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Being a Fool for Your Kid

Jul 25, 2012

by Caleb Gardner

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

A few weeks ago, our neighbor caught us in a compromising situation.

My son, Miles, had taken one of the big boxes from the move into our new home and turned it into his own private playhouse. Naturally, we encouraged this imaginative play, cutting out windows for him and drawing pictures on the outside. It entertained him for days while we unpacked and moved in.

On this particular afternoon, we were taking a break from the move, lounging in the sun, enjoying our new backyard, and watching Miles play. He was taking his little toy animals into his “house” one by one. The yard was the jungle; the house was safety.

He turned to me. “Come on in, Daddy.”

I didn’t think twice. I got down on my hands and knees and crawled in, my feet still sticking out of the door. The box was just big enough for Miles, his animals, and me. He whispered to assure me that we were safe now, and began to introduce me by name to the hippos, elephants, and zebras that had also taken up sanctuary.

Then he turned to my wife. “Come on in, Mama!”

She couldn’t resist his invitation. Miles needed the whole family, and she wasn’t going to let him down. She crawled in right beside us, pregnant belly and all.

We were quite the sight: my wife and I with our feet sticking out of the box, tiny animals shoved against every part of our bodies, laughing hysterically at the absurdity of the moment. In a big cardboard box, closely packed in with the ones we loved, in the middle of a strange, new yard that could have belonged to anyone, we finally started to feel like this new place could be home.

That’s when I saw her, through one of the playhouse’s custom windows. A woman peeking over the fence, staring at a jumble of legs sticking out of a giant box in the middle of her new neighbors’ yard. She paused for a moment to take it in, smirked, and kept on walking.

I didn’t mind. Strangers seeing the distance we’re willing to go to make our son happy didn’t matter to me. What mattered is that he saw it. And as long as he continued to ask me to get down in the dirt with him, pleading with all the sincerity of the moment (it really wasn’t safe in the jungle), I knew that was where I would be.

Have there been any times when you’ve proved yourself a fool for your kids? How far have you gone to make them smile? I’d love to hear your stories.

Pair of 1966 Children's Riddle and Joke Books, Tell Me a Joke, Tell Me a Riddle, Set of Books
Pair of 1966 Children's Riddle and Joke Books, Tell Me a Joke, Tell Me a Riddle, Set of Books
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Vintage Mercer Mayer Book - A Silly Story - 1972
Vintage Mercer Mayer Book - A Silly Story - 1972
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4 Featured Comments

  • StringBeardCraftery

    Stephanie from StringBeardCraftery said 5 years ago Featured

    Really a great moment. Until I have children, I have no excuse for my silliness, but that does not stop me one bit. Thanks for sharing!

  • darkcycleclothing

    darkcycleclothing from darkcycleclothing said 5 years ago Featured

    Adorable read. And for me it is for certain story time. Every night my kids pile on the couch for stories while I use absurd voices to bring all of their books to life. My five year old daughter has the most vibrant giggle and she is always falling all over herself laughing by the end which makes her brothers crack up as well. Love it.

  • wonderlaneart

    Missy Anne from wonderlaneart said 5 years ago Featured

    Each and every day is day full of play here at our silly house. I have long since abandoned the thought that I look anything but foolish while playing, chasing, imagining with my kids. Part of the fun of having kids is to let a little of that kid inside, out to play!

  • zakarihonsen

    Zachary Smith-Johnson from FireflowerStudios said 5 years ago Featured

    Love the story. my daughter and I always seem to draw people into our world with our interactions. It seems such a great indicator of who a stranger is to watch them watch you with your children in those magic little moments.

78 comments

  • vinylclockwork

    Scott from vinylclockwork said 5 years ago

    Great Story. Sometimes you gotta be a big kid in life and have fun. Thanks for sharing.

  • GardenofYve

    Danielle Yve from GardenofYve said 5 years ago

    So true. My parents kept the box when they got their new tv for my niece to play in. You bet we were all in their ourselves at one point or another.

  • Ridgevales

    Lindsay from SweetThreesBoutique said 5 years ago

    Great story!!! It brings me back to my own childhood memories!

  • volkerwandering

    Jess from volkerwandering said 5 years ago

    What a cute story!

  • Leocardia

    Ulli Wenzel from Leocardia said 5 years ago

    I used to give my voice to many of my daughters plush animals. One of them, "Mousie" is still using my voice to talk in a very impertinent and surprising manner, giving comments to many aspects of our family life, although my daughter is 13 by now...

  • ParisCabinet

    JD Kohler from ParisCabinet said 5 years ago

    Love the story! Those are memories that will last forever for parents. I became a "clown witch" so I wouldn't be scary. Family first thought I was corny but now it's tradition. :)

  • BrittneyWest

    Brittney West from BrittneyWest said 5 years ago

    What a great story! Beautiful :-) "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do." --Rumi

  • sandboxcastle

    H Wang from sandboxcastle said 5 years ago

    This is such a sweet story and triggers alot of childhood memories for me as well of my own parents and the lengths they went through to make me happy as a child :) Ahhh thanks for sharing this!

  • VoleedeMoineaux

    Hillary De Moineaux from VoleedeMoineaux said 5 years ago

    Ey that's pretty cool!

  • thelittlemarket

    Debbie from thelittlemarket said 5 years ago

    Great story and so true!! We have had similar cardboard box moments. Those boxes can become whatever their imagination can dream up!! it's great!!

  • ScrapHouseDesigns

    Ann Harter from ScrapHouseDesigns said 5 years ago

    When our son was little, one of our favorite books to read at bedtime was "Barnyard Dance" by Sandra Boynton. Whichever parent was not reading had to act out all the animals, much to the delight of our toddler! It would send him into fits of giggles - and us as well! ("Bounce with the bunny. Strut with the duck. Spin with the chickens now - CLUCK CLUCK CLUCK!") One of my favorite memories!!

  • kikiparis

    Dominique Adeli from KidzCreationz said 5 years ago

    Once for crazy hair day at school my mom did her hair crazier than mine so I wouldn't be embarrassed about my funny hair. It was sooooooo funny :)

  • lcarlsonjewelry

    Liesl Carlson from lcarlsonjewelry said 5 years ago

    That is fantastic!!! It amazing what we will do for our child. I have been caught is some interesting places myself.

  • cherylsorg

    Cheryl Sorg from cherylsorg said 5 years ago

    Love it! It's funny - there are a great many circumstances in parenthood in which I feel I have to go to great lengths in their care and such. But being, for as long as I can remember, someone who is a bit self-conscious and not always prepared to look the fool (intentionally, anyway....), this is one aspect of parenthood that I have found truly liberating - being in the presence of your child is the perfect excuse to dance, sing, put on a crazy mask, whatever, without a second thought. A total bonus of parenthood : )

  • Sugarbowl

    Sugarbowl from Sugarbowl said 5 years ago

    I never really appreciated my Dad until I was about 11, when he was unemployed - and therefore relegated to the position of "Home Mom" while our Mom was at work. He showed up to host our 5th-Grade Halloween party in Mom's dress, bunny ears, white socks pulled up and his dirty tennies. Half of me was horrified and totally embarrassed when he walked in. The other half quickly realized he would truly do anything for us kids, and it made me love him even more.

  • allisonmooney

    Allison Mooney from allisonmooney said 5 years ago

    I love walking in the house to see my husband and 3 year old daughter hanging out together in their glitter princess crowns. I love that he will participate in any of her pretend play and really enjoy the moment with her. I love him even more every time I see what a great dad he is!

  • MegansMenagerie

    Megan from MegansMenagerie said 5 years ago

    I have great memories of my parents being silly for my sister and I. Acting a fool for my kids is way too much fun :) There is no greater sound in the world than your child's laughter. I'll do whatever that may take.

  • HayleysPaperLove

    Hayley from HayleysPaperLove said 5 years ago

    Sometimes you just have to be silly!

  • justbuyin

    Michelle said 5 years ago

    Lily loves to make makeup artist. Guess who her clients are.

  • purlpudding

    Amanda Stringer from PurlPudding said 5 years ago

    I was bugs bunny for almost a week for my 3 year old daughter. She wouldn't call me anything else and I had to do the voice or she wouldn't answer me. It wore slightly thin by the end of the week but she didn't know that and I hope she remembers it when she's a big girl. She loved it :)

  • StringBeardCraftery

    Stephanie from StringBeardCraftery said 5 years ago Featured

    Really a great moment. Until I have children, I have no excuse for my silliness, but that does not stop me one bit. Thanks for sharing!

  • PennyBirchWilliams

    Penny Birch-Williams from PennyBirchWilliams said 5 years ago

    Great story! I have wonderful memories of playing with my kids, one that stands out is being the voice of Big Bird with a puppet when they were little...how they loved to talk to that puppet character! Only kids can suspend reality and completely be in the moment of fantasy and fun. Then when they were teens just a few years ago, I not only made character costumes but went in costume as an anime character to a convention, as part of my daughter's cosplay group. (I was Izumi from Fullmetal Alchemist) We had a blast during our homeschooling years. I wouldn't trade those times for a fortune.

  • ErikaPrice

    Erika from ErikaPrice said 5 years ago

    Great article. Never lose sight of your inner child!

  • silviaberrios1

    Silvia Berrios from DesignsbySilvia said 5 years ago

    My favorite article this week!! I am a kid at heart, and my decorative pillows are an extendended expression of that.

  • needleandfelt

    Amy from needleandfelt said 5 years ago

    Cute story - It's hard to narrow it down to one, but Halloween was fun to dress up and take our son treating. We always stood out a bit, but it was all for the sake of fun!

  • breadandroses2

    breadandroses2 from breadandroses2 said 5 years ago

    That's not being a fool one bit, just being in the here and now. It's healthy and essential that kids' see their parent and big folk have a sense of play and imagination. It's loving and respectful, too, to value and participate in each others' worlds plus a whole lot of fun.

  • BlueSquiggle

    Monique Flannagan from BlueSquiggle said 5 years ago

    Awe that was so sweet!

  • iheartchelsyanne

    Chelsy Anne from chelsyanne said 5 years ago

    Cute! My 3 year old daughter dressed up in her tinkerbell costume and I wore a bright pink wig to dress up with her as we walked down the street to the mail box. We got to see a couple of people we did not know and say hi!

  • Parachute425

    Terry from Parachute425 said 5 years ago

    I remember taking my girls to a music appreciation class when they were three and running around in a circle with a stick horse between my legs while singing and feeling extremely foolish. Now grown, they have no recall of that class - at all. I found over the years that it's not specific events they remembered but just having an overall feeling of being loved and having our undivided attention that gave them a happy childhood. We didn’t start to embarrass them until they were teenagers.

  • wheatleypaperworks

    M Wheatley from wheatleypaperworks said 5 years ago

    Sweet.

  • sarahknightdesign

    Sarah Knight from CuteLittleNursery said 5 years ago

    Love it! Kids are a great reminder to not take ourselves too seriously:)

  • JennasRedRhino

    Jennifer Boaro from TheCatBall said 5 years ago

    Ha ha! You got caught! It could be worse. What if Miles had invited you into his box to dine on mud pies?

  • ViixC

    Vic Coolidge from SepiaTree said 5 years ago

    Sounds like a great start in a new home.

  • HelloShoes

    HelloShoes from HelloShoes said 5 years ago

    I have so so many stories and pics. Though I love going to the thrift stores dressed with a pirate hat and our foam or blow up swords..That is our treasure hunting days. Walking the plank though back into the car. Its fun and she leaves with her booty of books and toys..I loved making scavenger hunts through our mall and she gets a small treat in a few stores listed on our hunts..When she was smaller I liked to add finding something with the Letter "S" and later the full word to help her read better. Though everyday as I open the car door (our carriage) for her I tell her "your carriage awaits you" because of coarse shes our princess. I let her take her dolls to Target with us sitting in the cart like a real baby and she shops in the newborn section for their clothes and socks. Some people have laughed because they thought I really had 3 babies in the cart..

  • rivahside

    rivahside said 5 years ago

    One of my favorite family photos is of my husband and daughter who each had a single candy corn stuck under the center of their upper lips so that they looked like Ollie the dragon from Kukla, Fran and Ollie. (Boomers will know who I'm talking about!) I'm sure my husband wouldn't want any of his buddies to see that photo but he loved doing that silly thing with our daughter, who is now grown and married. She is a daddy's girl and that's the best compliment any daddy could ever receive!

  • Musclesandcrafts

    Melanie from merVazi said 5 years ago

    The best is when you know you passed the craziness to your kids. Our 5 year old's ball broke, and to make light of it, our 17 year old stretched it out over his hair and gave himself pink spikes and played like he was REAL cool. He even encouraged us to take pictures.

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 5 years ago

    Great story!

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    Matejka Max from NattyMatty said 5 years ago

    Yay!!!

  • KMalinka

    Natalia from KMalinkaVintage said 5 years ago

    Awesome story!

  • kingmaiko

    maiko king said 5 years ago

    Your neighbor lady was once a little girl and did silly things. Her son/daughter was once silly little kids & she must (i hope) have done silly kids things together. It's sad that some people forget precious moment with own children. After reading this story, I wanna be more involve and get down with my 3yrs old and 1yr old boys to have lots of quality time together.

  • peshka

    Peshka from Peshka said 5 years ago

    Lovely article!

  • TheOologist

    TheOologist from TheOologist said 5 years ago

    Brilliant! The joys of being a parent......

  • hesitajewelry

    Candi Leung from HestiaJewelry said 5 years ago

    so sweet:) thanks for sharing!

  • tomsgrossmami

    Tom's Grossmami from tomsgrossmami said 5 years ago

    Cute story :)

  • girlindustries

    Katy from girlindustries said 5 years ago

    I really sincerely hope that no-one ever overhears me reading to my daughter where animal noises are involved in the plot. I'm passable at barnyard sounds, but my elephant is atrocious.

  • CafePrimrose

    Amanda Gynther from CafePrimrose said 5 years ago

    No, I have no kids to make a fool of myself for yet. Hopefully soon enough.... But, I do it all the time for my furry kids. There is no length I wouldn't go to in order to make them feel loved and like mommy, would follow them anywhere, and do anything for them. And truth is, it isn't a false feeling I am giving them. There truly is nothing I wouldn't do for them.

  • suzanneartist

    Suzanne Urban from SmirkingGoddess said 5 years ago

    Reminds me of Wordsworth's poem: MY heart leaps up when I behold A rainbow in the sky: So was it when my life began, So is it now I am a man, So be it when I shall grow old 5 Or let me die! The child is father of the man: And I could wish my days to be Bound each to each by natural piety.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery said 5 years ago

    Thats a very sweet story, reminds me of a quote I saw once 'it doesn't matter how big and bad you are - when a toddler hands you a toy phone you answer it' : )

  • yolantaprints

    Yolanta Gawlik from YolantaPrints said 5 years ago

    I love this story! I used to play 'train' with my sister: we put all the chairs and stools in a line, they were the train carriages. We placed our teddy bears and dolls on them (and ourselves) and went on a journey! Nice memory...

  • redemptionart

    Connie Haskell from redemptionart said 5 years ago

    Always! And now I'm a fool for my grandkids...sometimes I think they want to run away from me! Once I dared them all to scotch tape up their noses to look like pig snouts while we were at a local restaurant. We all did and hid behind our menus until the waitress came..I think we made her day!

  • PottyMouthGems

    Janet from PottyMouthGems said 5 years ago

    Love this story! And being a fool for your kids will provide you with enough happy memories to last you a lifetime. We had chicken imitation contests while waiting in lines, we played telephone in restaurants, laughing hysterically at what the youngest kid would blurt out. I've been a pirate and a prince with a too tall hat and a cane. I've yelled Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Rain Makes Applesauce, moo'd and crowed and been the wicked old Heckedy Peg and loved every minutes of it.

  • littleevilstuff

    Yeok Wang from littleevilstuff said 5 years ago

    This is too cute :) I can make an artwork out of this lol

  • imogenskyefreeman

    Imogen Skye Freeman from InkPaintings said 5 years ago

    We used to live completely off-grid (and will again soon), and this by itself sparked a lot of creativity in my family. I once spent the entire day wearing a waist-length curly, blonde wig, speaking in a very thick Hungarian accent to my children. They giggled all day long, and laughed soooo hard when they saw their Daddy on his way up the steps from work; they could hardly stand the anticipation of his reaction. It was just precious all day. So fun. :D

  • lisa8619717

    lisa mccormack from Lisa861971 said 5 years ago

    great story

  • iammieCLAYshop

    iammieCLAYshop from iammieCLAYshop said 5 years ago

    So cute!

  • darkcycleclothing

    darkcycleclothing from darkcycleclothing said 5 years ago Featured

    Adorable read. And for me it is for certain story time. Every night my kids pile on the couch for stories while I use absurd voices to bring all of their books to life. My five year old daughter has the most vibrant giggle and she is always falling all over herself laughing by the end which makes her brothers crack up as well. Love it.

  • wonderlaneart

    Missy Anne from wonderlaneart said 5 years ago Featured

    Each and every day is day full of play here at our silly house. I have long since abandoned the thought that I look anything but foolish while playing, chasing, imagining with my kids. Part of the fun of having kids is to let a little of that kid inside, out to play!

  • zakarihonsen

    Zachary Smith-Johnson from FireflowerStudios said 5 years ago Featured

    Love the story. my daughter and I always seem to draw people into our world with our interactions. It seems such a great indicator of who a stranger is to watch them watch you with your children in those magic little moments.

  • chr15ta

    Christa Smith from EnveloveInvitations said 5 years ago

    Awww I love this!! And I totally agree in your parenting style. :)

  • gilstrapdesigns

    Debra Gilstrap from gilstrapdesigns said 5 years ago

    It's so much fun to look at life through the eyes of a child and experiencing life all over again. I've always been a fool for my kids and now my grand kids. I enjoy playing with them and watching them discovering life.

  • lepphotography

    Lauren from lepphotography said 5 years ago

    What a touching story! It's refreshing to hear stories like this filled with love, family, and laughter. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • windycitynovelties

    Windy City Novelties said 5 years ago

    Such a cute story, thank you for sharing and I agree on doing anything to make the kids happy!

  • TheCopperBee

    Michelle Owens from CopperBeeCosmetics said 5 years ago

    I love being silly with my son, hes three and to see him come up with what he thinks is funny (always is) really makes me smile. I love to watch is personality grow!

  • TheLittleRange

    Zakary and Bryony from SebastianAndEdith said 5 years ago

    Just ordered the rabbit that goes with the penguin! So Cute!

  • KaiceJoy

    Kirsti Joy from KaiceJoy said 5 years ago

    Some of my humblest and funnest moments have been wearing the items my children have made-and some of the looks I have gotten, but I wear their creations: necklaces, bracelets, and wild hairdos, with pride!!

  • Earendil7

    Shiloh Lenz from EarendilCollectibles said 5 years ago

    That is so cute! I have done similar things, for other people's kids...I volunteered at a youth group, and worked with the kindergarteners, and I ended up acting a bit silly a few times. :)

  • VeryCarey

    Carey from VeryCarey said 5 years ago

    What a heartwarming story. You're making memories that your kid(s) will remember always with a lot of love. Wish I could remember when I was a fool for my kid but here's this: my daughter and I would spend hours putting jewelry on our siamese cat - who just sat there and took it (what a love). We'd lay heavy necklaces draping down his forehead and around his body and he'd just blink at us. We'd laugh hysterically and perhaps the cat felt like a fool, but he really just loved the attention.

  • OnlyOriginalsByAJ

    AJ Marsden from OnlyOriginalsByAJ said 5 years ago

    What a great story! I don't have any kids of my own, but I have a 3 year old nephew and I'm always making a fool of myself for him. He loves it and I'd do anything for him!

  • JaZrocks

    Josée Charbonneau from JaZrocks said 5 years ago

    I once paid for my grocery at the grocery store with a half of one of those red wax thing from Babybel cheese on my nose. People were looking at me weirdly but who cares? If you're not worth a laugh, you ain't worth much. lol

  • arabbitgirl

    arabbitgirl from arabbitgirl said 5 years ago

    Great story. :) My daughter is 8. I make up characters for her. I talk in a silly voice and pretend i am an imaginary friend. Our imaginary friends include 2 worms who are brothers named Yucky and Fred. They both want to be my daughters boyfriend, she always tells them both that she is their girlfriend and then they get mad and fight over her, theres a chicken who's name is Chuck Chuck , he only says one word its chuck, theres a monster who speaks gibberish she is a tickle monster and loves eating belly buttons, her name is Bloop Bloop.

  • metalicious

    Stephanie Maslow Blackman from metalicious said 5 years ago

    Aw, that's adorable! I love silly, so do my two boys luckily. We usually have a pack of kids running with us around the playground as we pretend we're astronauts, monsters, fish, etc. I love how kids are never afraid to use their imaginations.

  • mimirob

    mimirob from mimirob said 5 years ago

    Good for you! I love to hear about it, and you're making precious memories. ^_^

  • djinnyf

    djinnyf said 5 years ago

    I love the way you write, you make a cute little moment, that anybody will live without enjoying fully, into a poetic souvenir!! Good job! xx

  • slumshirts

    andrea from slumshirts said 5 years ago

    I read the story to my 6 year old daughter.She did not understand it, she looked up and asked what I would do without her. I really don't know.

  • shilenej

    shilene johnson from JohnsonsSmilingFaces said 5 years ago

    Awesome story and kids love when their parents make them smile.

  • newhopebeading

    newhopebeading from newhopebeading said 5 years ago

    Awesome! Yup I'm the silliest Mom on our block... life is too short... enjoy every day because you will turn around and they will be all grown (mine are 10 and 13 now) Thanks for sharing that fun story!

  • kisvinyl

    kisvinyl from kisvinyl said 5 years ago

    I LOVE this story, it is so important to play with your kids and join in on their big imagination. We have all had them as young kids. It is a shame how we lose our imagination as adults.

  • StephanieAllison1987

    Stephanie Hall from MommaHippieCreations said 5 years ago

    What a great moment! We all buy our kids toys and sometimes it takes something simple like a box to make them happier than a room full of toys. Even though my girls have more toys than they know what to do with, they love to drag out my pots and pans and bang away. None of their toys can give them the enjoyment they get out of making music with my dishes:) Great story!

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