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Word Butter: Lessons Learned from a Little Creative Wall Art
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Kids grow up so fast. Too fast, in fact. As I cleaned house this past weekend, I looked at a picture of my niece, who’s now 11, which is stuck to my refrigerator with a couple of magnets. It seems like just yesterday she was a toddler, running around with pigtails and asking if she could borrow my makeup brushes.

These days, she’s too cool for school.

But as I looked at that photo, I was reminded of a time when she was little, and I remembered my favorite story about her, which I’ll share now with you. Warning: It’s a bit gross. But kids do gross stuff. It’s in their bylaws. They have to.

When Amanda was three, I got an email from my brother (her dad) that proved to me that she was more than a prissy, lip-gloss snitching girlie-girl. She was also just a gross little kid. It recounted the following story.

The incident-which-she-wishes-to-forget happened this way: As her parents were putting her to bed, Mommy noticed some specks on the wall. She inquired, hesitantly, “Are those…boogers?” Niece instantly broke into giggles, but denied that the specks were, in fact, nose candy.

Mommy quickly bid her daughter goodnight and fled the room. She broken into giggles herself after reaching the safety of the hallway. Boogers are, after all, gross but funny. Everybody knows this.

That’s when Daddy got involved. He also questioned the little giggler about the specks, asking again, “Sweetie, are those boogers?”

She denied it again. “No sir.”

My brother then proceeded to explain that he has a booger testing kit at his office, and that he planned to bring it home from work the next day, and would be testing the specks to see if the aforementioned wall art was, in fact, the B-word.

It was at this point that Niece realized the jig was up. She is a smart kid. A clumsy artist, but a smart kid.

After a brief explanation of what a test kit is and why this fictional thing has a red light on top (she asked), he posed the critical query one final time.

This time, Niece came clean.

Before she closed her eyes in slumber that night, Niece got a lecture on why it’s wrong to display that kind of art in that manner, and was instructed to use tissue.

She still hates when we tell that story. The rest of the family, however, finds it hilarious.

I’m a firm believer that you can and should learn something from any and all circumstances, including this particular story. So here’s what I’ve got…

When pressed for art, get your materials from a reliable source. Using your own can become, well, hazardous.

If you can’t keep a straight face, just calmly say “good night” and exit the room. Giggling in the hallway is acceptable – doing so in front of another person, not so much.

Don’t stop asking the right question. You will eventually get the answer you seek. But ask in a calm manner – anger doesn’t help.

And last, if someone asks you a direct question, it’s best to answer honestly. You never know when they have a kit with a red light on it tucked away.