The pre-schooler and a couple of his buddies started a little KAH-RAH-TAY class today, and I’m not exactly sure what they did besides yelling “HIIIIIIII-YAH!” four or eight hundred times. However, Alex does seem to have mastered a martial arts stance / arm motion that’s eerily reminiscent of Elaine’s dancing on “Seinfeld,” so quite obviously we’re going to get our money’s worth (and then some) out of his first official extracurricular activity.

Anyway, as we headed to our car after his class, I couldn’t help but notice that he was even more excited than normal. And as soon as we were all buckled in he said, “Mama! I need to talk to my daddy! I NEED to talk to my daddy!” So I got D. on the phone, and A. told his daddy all about the KAH-RAH-TAY, did a few quick “HIIIIIII-YAH!s” before hanging up, and then we headed to Publix because, well, that is what we do on the days when the sun comes up in the morning.

The fact that Alex seems to come alive in public settings – like, for instance, at Publix – has been confirmed time and time again, seeing as how he likes to introduce himself to people he doesn’t know and engage them in lengthy conversations. In fact, when I recently took him to get his hair cut, he found out the names of everyone in the waiting area, made sure every child had paper and crayons, procured Little Debbie cakes from the coffee station and distributed them, then passed out balloons and candy to all the children (their names were Cameron, Ethan, Zachary and Morgan, and I know this because Alex repeated their names approximately four hundred and ninety four times while we were waiting).

In short, our child is a three year old camp counselor.

And let me just tell you: this afternoon? the extroverted child? after participating in an organized martial arts activity? with a bunch of other boys his age?


I don’t even know how to explain what happened when we were in Publix, but I do know this: while Alex does typically talk in exclamation points (I can’t imagine how he inherited such a tendency!), this afternoon in the grocery store he was talking in ALL CAPS. ALL CAPS WITH EXCLAMATION POINTS! LOUDLY!

For example:

“MAMA! WE NEED SOME TURKEY!” (true that)

“OH, LOOK MAMA! CEREAL! I LOOOOOOOVE CEREAL!” (he doesn’t eat cereal)

“MAMA! BANANAS MAKE ME HAPPY!” (really? as far as I can tell, air makes him happy)


And please don’t misunderstand me. I am beyond grateful for the blessing of a happy, healthy child. It’s just that the happy, healthy child was a little amped up due to all the chopping and kicking and “HIIIIIIII-YAH”-ing he’d been doing, and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that a stranger or two craned their necks from adjoining aisles to see who was starting the pep rally for “CORRRRRRRN! LOOK, MAMA, IT’S CORRRRRRN!” over in frozen foods.

I tried to say things – calm things – like, “baby. let’s use our inside voice. our quiet voice. ‘kay?”

And Alex would look at me very seriously and nod his head and say, “OKAY, MAMA! WE’LL USE OUR INSIDE VOICE! THAT’S A GREAT IDEA! IT’LL BE SO! MUCH! FUN!”

When I had just about hit my limit – when I was just about to that point where you just pull the young’un out of the grocery cart and hope some shopper comes along who needs the exact combination of groceries that you’re about to leave behind – Alex looked at me, smiled, patted my arm, and said, “Oh, Mama. You’re my sweet girl, aren’t you, Mama?”

I melted. On the spot. Despite the fact that I was surrounded by large refrigerated coolers.

I paused for just a second so I could soak up the sweetness of the moment – and then I smiled, patted his little arm, and said, “I am your sweet girl. And you’re my sweet, big boy.”

And together, we marveled at THE PAPER TOWELS! and THE WINNIE THE POOH FRUIT CANDY! and THE ORAL B STAGES BUBBLY FRUIT TOOTHPASTE! as we wheeled our way through the rest of the store.

This post was published originally on January 31, 2007.

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  1. Sigh, being a mom is the craziest occupation there is! I joke that the pay sucks but the benefits cannot be touched. And children know, just as you are about to start twitching, and say something that makes it all worthwhile.

    Or give you 20 month old sweet (and very wet) kisses.

  2. Its amazing how little ones can tell just when you’re about to hit your limit and they say/do something sweet to protect themselves.

    I would have melted, too.

  3. aren’t they supposed to wear the kids out at things like that not hype them up? when my girls come home from gymnastics i expect them to pass out from all the flipping like i would do if i had just had a workout. instead they want to show me all the stuff they learned and bounce around for a good while. it’s a mystery.

  4. You know, I thought I heard something this afternoon, just a faint cry…something about “CORN, MAMA!…CORN!” ;-)

    How well do I remember those loud days, and I figure I’m in for it again in the not so distant future. Of course, Jessica still talks IN! ALL! CAPS! and exclamation points a good deal of the time, so I’m guessin’ any kid of hers will have those genes passed on to her.

    Now it’s Jessica’s turn to deal with the teachers who call her in to talk about her kid that talks too loud, too much. :-)

  5. Like the kid from Jerry Maguire said, dogs and bees can smell fear. And kids can smell parental frustration. When they smell it, that’s when they whip out the really good stuff.

    Great post.

  6. How sweet!!! When Zach senses he’s in trouble he breaks out his ammo. “Mama, I love you more than anything.”

    My breaking point is when Reagan is fussing and wanting to eat the food that’s in the cart and Zach is opening it and giving it to her. I don’t think I ever leave the grocery store without at least 2 or three things open.

  7. Adorable! I can’t wait for my son to talk.

  8. It’s a good thing we don’t live in the same city.

    I don’t think any city could survive both your little boy and my little boy.

    You have to love how the orneriness pushs you to the brink of insanity, and then, all of a sudden, they just melt you into a little puddle of sappy-mom, and you hope that they never completely outgrow this stage.

  9. I love the Alex stories. YES! I! REALLY! DO!

  10. THAT’S! MY! BOY! :)

  11. I would dare anyone to try to bother his sweet girl Mama or I would bet he would HIII-Yah them! Sweet boys are like that. That’s why we give them Superman pj’s. :>)

  12. If we put he and Caroline in a room together, they could conquer the world…or at the very least, make friends with everyone in the world and serve them Little Debbie snack cakes.

    I love that you’re his sweet girl, it’s those moments that make all! the! talking! worthwhile.

  13. Holy Cow I just about pee-ed my pants. I haven’t laughed this hard in…well a couple of hours…b/c i seem to have a likeness to your life. My little Abby Kay (www.passthepepper.com) confiscated her big sister’s nail polish tonight and painted herself “right-up”. Oooh weee!! Thrilled to have found you, BooMama, and thrilled to know…once more…that i’m “not alone” in this crazy thing called Motherhood.

  14. OH! MY! GOODNESS! What would I do without you everyday to read? I always just laugh out loud with your delightful stories. Then my husband has to wonder if I’ve lost my senses completely, because I’m laughing at nothing. It’s a great day in the neighborhood.

  15. Phyllis R. says:

    I love Alex. Can I borrow him? I need a Publix cheerleader and a hair cut waiting room camp counselor.

    Did ya see that movie, “Little Miss Sunshine” yet? You know the brother – the REAL quiet, non-talking – brother? THAT is what life is like with TWO TEENAGE boys. They are sweet and all (really, they are. They would get up and dance at the Beauty Pageant for their little sister’s sake – if they had one -just like that boy) BUT MY WORD are teenage boys quiet!! Well, unless they are fighting with each other, and then they are not.

    Anyhoo, I! love! Alex! And anyone who gives out Little Debbie snack cakes is truly a lovely little man in the making!

  16. My son has the same problem, except, not just when he’s excited…ALL. THE. TIME.

    Especially when he’s reading books to himself!!??

  17. Oh Boomama, I laughed till tears rolled down my cheeks. I can just see it all. Your blog should be prescribed reading for everyone first thing in the morning. Supermarkets will never be quite the same again!

  18. Precious!! Don’t you wish we could record those moments and watch them years later? Makes it all worth it.

  19. As I told my husband this morning, it is a good thing I am praying for spouses for my sons already…because REALLY how can there ever be anyone good enough for our boys?

  20. LOVE THIS! My daughter also has a lot of, well, exuberance! But seeing how I am also a great fan of exclamation points, I guess she came by it honestly!

    Thanks for the laugh:-)

  21. Oh this is golden. GOLDEN. LIKE THE COLOR OF THE CORN.

    I was already giggling but the pep rally for the corn really set me off.

  22. Elizabeth says:

    I will smile the next time I hear an Alex in the grocery story talking in exclamation points!

  23. Nothing sweeter than a little boy who understands that corn is something that should evoke joy and maybe even praise dancing.

  24. Ah Publix, how I miss shopping at Publix. And my 2 yr old doesn’t know how to whisper either, everything is in LOUD VOICE. Enjoyed readind

  25. What a sweet story. Your little man sounds like a wonderful and loving little boy. My 2 boys are loud talkers too. My youngest gets very excited in the grocery too and I’m glad to see he’s not the only one. He was in such a frenzy in the fruit department last time, that everyone was so amazed at his love of fruit they gave him free fruit salad to eat while we shopped. Didn’t stop his talking though. I just ended up covered in fruit juice laced spit and still had a head ache by the time we left:)

  26. I’m glad you are wise enough to enjoy your wonderful child. Trust me, he’ll be grown before you know it. Everybody says that because it’s true! For us moms, the days are endless, but the years fly by.

    My youngest is 14, and day before yesterday it hit me like a ton of bricks: I didn’t know it would go by so fast! I’ve been a mom for 27 years, but two days ago I cried my eyes out when I realized I’m almost done with the child raising part. And now I’m crying again. When my other kids got this old, it was hard enough — and I had a younger one coming up! This guy, my 6’2″, 194 pound “baby” is the last one.

    Sorry. I’ll quit blithering now. Just enjoy Alex. You’ll be looking up at him any day now.

  27. Oh, this was so much fun to read. Thanks for sharing!

  28. This was fun to read…he sounds like a real sweetheart!


  29. Our boys…they get us every time.

  30. Ok it is only 9AM in the morning, I am sitting here just quickly checking my bloglines, which by the way is giving me fits this morning….and I am crying!!!! OH my goodness I could have wrote this a few years ago, I remember the KAH-RAH-TAY days. Oh boy, my “breakables at home” will never be the same. But I remember words that can melt you to the quick also. It is like God smiling down on a frazzled Mom.

    Sweet sweet…

  31. For a boy that doesn’t eat cereal or eggs, he’s in great shape! So tell me. When’s Boo Son going to start his own blog?

  32. LOL re: going to Publix on days the sun comes up in the morning. :)

  33. “Oh, Mama. You’re my sweet girl, aren’t you, Mama?”

    How sweet is that?!! What a sweetie Alex is!

    If you ever figure out how to get your son to use his inside voice, please let me know. At 2, my son is struggling with that concept. :)

  34. Hilarious. I give this post the “So Funny I Made My Husband Read It” Award. He loved it too. Thanks for the laugh!

    Oh, and Alex is adorable !

  35. don’t ya just wish exercise and increased activity had that same affect on us as adults?


  36. Oh. . .I needed a laugh. Both of mine are home sick today–either hubby or I have been home everyday this week. . .and I know what you mean about being ready to strangle them–then they come out with the most unexpected sweetness as though they PERCEIVE that you are about to commit murder. . .kind of like them waking up from a dead sleep as infants when they could PERCEIVE that you had actually sat down.

    You totally cracked me up–the Peprally for the Corn. . .and I have NO idea from where A. gets all of his excitement. .. hmmmmm. . .I’m bettin’ he did a back handspring on the Diet Coke aisle, though.

  37. Thank you for making me smile. I love it when the kids are that happy. We don’t get job performance appraisals but when they are that happy you know you’re doing something right!


  38. It’s moments like this that make mothering worth all the energy, madness and laundry.

    Glad Alex gave you another reason to smile… and melt.

  39. But just as a side question: Did Alex yell “CLEAN UP ON AISLE 12!!” after that melting incident?

  40. Gotta just love his exuberance! What a little doll….one day his exuberance will make him a mighty fine man! Be glad that he wants to share (with exclamation) every detail with you! Somehow, I hope he never outgrows it, and he always shares with you. As teens, they do a lot of grunting, and make sounds that make you wonder…..so I hope Alex never gets to that point! Bless his pea-pickin’ hi-ya’ing heart! ;-)

  41. Sounds like most shopping trips we take.:)

    You’re a better woman than I am, though. After melting, with the very next “OH MOMMA!! LOOK!!!” I’d have been back on the ceiling again.

  42. What a great story! I love the Publix so much that I, too, marvel loudly, unfortunately, it has nothing to do with “kah rah tay” and I’m 30, so its kind of embarrassing.
    Regardless, I must make a trip tonight in A’s honor!

  43. Ooookay, I was reading along, shaking my head slowly, thinking that between the, uh, loveliness Sarah shared at In The Midst of It yesterday and the prospect of SUCH! ENTHUSIASM! and a world of HIIII-YAH!s, (and laughing so hard my 10 month old stopped banging on his baby piano just to stare at his crazy mama), I’m just guessing that I’m really IN for it in about, oh, a year or two, with raising a boy.

    But by the time I became solid again after joining the puddle of melted mamas, I decided it will all be worth it to be a certain Little Man’s “Sweet Girl.” It doesn’t get any better than that, now does it?

  44. I remember a trip exactly to the store with a certain two year old. It was funny. But it was early in the day, so I wasn’t worn down yet. All of that excitement after a day of dealing with excitement might have been too much to handle.

    Those excited talkers can absolutely wear a mama out.

  45. jessica T. says:

    What a laugh! When my boys were little, (now 12 and 9)I learned not to let them watch any show with “HIE YAA!” (Power Rangers) in it or they would turn into karate chopping animals to the peril of their sister (now 10). Oh how we love our boys!

  46. That last part got me:)

    Caiden started karate yesterday, too–but it was Grayson that got me stuck in the “quiet room,” so his “inside” voice wouldn’t distract the instructor.

    Boys are great:)

  47. I LOVE! YOUR ALEX! STORIES! What a sweet little man.

    Oh, and the stunt pillows in your previous post cracked me up.

  48. My boys (age 9 & 11 years) have two volumes: LOUD! and mumbling… They will use mumbling for essential information “the house in on fire”. And LOUD! is for embarrasing (I!JUST!FARTED!) or small, enclosed spaces like the car. Every now and again I look at the back of their neck hoping to discover a volume control :-)

  49. LOVE IT! What sweet story. Thanks for sharing. You just brightened my day!

  50. Terrifying! I could not handle that! LOL God may have given me many, but they are QUIET most of the time! Course, I get all the poop messes. I’d rather clean up poop than have to be peeled off the ceiling any day, lol. Isn’t it funny how God gives us just what we need to challenge and grow us, but not enough to send us completely over the edge?!
    My house really is quiet, my mom thinks coming to my house with 7 kids is a vacation from the 2 she is raising!

  51. Boys like that … STAY boys like that. So stock up on those nerve pills… but they still do say the sweetest things at all the right moments like –

    “Someone need a hug? Cause I know a guy, ya see”

  52. Turkey $2.99. Winnie the Pooh Fruit Candy $1.99. Being called your toddler’s Sweet Girl? Priceless :-)

  53. I was going to say I have no idea of what you speak, but Reese likes to just scream to hear her own voice. In the middle of stores. While everyone watches to see what I do. I’ve tried to cover her mouth before, but she finds THAT wildly funny.

    I’m sure that it will get worse before it gets better. It’s still fun.=)

    At least Reia takes nice quite ballet.

  54. So your child was the one making all that noise yesterday at Publix!!!
    I wondered who he belonged to!

    Just kidding!!

    But you have described it so well that I can envision it as if I had been there.

  55. I am laughing out loud imagining it. And all those people looking at you were marveling at what a happy child you have. The loud talking in all caps with exclamation points usually bothers the mommy more than the shoppers. Thanks for making me laugh again today!

  56. OH.MY.GOSH! My 3 year old could be your son then! I constanly have to remind him to “bring it down” because not everyone has tough ears like Mom. I won’t even get started on how he interrogates the produce workers in the grocery store! I feel the pain. Love your Blog!

  57. that is such a sweet story!

  58. Thank you for the laugh. My favorite was how I instantly knew exactly what you meant withe the ALL CAPS !!!! talking. My nearly 3 year old is calling me his “mommy-boy” which I find to be the most endearing thing I could be called. Your post melted and inspired me, thanks.

  59. Your post made my day.


  60. They always seem to know exactly when we need some extra loving, don’t they? Sweet! Blessings!

  61. After raising girls, we have a grandson in the family now. I think what tickles me most is what we’ve got to look forward to. Your big boy is precious! Enjoyed this greatly!

  62. I am in stitches. You have a talent for telling a story. I think I will have to add you to my bloglines list.


  63. Oh Heavens Boo, LittleMiss and Alex should never ever be introduced. The amount of enthusiasm and *love* will most certainly cause the room to combust! Whew, those preschoolers .. how do we ever manage?

  64. I imagine everything in the refrigerated cases melted too! How sweet!

  65. My son is seventeen, and still melts me quite often. I love the way he hugs me every day, several times a day. What a sweet man he’s becoming. Thanks for sharing this. I laughed, I cried, it was amazing!


  66. Oh my dear goodness. How did I miss this post. Girl, you had me snorting! SNORTING! I don’t do snorting. But, I could just picture it…and it was so funny! Hysterical! What a sweet sweet boy. How exactly do they know to do that? I loved this post. Thanks for sharing it with us! :)

  67. That was funny! I think God gives every family one of those types to keep us humble.
    I was such an arrogant parent with my 3 perfectly well behaved, socially aware children. Then I had my 4th, never met a stranger-says whatever is in her mind, child.
    Lets just say I’m A LOT less arrogant, and A LOT more humble! :o)

  68. Not only are your posts hilarious BooMama, but reading the comments that follow are almost always sure to bring me lots of laughs as well. It seems you inspire the funny bone in your commenters. I have four boys myself and the only time they’ve ever been known to speak in an inside voice is when they’re at school. Why is that? What is so threatening to them at school that they can extract from them what I’m unable to get from them myself? Sometimes my husband and I want to lock ourselves in our room with earplugs. Goodness! Thanks for a great post, and some great laughs. Ta for now dahling!

  69. Your three (now four) year old camp couselor is a keeper…yes, indeed-y!

    I think these are the days to just soak up and let that love tank fill up.
    Hope you’re having a great time with your friends!!

  70. H.I.L.A.R.I.O.U.S.

  71. You gotta love the energy in these little boys. Its so tough sometimes. But they sure are cute when they say things like that to you. What a sweet boy you have. Thanks for sharing your story, it sure put a smile on my face.

  72. Thank you for sharing the beautiful post (again!). I think all mommy’s need to hear things like that and appreciate moments which are all too fleeting!

    Take care,

  73. Didn’t read this the first time round, but gosh, am I glad to read it now. This is hilarious. I can see why you were nominated as a “best humor blog.” Keep it comin’!

  74. That is a sweet story. My three old often says to me “Mommy, you are my special boy” it always makes me smile.

  75. This story has worn well, ’cause the “CORN, MAMA, CORRRRRRRRRRRRRN” gets me every, stinkin’ time.

  76. I absolutely LOVE!!!!!!! YOUR! BLOG! :D
    How cute is Alex! I just loved that story, and once upon a time, I had a little guy who was just like it. He’s 12 now. I know I don’t have to tell you, to love it while you can.
    What a sweet child you have!

  77. Oh. my. Mercy. I think I just pee’d on myself!! My stomach hurts from such laughter and the reason is the I think Alex and my Boo could be related!!!!!!!!!!! OH. My. Heavens…I need a tissue…I have just laughed so hard I cried.

  78. I laughed myself silly. Thanks for smiling me out of a crappy week.

  79. That is SO funny and reminds me SOOOOOOOO much of my oldest son, who will be 4 in June. I am new to your blog so this is the first time I have read this post. Thanks for making me laugh so hard!!

  80. mikki roo says:

    This sounds SOOO like my son who will be 4 in July. (Sorry, I didn’t mean to copy your comment, Etta!) He definitely does not have the “inside voice” figured out yet… Good to know that’s maybe normal and not something he’ll go through life with!!!

    I’m relatively new to your blog, and I love your way with words & the way you make me laugh… You rock, boomama!!!


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