Out of the mouths of babies

SHORTLY after legislation was passed in 2002 that allowed same-sex couples in England and Wales to adopt kids, a friend asked me whether I had ever considered adopting.
‘No,’ I replied, ‘I don’t have a paternal bone in my body, and, to be honest, I’d be a terrible dad.’

Pressed further, I explained that, having been a dreadfully unruly child and a delinquent in adolescence, I simply didn’t possess the skills to raise a kid. If I tried, the result would be a troublesome mini-me.

I then recalled several instances of how I proved an embarrassment to my parents. One occurred during a family Sunday lunch, with grandma and grandad and several uncles and aunts in attendance. I was around five at the time. The radio was playing softly in the background, and when Eddie Fisher came on with his 1952 hit ‘Lady of Spain’ I started to sing along loudly, but with words that were never recorded.

‘Lady of Spain I adore you, let me lift up your frock and explore you,’ I let loose in a loud falsetto. Everyone around the table froze, and mum ordered me into the kitchen to finish my meal. I refused to budge, demanding to know what I’d done wrong. When she said that I’d sung something ‘filthy’ I pointed at dad and said ‘well, he sings that all the time.’ Father turned beetroot red when everyone turned to fix him with looks that could kill.

But if medals were awarded for embarrassing outbursts, my cousin Russell would have won gold for his observation at a zoo. He and I and my uncle Gerald were gazing into a cage of chimps when one became visibly aroused. ‘Look, Barry,’ shrieked Russell, that monkey’s got a ding-dong just like daddy’s!’
Russell was also an incurable prankster who once emptied an entire container of Eno’s effervescent fruit salt in my baby sister’s potty. When she shot off the fizzing pot with an ear-piercing scream both he and I rolled around on the floor with tears of laughter running down our cheeks.
For years, parents have posted examples on various Internet sites and in chatrooms of their kids saying funny or embarrassing things. But since COVID-19 lockdowns were introduced – forcing parents to spend more time with their little angels than ever before – the number of posts has skyrocketed.

One site, Bored Panda, has some wonderful examples. Here are three:

• Four-year-old to daddy ‘can we get a kitten’. Dad: ‘I’m allergic. We can’t be in the same house.’ The kid replies: ‘You could sleep outside’.

• ‘Yesterday my three-year-old told his grandma that he wasn’t in an old photo because he was still swimming in his daddy’s balls.’

• My seven-year-old just said ‘I’d like to go to heaven but you can’t smoke weed there.’

Recently Bored Panda took things in a new direction by inviting readers to submit photographs showing what quarantined life is like for parents having to work at home while surrounded by their kids.
Parents responded in their droves and the results are hilarious, as the two photos I chose for this piece, show. (Check out the others here: https://tinyurl.com/ro2aha4).

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Barry Duke