As a parent of so many kids from so many walks of life, I am a huge fan of the comic strip Zits, by Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman. One particular strip featured the 15-year-old boy, Jeremy Duncan, in a variety of perplexing situations, leaving his mother completely flummoxed at the end of the day. Things like taking pictures of his underarm hair, tattooing hair onto his chest with permanent marker and sunbathing on the roof in his boxers.
I completely identify with that mom. I have had kids say and do some of the most peculiar things — not only my biological children, but any of the more than 50 foster sons and daughters I've helped raise — things that left me teetering on the edge of my sanity and questioning why I didn't remain single and raise cats.
Among the really funny and strange things I've seen and heard:
One daughter opened a story book and put it on her head, spun up at a 90 degree angle and opened her mouth into a perfect circle. She asked if I knew what she was. Yes. She was a bird house.
One daughter announced her mother's pregnancy to an entire class before her parents had told anyone. I don't want to know how she knew.
One son enjoyed spitting into the air and then catching it in his mouth.
A son also spit into the water to watch fish come and eat the spit.
Two daughters emptied the contents of their bedroom (clothes, toys, books, shoes, bed linens) out the bedroom window into the driveway below. It was a long evening with much wailing and gnashing of teeth until everything was put back into place by them.
One son playfully mooned his ecclesiastical leaders at an amusement park on a youth trip.
A 5-year-old and friend going through the birthing process in my hallway, replete with loud screaming labor pains. As I have never given birth at home, I have no idea where all these details came from.
One son went through a phase interjecting "izz" in the middle of all words when he spoke. I'm tizzired. I'm going to bizzed.
A 4-year-old vividly describing a place she had never been. Colors. Landscaping. House numbers. Streets.
One daughter wore only polyester disco clothes she had obtained from the thrift shop for about a year. It was the 1990s.
A son taught a 2-year-old to say "dominus" after every sermon at church.
One daughter explained to her younger sister how she was adopted from the Flying Wallendas, a circus trapeze act.
A daughter made a brew out of red dogwood berries and explained to a younger sister that if she drank it, she could fly. Syrup of Ipecac on the house for everyone! Cheers!
One daughter ate a large bowl of M & M's put out for guests by herself. She talked out loud all night long in a sugar-induced drunken state.
A toddler removed her diaper in her crib and painted the walls with its contents. Colorful since she had eaten beets the night before.
A son chasing cars down the road barking at them.
One son, on a 1,000 mile trip, recorded his own burps and then played it back to the amusement of other siblings in the car.
One sister liked to terrify her younger brother by tormenting him with bugs. He got retribution by calling her Gravy Train. She cried. Really? Gravy Train?
One son, after two years of high school German could only say, "Is that a jelly donut in your pocket?"
A daughter, after only two years of private violin lessons, can play exquisitely with her toes. Toes on one foot hold bow. Toes on other foot play chords. Yes. I'm so proud. I also have video.
A son was sent home from school suspended for having nun chucks in his car. He couldn't understand why. He didn't consider them a weapon.
Daughters blended all their shampoos, conditioners, body scrubs body washes and hand and body lotions into one container, inventing a new product that does it all.
Once, children, who all pointed fingers at one another as the culprit, painted the dog with catsup and mustard at a roadside picnic on a long trip.
A daughter who had previously colored her hair and so had a patch of new growth down the middle of her head, went to a slumber party where they bleached her hair. The bleach took to the new hair, but left the rest colored with the previous black dye. She looked like a skunk. Two hairdressers, six hours, and three processes later, she was a spiky redhead.
Another daughter had slumber party and she and her friends lined up at the door of the galley kitchen, shook up cans of soda and had a contest to see who could shoot the farthest. She won a full weekend of scrubbing and mopping.
A son placed plastic wrap over the toilet seat so that a midnight run ended in a wet yellow bathroom floor.
One daughter brought home a newly released prisoner she had met and made friends with (she was 16 at the time and the con was a very nice woman).
A daughter heard pepper made you sneeze, so she picked up the shaker, put it to her nose, and sniffed deeply. She cried for hours.
One daughter lied about her age and got job as a lifeguard at a hotel pool. She was 14. Said she was 16.
I have to stop now and maybe find some anxiety medication. In all seriousness, children do and say strange things. They are amazing creatures and I wouldn't have traded one moment I spent mothering them. After reading this, I think you should go and give your kids a real big hug and thank them for being "normal" whatever that is.