Don’t be a dummy

Do you ever have the experience where you say something that seems reasonable to you, only to have your words kick off a landslide of catastrophic consequence that you never could have imagined?

It happened to me last night. And while I wasn’t wishing for the magical power to slip back in time and start over, I had to laugh. Because from a completely uninvolved perspective, it was pretty funny.

See, we spent our weekend assembling some ginormous Ikea cabinetry that we’d purchased in our last-ditch effort to resolve the piles-of clothes-on-the-floor scenario that we’ve called our bedroom for the past 6 years.

It was a weekend of unfortunate events… of torrential downpours at exactly the WRONG time, of erratic and drawn-out traffic jams, of painfully gashing my big toe in exactly the worst spot while trying to move heavy furniture in bare feet… But all that is another story for another day.

At least this gives you an inkling of our state of mind by the time Sunday night rolled around.

The scene: We’re sitting at the dinner table, munching on ravioli and preparing for the bedtime routine. It is already WELL past CJ’s bedtime.

CJ, what do you want to do tomorrow?

I don’t know.

Me: Do you want to go to the Science Center?


Ok. Well I can tell you one thing… you’re not watching TV. You’ve had entirely too much TV this weekend.

(highly dramatic) Awwwww!!!! But WHY, mom?

Because too much TV will ROT YOUR BRAIN!


It will turn you into a dummy!

What’s a dummy?

It’s someone who walks around going…. “Doh…” (lolls tongue, crosses eyes, and generally tries to look dumb)

This is the point where the thing that I thought was funny, entertaining, good for a dinner-time laugh… turned out to be NOT SO MUCH.

My version of funny dummy = CJ’s WORST NIGHTMARE.

CJ: (eyes wide as our dinner plates) That’s a dummy? (stricken expression) Nooooo!!! I don’t want the dummy to come!

Huh? What just happened?

(Jay shrugs in resigned bewilderment. Meanwhile, CJ is escalating into full-on freak out)

Take the TV away! I don’t want the dummies to get me!

CJ, there aren’t dummies. They don’t “get” you…

I’m scared of the dummies! (and he really does seem scared)

(He runs and jumps in my lap, clasping his little arms around my neck. His eyes are bright with unshed tears)


CJ, dummies aren’t scary. They’re just people who act dumb.


But they’re not even real! Well, I mean they’re sort of real, but… (looks beseechingly at Jay for help)

It’s like how some people are mommies, and some people are teachers, and some people are friends…

(whispers loudly) You’re NOT helping…

Some people are dummies?

Jay: (to me) do we know anyone who’s a dummy?


Jay: Well, anyway, sometimes people ACT like dummies. Like when you sprayed water out of the tub all over the bathroom, you were acting like a dummy. But you’re not a dummy.

But I don’t WANT to turn into a dummy!

(hits self on forehead) Heaven help us.

Jay: Nice work, Jen.

Me: Thanks.

CJ: But the dummies can’t get in if all the doors are locked, right?

There’s only one conclusion that can be drawn from all of this:

I’m a dummy. (Shhh! don’t tell CJ!)

And as a dummy, I have to warn you…

Don’t be a dummy.

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  1. Do you think maybe he means zombies? I can’t think of any reason to be scared of dummies except the crash test dummies and they’re funny not scary.

  2. Oh my word. I’m glad to hear someone else is practicing the Foot-In-Mouth Parenting Method.

  3. Dummy monsters? Priceless. I have freaked the kid out more times than I care to count because of something like this that I thought was totally harmless. You know what frightens me? The inner workings of toddlers’ minds.

  4. You have just one the coveted “So Freakin’ Hilarious Kim Made her Husband Read it” award. Congrats!

    He laughed his arse off, by the way.

  5. This cracked me up! My daughter freaked out the other day because Cookie Monster ate flowers and “we’re not supposed to eat flowers!” You can never tell what they are going to think!

  6. CJ’s terror aside, this made me laugh so hard!

    I’m sorry – if it’s any consolation, I’d probably be laughing if it was my own kid – after the fact of course – I don’t usually enjoy terrorizing my kids.

  7. Hilarious! Dummy monsters…who would have thought!

  8. I think he was thinking “mummies.” It’s been a while since I freaked the snot outta my kids – I’ll have to try it tonight…….lol

  9. Wow. Dummies! I’ve pulled similar unintentional surprise horrors on my kids. Too funny!

  10. Poor little guy!

  11. Poor baby!!

    You better lock all those doors.

  12. OMG, hilarious!

  13. Been there, traumatized kids in much the same way.
    It takes talent to do that, my friend.

  14. Hahaha! Poor kid!

    That will teach you NOT to lie about the effects of watching too much TV ;)

  15. Don’t you love those misunderstandings that land you in the midst of a never-ending explanatory loop …

    You’ll have to update this!

  16. I guess t.v. isn’t so bad for them after all! Seriously, it’s funny and sucky at the same time. It’s usually my hubby that has something backfire in our house and it happens way too often.

  17. Ahh poor CJ.

    Hope he’s feeling better now.

    I’m a little scared of dummies too.

  18. At least CJ won’t be asking to watch TV again anytime soon. Scaring him out of his mind aside, you’ve solved the too-much-TV dilemma!

  19. I definitely didn’t see that coming! Too funny!

  20. That’s hilarious!

  21. I’m a member of the dummy club.

  22. That’s “tears rolling down my face” funny!
    Shh.. i’m afraid of dummies too!!

  23. Just wait until he brings this new found word out for a test drive at the most inappropriate moment…”Hey, mommy, is that guy standing in front of us one of those dummies you were talking about?”

  24. Hilarious. I am glad other mamas do this kind of thing too. I’m the dummy all the time around here.

  25. NICE BLOG.

  26. I have been reading your blog for about 2 months and I LOVE it. This post was too funny. My husband thought it was great as well.

  27. Oh well, this blog is interesting.. Hahaha. Keep it up ;-)

  28. What a great post! And I think you’re right about not telling the kid he has a “dummy mummy”!

  29. I made the mistake of telling my mother in law, as my then, 2 year old was within earshot, as a storm was approaching, “We’ve got to hurry, cause the bottom is getting ready to drop” WHOA! The nightmares and screams that followed with the often question of, Is the bottom falling yet Mommy? We never used that expression again!

  30. I know I’m like a year late on posting a comment, but I’ve got to say that was one of the funniest stories I’ve ever read.

    Earlier tonight I managed to scare my 3 year old much like you did. I’d given her a fortune cookie and she brought the fortune to me to read. “Look around you. Fortune is everywhere.” She completely freaked out and was terrified for an hour that Fortune was gonna get her.

    Great story!!!!

    Mommy Citys last blog post..My Very Lazy Dog

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