we’ve never been to the fair without a stroller. The stroller equals little children which also translates into diaper changes and other less than desirable duties, I made a silent cheer for joy.  But the stroller is also a means of legally tying up children. To compensate for its loss, Sarah borrowed a wagon from a friend for all of our junk and an extra kid or two.

We arrived at the fair and Sarah immediately teamed all of the kids with an adult buddy. We had my in-laws there and my wife’s sister and husband with their three boys as well. I remember looking around and thinking “we are on man-to-man defense six adults and six kids.” In my mind, the adults were out-matched if not out-classed.


Jesse is caught here in the middle of a joke. At the moment, we are resting from the long walks and constant standing.


My buddy was Jesse, which meant that I had to hold his hand or risk visiting the lost child booth. He didn’t mind being with me. He and his cousin Porter were the only kids allowed to roam with some semblance of freedom whereas the youngers were confined in the wagon or leashed.

The child leash is an interesting invention. We make it look more appealing by attaching a plush monkey or dog to it, but who are we kidding, it is as much a leash as the one I use on my dog. These leashes were designed by parents and not by single persons or trophy parents who only pose with their children for pictures and blog about how good they are at parenting.


The Jesse and Sarahmay petting a rabbit. You can see the leash Sarahmay is wearing.


Little children don’t ask before they wander off, and we are parents second and human beings first; therefore, we can become distracted. The child ends up missing and the next thing we are doing is checking the lost child booth. Sarah and I both know this happens (no, not with Jesse, at least not at the fair) because we have found several distraught children who have lost their parents. In order for this not to happen, Sarah wrote her phone number on Griffin’s arm in case he wandered. (I just found out that all of my kids had their phone numbers written on their arms. Maybe we should have written them a note that said “If I am lost, dial number.) I noticed this when I took him to the bathroom and tried not to erase one of the digits. (We hold our kids physically, tie them to leashes, and confine them in wagons and strollers knowing full well that any one of the kids could cause enough problems for someone else as much as they do for us and they would feel it a necessity to return them. It would be “The Ransom of Red Chief” all over again.)


This is the perfect device for Jesse. I think that I will talk to his teacher and see if we can install one in his classroom to help him focus. (For you bleeding hearts out there, Jesse applied this to himself of his own accord, he was pretending to be a sheep.)


The fair was full of the usual crowd of normal everyday people eating food that is not good for them and paying a lot of money for merchandise they really do not need. But that is most of the fun of the fair. I like to watch people. They seem so interesting to me. Most of them are there with their families and most of them seem to have a good time with them. That is really what going to the fair is all about. (Besides, if you go with our clan, you not only get what you buy, you get to try a little bit of everyone else’s as well.) As the Brazilians say “what does not kill you only makes you fatter.” This is true for the fair as well.


Sarahmay with a goat. She kissed it about 3 seconds after I took this.


To be honest, no one NEEDS an excuse to go to the fair. We all need to walk amongst the middling crowds and enjoy the fat of life, in people as well as food. So if you haven’t made it to the local fair this summer yet, gather up the family and take them to the fair. Just be sure to hold onto your kids…… or find them at the lost child booth.

By the way, the boys chose wooden swords as their surprises. They said I had to pick one out too. Griffing chose the bowie knife, Jesse the Dragon Slayer, and they chose the sword named King Arthur for me, of course.