March 21, 2020 4 min read

My son was approximately 3 years old when I first became aware of the fact that small children have an incredibly bad habit of unwittingly putting their foot in it.

Almost totally oblivious to social niceties, they tend to say what they see, leading to those (thankfully rare) occasions when you will the ground to open up and swallow you whole.

Nipping out into town to buy a few groceries and bits from the pharmacy, we took a detour into a clothing shop to have a nosey at the sale items. 

Seeing a couple of bargains, we began to queue up.  Him looking around, his sister laying quietly in her stroller – and that was when he said it ……

As we reached the cash register, I smiled at the young girl behind the counter, handed over my debit card and ………. “Mummy!  What’s wrong with her face”.

Oh for the love of God, I didn’t know where to look. 

The poor sales girl, all of about 18 years old, with some of the worst acne I’ve ever seen in my life, flushed the same colour as her spots, immediately looked at the floor and continued with my payment, mumbling something about it being ‘fine’ as I tried in vain to explain the workings of my 3-year old’s mind.

It would not be the last time one of my children would throw caution to the rules of polite society and it was not the last time I had to fight the urge to abandon my purchases and sprint from a shop with one of my rude offenders in tow.

The truth is that very small children will say shamefully inappropriate things and there’s very little you can do about it.  Yes, you can explain their transgressions to them after the event, but by that point, it’s a little late.

Luckily, most people really do understand and you can draw comfort from the fact that this is just a phase- and a relatively short one and that. 

Very soon, with a little guidance, your loose-lipped toddler will grow into a child who has learned a little etiquette, a few manners and a whole lot of self-restraint.

Until then, I’m afraid you might want to have a few canned responses ready, for all the times your beautiful little person offends a complete stranger.

And don’t forget! 

Make sure you note all of the sweet, silly, and funny things they say in a notebook or journal, including what they said, where they said it, to whom and how old they were.

They really are very funny to look back on.

If your children are anything like mine, you’ll soon have a fantastic keepsake book, full of moments that make you smile. 

Lasting memories of the sometimes unbelievable; sometimes totally mortifying, but often priceless things they say, written down for posterity.

  • And of course, to embarrass them right back, as soon as they’re old enough to care.

So here are 10 things your mini-humans might say, that you might want to note down:

  1. The sweet things…….

For the longest time, whenever I asked one of my girls what she wanted to be when she grew up, she wanted to be a butterfly.  Or to be more precise, a Piggyfly.  I’ll admit to being a little disappointed when that stage ended. I kind of miss the Piggyfly’s.


  1. Another cute one ……. Words they get wrong or mispronounce.

Some words are real tongue twisters and you forget just how difficult they are – until you hear a 3-year-old try to say ‘spaghetti’ or ‘strawberries’.


  1. When they can’t say a word or phrase, so they give up on it completely and make up their own.

One of my children found breakfast so difficult to say, it ended up being called dinner for years.  It didn’t matter how many times we corrected him either.  It was Dinner and that was that.


  1. Future song writers.

Small children often invent words all of their own, but who else here has a child who make up the lyrics to entire song’s?  I love listening to my children attempt to sing songs they’ve heard on the radio, especially when they fill in the blanks by making up 95% of the words.

I’m currently particularly fond of Dance Monkey’s 2020 hit Tones and I, complete with crazy dance moves.


  1. Thing’s they pick up from the other children at school or nursery – this one is often quite eye-opening to say the least.

When one of my children first started pre-school, there was a period of time in which all of the little boys (around 3 years old) kept running around saying “Oh frogs”. 

Utterly perplexed, we asked the teacher,

It turned out that one little boy had heard Daddy say a certain expletive when he’d hurt himself hammering in the garden.

The little boy had latched onto the phrase and wouldn’t stop saying it, so the teachers convinced him, it was really Oh Frog, instead of Oh F***.

That particular phase lasted for most of that year.


  1. Things they’ve copied from you, your partner, or another family member – that they repeat for the next month – usually when talking to Grandma, the child next door, or their teacher at school.

Funniest when they’ve misheard or totally got the wrong end of the stick.


  1. When they’ve misunderstood something at school, but it’s gospel because “my teacher told us”!

When a friend’s son was around 6 years old, he spent an entire evening drawing little pictures of the moon with funny faces on.  The following day, the homework came back home with a note saying “Very nice, but for extra credit, could you now draw the phases of the moon too”?

  1. Examples of child-like logic.
  2. The inexplicable and totally bizarre.
  1. Pretend play and other examples of their wonderful, crazy, silly imaginations.

From putting on their own plays with weird and wonderful characters and dressing up in funny costumes to painting crazy pictures. 

The games they like to play and the things they’re into change so much as children grow.

  1. The totally mortifying.

Because children are children and they say what they see.


So have your children ever come out with anything particularly “interesting”?

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