On flying grannies, toilet tales and other perils of motherhood

snowicki@modbee.comMay 10, 2014 

In honor of Mother’s Day, which this year celebrates its 100th anniversary in the United States, we asked our readers to share some of their humorous moments with their children or fun memories of their moms. As the late Art Linkletter, who hosted a TV show in the 1950s and ’60s, said, “Kids say the darnedest things.” Life has changed immensely in the decades since then, but the things kids say and do still bring a grin and make your day brighter.

So find a comfy chair and be ready to chuckle as you enjoy Mother’s Day with some of the stories sent in by our readers:

Distressed that his school picture money was left at home, our fourth-grader, Logan, pleaded with the school secretaries for help. Hoping they could contact his mom and have her bring the money, they asked, “Does your mother work outside the home?” Logan replied, “Well, sometimes she mows the grass, but mostly she just folds clothes and cooks.”

– Tracy Pugh, Modesto

My mother-in-law, who lives in Utah, would visit us yearly. We would always go pick her up at the Sacramento airport and drop her back off after a weekly visit. When my daughter, Brooke, was 5 or 6, someone asked her where her grandma lived. She promptly said that her grandma lives at the airport!

– Kari Pintus, Modesto

My granddaughter, Kristin Halliday, went into the bathroom today to take a shower, and her 4-year-old son, Klayten, was standing on the rim of the toilet, peeing. She asked, “What the heck are you doing?” and he said, “Mom, that’s how the pros do it.” She asked, “What pros?” and he said, “The pro dirt bike riders.” Where he got that idea is anybody’s guess. He is a character.

– Janet Raley, Modesto

In 1986, my twin daughters were 2. We used cloth diapers, and there was a product you could buy called bluing. A couple of drops would make a load of diapers white. One day as I was doing chores, they found that bottle of bluing and proceeded to smear it on everything – carpet, blankets, bedding, toys, the walls and themselves. They smeared it all over their faces. After I calmed down from the initial shock, I grabbed a camera. I still have pictures of two blue smurfs, grinning from ear to ear. I was able to clean up the mess, but when I got to the walls nothing I tried would clean them. Then I reached for a can of oven cleaner and poof, like a miracle, it was gone.

– Patricia Clayton, Modesto

As a mom with five young children living in a two-bedroom, one-bath home and taking in children for day care and going to school at night, we were under very tight financial restraints. With this many little people, we had frequent toilet issues, and plumbers were frequent and expensive. Shortly after one plumber visit, one of the children announced the “potty” had a problem again. I asked each child if something accidentally had fallen into the toilet but got all negative replies, so I called the plumber back. As he was about to put in his big snake under the watchful eyes of the kids, my son, Rusty, asked, “Is he going to break my green truck?”

– Pat Dean, Sonora

There were six kids in our family living on a serviceman’s salary; times were tight. One thing we kids always wanted was a dog. Mother said we couldn't afford one. One week before Mother’s Day, all the kids got together and said if we want a dog, now is the time – a mother can’t give back a Mother’s Day present, right? So I went to the local feed store where they had puppies for sale. You paid for them by the pound; they actually put them on a scale. On Mother’s Day, we put her puppy in a basket and gave Mom that puppy. All she could say was, “Go, go!” But after a while, she grew to love her puppy and she named it “Go-Go.” That was the best Mother’s Day that I remember.

– Marnie Cain, Hughson

Many years ago, I picked up my son, Richie, from day care after I got off of work. As soon as we got home, I started dinner and Richie walked by with a limp, which I hadn’t noticed before. I asked him why he was limping – did he hurt himself at school? He looked up at me with a painful look, sucked in his breath as if in pain and reached down and put his hand on his leg. He said, “I think I have a bone in my leg.” I tried not to laugh and checked his leg. Finding nothing wrong, I suggested he rest his leg until dinner was ready. He limped off into the other room, and by dinnertime, it was all better.

– Barbara Hughes, Modesto

A couple of days before Mother’s Day many years ago, all five of my young children started coming down with the stomach flu. And then, right on Mother’s Day, they also started breaking out with chickenpox, even my 3-month-old baby. We lived in an old farmhouse with only one bathroom, so you can imagine what that day was like. In between doing loads of wash because of them throwing up, I was giving oatmeal baths to soothe their itching. My poor kids!

That afternoon, I sat on the porch in the sunshine to catch my breath. One of our farm dogs came and threw up on my foot. I was so exhausted, I just lost it. I started crying and yelling at the dog: “Get away from me! Don’t you know how tired I am of throw-up? We have 800 acres out here and you could have thrown up anywhere. Why did you have to throw up on my foot? Get out of here!” We still laugh about it. All my children are in their 30s and I’ve had nothing but wonderful Mother’s Days since that unbelievable one.

– Claire Mezzapesa, Turlock

Our son, John (then 4 or 5 years old), and my husband, George, were in the living room, and I was in the kitchen. George asked John to do something and John said, “You’re not in charge.” George said to me, “John thinks he is in charge. Will you tell him who is really in charge?” From the kitchen, I said, “We are both in charge.” John looked at his dad and said, “That’s right, Dad, me and mom!”

– Cathy Anderson, Modesto

I was raising four children by myself. One busy morning, everyone was getting ready for school and I was hurrying to get in the shower to get ready for work. As always, to save time, I did everything in the shower – shave, brush my teeth, etc. I grabbed my toothbrush, put the toothpaste on and got in. A couple of seconds later, I was yelling, “Yuck! Gross!” I had put Desitin (that thick white paste for diaper rash) on my toothbrush instead of toothpaste. Stuff beaded off my teeth all day long!

– Devi Jabola, Modesto

In 1982, the superintendent-principal of Columbia Elementary School, where my four children attended, was coming for dinner. I made a special dessert for our special guest – my grandmother’s chess pie. This version had a meringue topping. I beat the egg whites and formed perfectly pointed peaks that browned just right in the oven. When it came time to serve the dessert, I gasped when I saw the pie had lost its perky peaks; each one had been picked off.

I brought the pie to the table, and several young faces had that guilty look. Our guest, Dotte Francis, was always gracious and did not mind a bit. She was a mother herself and understood. Everyone enjoyed the pie, while we all had a good laugh about our little “slice of life.”

– Pam Clemensen, Modesto

Bee staff writer Sue Nowicki can be reached at snowicki@modbee.com or (209) 578-2012.

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