the darndest things

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if you know me, you know i love kiddos. i mean, i love them for a multitude of reasons -for their innocence and unlimited sloppy kisses, for their adorable miniature-sized clothing and the sounds of their belly laughs. but perhaps one of my favorite things about these petite-sized humans is the fact that they have no filter when it comes to speaking their mind. they say what they want, when they want, and they don’t care who’s within earshot. it is both completely mortifying (especially if you’re their parent) and endearing. for instance, when my mom turned the age you are right before you hit 30 (see also: 29), i decided to announce it to the entire preschool when she dropped me off that morning. the endearing part was the fact that i wanted everyone to know that it was my mom’s special day and so they should shower her with birthday love, but where the mortifying part came in was when i proceeded to inform everyone just exactly how many candles she would be blowing out on that birthday cake. but how was i supposed to know that we don’t discuss a female’s age? i was only four after all.

yesterday as i waited in line for my usual venti ice water at my beloved solana beach starbucks, i noticed an adorable kid and his father enjoying an afternoon treat across the room. i caught eyes with the boy, who was probably around five (such a fun age) and shot him a big goofy grin (i do the same thing when i catch eyes with boys about 25 years his senior, too). without a second thought, he returned as goofy of a grin back to me. it looked something kind of like this:

say cheese.

say cheese.

as you can imagine, i was drawn to chuckles by his 110% commitment to that smile. and like a game of ping pong, we just kept doling out cheesier and cheesier grins across the room, paying no mind to the bystanders who had gathered near us to see our exchange play out. one said bystander was the child’s father who found quite a deal of amusement in our game. and when the dad’s gaze caught mine, i couldn’t help but comment. “he’s a riot!” i quipped and the dad smiled as he looked back at the product of his gene pool.

without missing a beat, the little boy turned to his father and asked, “dad, why does everyone like me so much?”

i died. this kid! after letting out a hearty belly laugh, i looked over to him and smiled, “you know? i ask myself the same thing all the time.” confused by my comment, he suddenly caught a case of shyness and hid coyly behind his dad’s shirt sleeve. not long after that, my venti ice water was called out from the bar and after retrieving it, i headed toward the door.

but before i left, i turned around for one more cheesy grin exchange with my witty little friend. his dad waved goodbye and i told him to have a good afternoon. and as i made my way out to my car, i couldn’t help but laugh to myself once more. at five years old, this little guy already knew the power of a smile.

so use them wisely, ya’ll, they just might have the power to have someone like you “so much.”

and seriously, kids really do say the darndest things.

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