Children do say the darndest things!

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 5, 1999

It’s one of my mother’s favorite stories – guaranteed to bring a blush to her daughter’s face and a laugh, or two, from the listener.

With her typical flair for the dramatic, Mother sets the scene: a precocious 7-year-old sits quietly through dinner, playing with the food on her plate and unable to eat.

Afterwards, as the family relaxes in the living room, the parents ask their youngest daughter about her day at school.

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&uot;OK,&uot; she mumbles, turning her face away.

&uot;Aren’t you taking those special tests now?&uot; her mother asks, referring to the annual standardized tests the students had started taking that day.

&uot;Uh-huh,&uot; the child answers, fidgeting even more.

&uot;Well, how did you do today?&uot; her mother asks, fishing for information. &uot;Did you know the answers to all those questions? I’ll bet you did.&uot;

The red-faced youngster looks up at her parents and her eyes fill with tears.

&uot;I failed,&uot; she wails, shaking as the tears begin to flow. &uot;I failed it on the first page I, I … I got an an F … in ‘sex’.&uot;

While it may not be wisdom, or even wit, it is true – and for parents, educators or anyone else lucky enough to spend more than a couple of days in the presence of a curious child, it’s the type of memorable utterance that defines the charm of childhood.

There’s a saying that children say the darndest things, and two authors from New York have taken that to heart, compiling a book of favorite anectdotes collected from friends, colleagues, even Intenet sites. Entitled &uot;I’m Afraid of the Vampire State Building,&uot; the book is filled with delightful examples of &uot;wit and wisdom from the two-to-seven set.&uot;

And, as always, there’s more than a little truth coming from the mouths of babes:

* Three-year-old Carried told her mother, &uot;We went swimming in the little pools at school today.&uot;

&uot;You did?&uot; asked her surprised mother. &uot;Did the boys and girls swim together?&uot;

&uot;I don’t know,&uot; Carrie replied. &uot;We didn’t have any bathing suits on.&uot;

* Five-year-old Mark was watching a television sho that was almost over. He turned to his mother and asked, &uot;Mommy, if the world ended, would they roll the credits of everybody who ever lived?&uot;

* One Christmas morning, 3-year-old Wendy looked under the tree and exclaimed, &uot;Mommy, look! Santa Claus has the same wrapping paper we have.&uot;

* The mother of 4-year-old Adam was having a large dinner party when suddenly her son burst into the dining room in bare feet. &uot;Ow, ow,&uot; he yelled at the top of his lungs. &uot;Mom, I stepped on an old piece of food – again.&uot;

* A mother and her 3-year-old daughter Megan were at a library desk checking out books. As the mother shuffled through her wallet looking for her library card, Megan asked, &uot;Are we going to buy them?&uot;

Her mother said no, and handed her card to the librarian.

&uot;Oh,&uot; Megan said knowingly. &uot;We’re charging them.&uot;

Graning is editor of The Democrat.