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From the mouths of babes

The end of the year is a fun time to look back at the way children view their world. In the new year, resolve to write down what your kids say that makes you smile. Meanwhile, enjoy these pearls from parents and teachers:

*Growing minds want to know: "Does God use directions when he makes elephants, and if he does use directions, can we borrow them so we can make our own?" "How did we get borned?"

*On their first cold morning this winter, one little boy says to his 3-year-old brother: "Wow, look at that smoke coming out of your mouth."

*Learning to speak and spell: "I didn't come to school because I was sick tomorrow." "My name is Molly and it starts with Om." "My mommy's name is Mommy and it starts with I don't know." Teacher: "What sounds like the word green?" Preschooler: "November." "My Indian hat has a pony tail," otherwise known as a feather.

*Some twists of words take detective work: "Mr. Doctor Art" turns out to be Dr. Seuss. "Is it Heart Class today?" That's what one boy calls his art class.

*While running errands over the holidays, one pre-kindergartner gets upset with her mother and tells her, "I'm not going to get out of the car. I'm just going to sit in here and pick my nose." From a self-aware 3-year-old: "I'm a drama queen."

*Upon watching "The Sound of Music," young "Star Wars" fans ask why the nuns have on Jawa costumes. After a short time without power on a cold winter's night, twin sisters decide they wouldn't like to live in a "little house on the prairie like Laura and Mary" after all. Watching a princess movie inspires the sweet question: "What song did you sing to Daddy when you fell in love?" Belting out an "Annie" song: "Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow is only a day of way."

*"My brother told me we need to ask Santa for lots of bones for our dog, but I want presents for myself." "Santa drops presents from the sky." Sisters break into some holiday cookies, then declare: "Mommy it's OK. We are just eating dog food."

*Children spread personal news and add a twist: "My mommy's got a baby in her tummy. And I've got two babies in my tummy." "We need to give my sister to someone else." Teacher: "I'm having a hot flash." Student: "You're having hot fudge? My mom likes that too. And takes baths with hot chocolate." "Mom, we heard the story of all the animals and Noah and the pirate ship in chapel today."

*A bell ringing at 5 p.m. signals happy hour on a family's vacation, and a special drink for a 5-year-old. Later at church, after a priest rings a bell, the boy is inspired to remark: "I didn't know that they served happy hour at church."

And some old family favorites: "My big cousin is an expert in everybody." "My sign is going to be wide-ways, not tall." "My baby-sitter used to speak Dutch in another world. I mean another planet." "Does my dad spell letters at work?" "Those Newtons aren't big, so why do they call them Big Newtons?" "It would make more sense if unicorns were called 'unihorns.' " "Do you know that a lady bug thinks our finger is a plant?" "You can't just start taking somebody's pants off without telling them."


Parenting tip

Transitions are tough for many kids. Give a five-minute warning before a time of change, let the child know what is expected, and ask him to give a verbal response that shows he understands.


Can you help?

Q: "At what age should kids have cell phones? My 12-year-old son wants one and says all his friends have one. They do not call each other's houses to make plans. They call the cell phones." -- A Mother in Huntersville, N.C.

If you have tips or questions, e-mail

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