There’s nothing special about my kids.
My kids are not the smartest kids. They weren’t born with those type of genetics. They are not athletic because the lazy gene runs strong in my family. They also know how to awkward dance and they don’t play instruments. I’m really killing the gene pool.
They’re also not the prettiest kids. I mean, they’re the prettiest to me but probably not to you.
“There is only one pretty child in the world and every mother has it.” Yeah, that’s it – the Chinese Proverb. That is why I don’t bombard you with pictures of my kids all over the Internet. I know my pretty kids are not your pretty kids. I don’t want to bore you.
I’m rambling. I’ll stop. I had a point here.
Ah, yes. The only thing special about my kids is that they’re funny.
Emma was two years old when I discovered the brilliantness spewing from her pretty mouth. Emma said something funny. I can’t remember what she said but I remember my response.
Me: Oh Emma, you’re such a comedian.
Emma: I don’t change colors, mommy!
I stared at her. I didn’t get it. I don’t change colors, mommy.
Emma stared back at me and laughed. She looked at her arm. She lifted her shirt and looked at her tummy.
Emma: I don’t change colors, mommy!
I got it. A chameleon! Emma thought I called her a chameleon – the reptile that changes colors. She didn’t know what a comedian was.
But I did. I gave birth to a comedian. She’s been spitting out solid gold for the past 8 years.
The difference between my funny kids and everyone else’s funny kids is nothing. My kids were not made from the loins of two stand-up comedians or even one stand-up comedian. I just happen to write about my kids on a public blog. The secret to writing about funny kids: it’s an art.
It’s like photoshopping kids’ words.
I call it Oh Emma, Oh Kate. It’s a series of posts of the funny things my kids say. They can be a one-liner or a short conversation. I have over 75 Oh Emma, Oh Kate posts. I’m guessing approximately 20 quotes per post for a grand total of 1,500 quotes since 2010. You can read the most current Oh Emma, Oh Kate here and work your way back.
It’s not easy collecting them. It takes work and discipline. The result is worth it. I remembered the chameleon quote but I don’t remember anything else I wrote down when I go back and read old quotes I grabbed. I don’t even remember last week’s post. It’s like reading my kids’ quotes for the first time.
And that’s how I know they’re funny.
Your kids are funny too. I wrote a list to help parents start collecting quotes either for themselves or for publishing on social media. I’ve been publishing these for 6 years. My ears are always listening.
Your ears should be listening too.
Listen. Listen to your kids when they’re in the other room. Listen when they’re in the car. Always keep an ear out to what they’re saying. They say the best things when they don’t think you’re listening. It’s better if you hide and watch them slightly panic when they realize you’re gone. Don’t worry, they’ll always find you.
Talk. It’s ok to prompt them for a funny quote. Start a conversation about their opinion on, oh I don’t know, Trump vs. Clinton.
Write it down. This might be the most important and most difficult to do. You will not remember what your kid said from the day. You won’t remember what they said ten minutes later. I realize I said my kids are not smart because of their genetics but I have a great memory. I promise you – you will forget. You will only remember that they said something funny but you won’t remember what. Trust me. I have to write it down as soon as I hear it. I write down quotes in the notes app in my phone. If I’m in the car or in a situation I can’t use my phone, I will repeat the few words in my head until I can write it down. You can also send them to me and I’ll screenshot them for later use.
Always end quotes with the kid. This might apply more towards publishing humor. Any parent that publishes their kids’ quote to Facebook or Twitter is in publishing. The humor is the kids. Let the kids have the last word. Do not end the conversation with your comment or reaction. Let the reader feel your reaction for themselves.
4-year-olds are the best age. I wish I could send my kids back to age 4 for their quotes but then I remember I don’t like meltdowns either. My kids are 7 and 10. They still say funny things although it’s not as innocent as a 4-year-old. I still say funny things at 34 and I wish someone would write them down for me. Every age is a different era. School-age kids can be just as funny.
Use a two-laugh minimum. If I laughed out loud the first time, I write it down. When I read it later, after I forgot, and I laugh again – it’s probably good enough to publish and will make others laugh. I have deleted many things that felt like you-had-to-be-there.
Write how the kids talk. Tom Sawyer was a genius for writing Huck Finn in 1st person. It allowed him to write Huck’s distinctive, youthful voice. Your kids have a voice. They don’t speak perfect grammar and neither do you. Or me. Look at me. Writing all these half ass sentences. My English teachers are cringing.
Then again, maybe Scott and I are the only ones that laugh at our kids. All I know is how to save the humor like a photograph of a pretty kid.