Define...."weird".

Anne Kimball

Life on the Funny Farm


My kids are weird.

There. I've said it.

I don't have a dictionary in front of me and don't feel like looking up an on-line one, but I do have a thesaurus on my desk

That's right. I have a thesaurus. I'm a kinda-sorta writer. Uh, huh.

and the entries following the word weird are:

bizarre, strange, odd, fantastic, unearthly, otherworldly, alien, supernatural, mysterious, outlandish, nightmarish, surrealistic, Kafkaesque
(??????)
peculiar, queer, grotesque, eerie, freaky
(my favorite)
uncanny, unusual.

I would say most of these words could be used to describe my brood of freaky outlandish children.

A few examples:
James: Jumping off the porch roof into a snow bank while yelling, "There goes Hollywood".
Bella: Eating her pizza with Nutella, or ketchup on an apple.
Patrick: "I'm Old Greeeeeeggggggg!".
Daniel: Naming his crossword puzzle Meat With Stick..
Julie: Yelling "Tractorrrrr!" when someone passes gas.
Rosie: Taking perfect care of her braces. I think she's messing with my head.
Fred: "Mind bringing me a soda? Thanks. Just get me my "special glass" sitting on the top right-hand corner of the coal stove, place two ice cubes in it, and then fill the glass 2/3 to 3/4 full, taking care to pour slowly. If it's no trouble...."
Me: 6 kids, 6 dogs, 4 cats, 1 hamster, 1 cockatiel, 2 bunnies, 3 horses, 5 goats, countless chickens....

Round here, we're used to it and mostly just laugh it off, or more often than not, their fantasticness doesn't even register, as it has become so commonplace.

It generally takes a visitor among us to awaken us to the bizarre ways of our offspring.

Take for example, the time about a year ago, give or take, when the little girl from across the street joined us for dinner.

She's a quiet girl, is "A", as I'll call her. The only child of a profoundly button-down family. Their lawn is mowed roughly twice a day and is adorned by four shrubs and one ornamental tree. They have a pocket-sized dog, well-groomed.
A herself is also well-groomed, shirts ironed and tucked in, hair neatly trimmed and pulled back in a fine-looking ponytail. Nice girl, A.

She and my girls, all roughly the same age, had struck up a semi-friendship, somewhat restrained and orderly.

One day, after playing outside for a bit, my kids were called into dinner. They asked if A could join us. I said
but of course!

In they all sauntered, washed their hands, and sat down to the dinner table.

A sat on the bench, and had to scoot first this way and then that, as more and more kids piled onto said bench. They finally all settled, shoulder-to-shoulder, famished and ready to chow down.

I believe burgers were on the menu that night. And the burgers started one of our not so atypical dinner conversations.

It went something like this.....

James: Burgers? Ewww. Is meat. Is disgusting.
Patrick: Why is it disgusting?
Me: James, that's rude to say your dinner is disgusting.
James: Sorry. Tank you for dinner. But meat. Meat is disgusting. Is animal.
Patrick: Yeah, but you like chicken and chickens are animals.
James: I know but meat is red. Red is blood. I can't eat this.
Everyone talking at once: Yeah but we've GOT to eat! Besides, other animals eat us if they have the chance, like tigers and sharks. So we eat them. It's FAIR!
James: I don't care. Is disgusting.
Someone: People are animals. We could eat each other. Who would I eat...?
Me: Whom would you eat. Use proper grammer.
Daniel: I wouldn't eat Dad, that would be gross. No offense, Dad.
Dad: None taken.
Patrick: Same with Mom.
Me: Oh, thank the Lord.
Someone: What about Y?
Someone else: Nah. Too stringy.
Rosie: How 'bout Bella? She would taste good!
Everyone: Yeah, Bella! She would be the best one to eat.
Daniel: Or how 'bout Sophie? (referring to our Boston Terrier/Beagle mix)
Everyone: Yeah, Sophie! She would be delicious! Let's eat her for dinner! No not dinner -- dessert. She would taste like cupcakes....

At about this point in time, I caught a glance of A. She sat squished between our evil spawn, looking about as wide-eyed and petrified as a bunny in a bush with a fox on its trail. She had the burger halfway to her mouth, jaw frozen in an open position, at one point preparing to take a bite of her dinner, but now likely primed to scream in holy terror. I think in her mind she was weighing her options:
1) Make a break for it by leaping onto the dinner table with a manic martial arts screech and scrambling out of there with dishes flying.
2) Freezing in place, hoping against all odds to blend in, and then slowly creeping the hell out of our house when people dispersed.

She chose the latter. I don't think anyone heard a peep out of her. Though even if she had said something, it's doubtful anyone would have noticed, what with the cacophonous
there's that thesaurus at work again
conversation taking place about who would eat who(sorry, whom).

Dinner over, she slipped silently from our house and back across the street.

I still see her once in awhile, peering from behind a curtain towards our house. Or riding her bike up and down her driveway while casting leery glances our direction. Or peeking out from behind a just-pruned shrub, eyeballing the bikes thrown down haphazardly in the driveway, the scattered sidewalk chalk, the assortment of basketballs and kickballs and scooters. She counts the children. She listens closely, analytically to the screams, no doubt trying to discern: screams of fun? Or
screams of terror?

I'm sure she must be wondering what
or who
is on the menu.

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