Funny Kids Last Week

Josie Leavitt - December 12, 2016

In this hectic retail season, there have been wonderful moments of adorable children. Let’s face it, kids being kids are the best part of bookstore life. They’re so themselves and earnest about things and this often translates to very funny encounters. Whether they’re shyly asking for a book, or paying for something the first time, or just smiling at silly adults, kids are very amusing in the retail world.¬†
Last week I had several very funny moments with younger kids. The first was with a tiny child. She was older than she looked but to me she appeared to be about 18 months old. I thought she had a lot of words for that age. I also thought she was wearing a diaper, so when she said she had to poop, honestly I didn’t think anything of it. Her mom was looking at books in a different section and the little one and I were playing with our stuffed dragons. Then the little one went to find her mom, and got very quiet. Her mom and I found her sitting on the lowest shelf of the holiday display case, like, well, like she was using the bathroom. (Don’t worry, nothing gross happened.) The mom was horrified and explained that the girl was potty training. I must have made a comment about how young she looked and the mom said she was actually two and a half, just small for her age. I apologized for being part of what could have been a total debacle and showed them where the bathroom was.
Often when parents are shopping with slightly older kids, say five to seven, they are very good at letting the child browse in some sections while they look at another. I feel for parents when they try to get a moment’s peace and their child just keeps saying, “Mom, mom, mom.” Most parents are very good at ignoring these comments. One girl was in the middle grade section happily looking over the book she had picked out when she started saying, “Mom, help. Help, help.” The mom was ignoring her because apparently the little one does this to get attention. I went over to see what was going on and it was all I could do to not just start laughing.
We have two upholstered cubes in the middle grade section and somehow this child had managed to stretch herself across them in such a way that she couldn’t get up again. The cubes were just far enough apart that she was totally stuck. I helped her get up as the mom was rounding the corner of the section, saying, “Oh, please tell me this wasn’t the time she¬†actually needs help.” Then we all started laughing. Obviously, the child was fine.
Lastly, there was a little boy about two in the store with his family that included his five-year-old brother. The little one had more words than any two-year-old I’d ever met, really. It was stunning. Clearly, he was trying to keep up with his brother. He was burbling away and his brother, doing what older brothers do, was ignoring him. Then this little boy did something that had all of us in hysterics. He started singing. Yes, little kids sing all the time at the store. Usually, it’s a nursery rhyme or Raffi song, but this kid was different. He was singing, quite loudly, Culture Club’s song “Karma Chameleon.” Yes, that hit from the 1980s was being sung, perfectly, by a two-year-old child in Vermont in 2016.
In that moment we were all reminded that kids are unique little beings and can be utterly random and delightful. And I’ve still got that song in my head.

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