Long ago a guy named Art Linkletter had a TV show that featured a segment called, “Kids Say the Darnedest Things.” He was a low key guy, a friendly sort, and he just talked to kids and listened to what they had to say. It was a good bit. All he had to do was turn on the machine, chat up the kids, and edit the tape. And you know what? Kids DO say the darnedest things, still.
My life intersects with a lot of young families with small children. This is a wonderful thing. I really like kids. Children, especially the newly-mobile, semi-verbal kind that we know as “toddlers,” are remarkable creatures, full of wonder and excitement at a world in which literally everything is new to them. Their sincere attempts to understand their new worlds can be funny, poignant, amazing, shocking, or any combination of the above.
I heard a great story while I was in California. One of the toddlers that I know pretty well lives in a family that was quite active in electing Barack Obama president. The little guy had actually been baby-strollered around while his mom rang doorbells stumping for Obama in California and Nevada. The family was delighted that he won, and continues to follow his exploits in detail.
So after the State Of The Union message, this toddler boy is talking to Annie, a significant adult other, and he patiently explains that, “mommy, (big brother’s name), (toddler’s own name), and Annie love President Obama.” Right so far little man. Then a cloud crossed his face and he went on, “but who loves Joe Biden?”
His family had watched the speech and he’d asked his parents, who’s that guy sitting behind President Obama? He liked the guy, nice smile, red tie. “That’s Joe Biden,” said his mom, without much explanation. He had thought about it and he decided that this Joe Biden guy seemed loveable enough, why was he seemingly outside the circle of love? He found the whole thing so upsetting that he thought he’d ask Annie about it.
Annie informed him that Joe Biden was the Vice President and that she did indeed love Joe Biden too, and that his mother and his brother loved him as well. “Oh,” he said, “mommy, (big brother’s name), (toddler’s own name), and Annie love Joe Biden.” He seemed relieved. “President Obama wears a blue tie,” he concluded, “Joe Biden wears a red tie.” So now the whole thing made sense.