Greysonisms and Violetisms, Volume I: Quarantine Winter Edition

The minds of my children are a pair of treasure chests, so it’s no surprise that their mouths expel glistening gems on a daily basis. Gems, I tell you.

I feel like I live on the set of Kids Say the Darnedest Things, except that my kids usually have no idea that they’re saying anything cute or profound. So I try to keep a straight face and not let them know that they’re spitting diamonds. Which is to say, I affirm them warmly but don’t convey to them how adorable it all is. (Then I hunker down in my Notes app for a quick transcription before their words fade in my mind.)

What follows is a carefully curated collection of quotes from Greyson (4½) and Violet (2½). For the time being, Greyson has a lion’s share of the cute-quote spotlight because of his sheer verbosity and his more highly developed penchant for pontificating.

All of the following quotes and exchanges took place between December 2020 and March 2021, which will henceforth be known as “the quarantine winter.” This was easily the most exhausting and weighed-down season of my life, or our life as a family. Which just goes to show that, especially when you have kids, the warmth of life can bloom from even the most frozen tundra.

So enjoy these warm, sparkling, budding, glistening, blooming diamonds. (And please forgive my mixed metaphors.)


Violet and Greyson were bird-watching at the dining room window. Our clothes-obsessed (and bird-curious) daughter stood on tiptoes next to her bird-obsessed brother.

Violet: “Blue-bird, hum-bird, fly, coat, shoes!”

Greyson: “Birds don’t wear coats or shoes! Or hats or pants or shirts or anything at all!”


On a hike with the kids, I mentioned something about a creek bed. Greyson, our boundlessly curious linguist who is constantly making connections in his mind, offered the following aquatic rumination:

Greyson: “Creek bed, stream bed, river bed… Does a sink or a bathtub have a bed?”


Two of our family’s most memorable trips have been to Ottawa. And because I miss Canada so much and eagerly await being able to cross their border again, I introduced Greyson to “O Canada.” He listened intently but was confused about one of the lines in the song.

Me: “Ooooh Canada, we stand on guard… for… thee…”

Greyson: “On guard for the what?”


While taking the kids on a drive, I played an album by Hammock called Everything and Nothing. (Side note: I very, very highly recommend Hammock.) Greyson always loves to know album and song titles, and he has an uncanny ability to remember them. When I told them what this album was called, he asked a probing metaphysical question:

Greyson: “How can there be everything but also nothing? That couldn’t happen. If there’s lots of things, there can’t be nothing!”


Greyson excitedly ran into my office, holding one of his hundreds of animals cards. With wide eyes, he said:

Greyson: “This says that elephants can be domesticated! But how could an elephant even fit through a door?”


Vi is similarly goofy and equally talkative, but not quite as easily transcribe-able. Here is my recollection of one of her favorite utterances from a few months ago, variations of which she euphorically recited on a daily basis throughout the holiday and post-holiday season. I love how affirmational it is! We should all aspire to be this positive and affirming.

Violet: “Mama great! Papa great! Bruvva great! Vi great! Mimi great! Gray-pa great! Jan great! Erin great! Vada great! Arlo great! Pad Thai great! Soup great! Day-o yites [our neighbor Dale’s Christmas lights] great! Charley great!”

(And on and on with her aunts, uncles, and any of her 9 Covid-distanced cousins besides baby Charley whose names she can remember on a given day.)


And here’s a new Violetism from this very morning! I was taking my pajama-clad girl for a walk in the woods just after sunrise.

Me: “Violet, how much does Papa love you?”

Violet: [grins roguishly]

Me: [trying to feed her the answer] “A l– …”

Violet: “A-leven!”


We watched the 2021 inauguration with our kids, our eyes as wide with relief as theirs were with the wonder that constantly animates them. In the days afterward, Greyson and I had the following exchange in the dark while he fell asleep:

[total silence]

Greyson: “Why haven’t there been any girl Presidents?

Me: “That’s a great question, buddy. It’s because a lot of people used to think girls shouldn’t be presidents. And some people — not as many, but some — still think that, which is very sad.”

Greyson: [thinks about this for 10 seconds] “But somebody must think there should be a girl vice president.”


This exchange took place a week before that one, and it was also in the dark shortly before Greyson fell asleep. That has proven to be one of the best times for these fun and eye-opening interactions.

Me: “I don’t have to work on Monday because of…”

Greyson: “Martin Luther King Jr. Day!” [tone quickly shifts] “But he died…”

Me: “Yes, he did.”

Greyson: “And lots of presidents died too.”

Me: “That’s right, they did.”

Greyson: “But Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama are staying alive!”

Thanks a lot for reading! Feel free to like and comment directly on my Facebook post… unless you somehow found this page while browsing the interwebs, in which case I’m honored. (And surprised, since I don’t yet know how to actually promote my page.) I hope you enjoyed getting to know my kids. They’re incredibly well worth knowing, so feel free to follow my page to follow our adventures!

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