Childhood theories

girl and mom

It’s interesting growing up and realizing that adults don’t know everything after all. Like many have said, I had my suspicions as a kid, but didn’t realize the situation was quite this dire.  As a child, I had no idea I was watching my mom grow up right along with me.

I just assumed that my mother, like all adults, knew everything. Obviously, she was a bona fide grown-up. She could drive a car and eat cookies whenever she wanted. Adulthood had such privilege. She was wise.


It was only when I had children myself and, for the most part, made it all up as we went along, that I realized how little we really know.

Still, it is fun to realize the kind of crazy things I did believe were the gospel truth as a child. I believed that it was illegal to turn on the interior light in the car while my mom was driving. I’m not saying she lied to me outright, but she didn’t disabuse me of that notion. As an aside, how terrible a driver are you that the presence of a dome light makes you unable to drive? Get it together people.

I was certain that if I touched a frog — or worse, it peed on me, that I would get warts. I’m still not entirely sure this isn’t true? Science is not my strong suit. I prefer not to risk it.

That thunder was angels bowling. I just knew that the moon followed us. I don’t know what other people did for moonlight. Perhaps they had their own moons? The one above was mine. I could prove this because when we drove anywhere in the car the moon followed along.


I was convinced that alligators lived in sewers. Again, I am not willing to prove this wrong.

I absolutely believed that in the days of landline phones, there was only one phone line for the whole world. If we heard a “busy signal” trying to call Grandpa, then there was no sense trying to call my friend either. Obviously, the phone line was in use.

I bought into the theory that eating carrots would improve my eyesight. I ate carrots often and still ended up with terrible eyesight. Someone owes me an explanation.  The poor eyesight probably stemmed from sitting too close to the television. Ironically, I grew up to sit inches away from a phone or computer screen for hours every day. If only I had eaten more carrots.


I knew that I could dig a hole to China. I wouldn’t, because that sounds too much like work, but the potential was there.  I worried that if I stepped on a crack I would break my mother’s back. She was a little strict sometimes, but I loved her, so I didn’t risk it. She was the only person in our household allowed to operate the stove.

I was told that if I stuck my hand out the car window while the vehicle was moving, my hand would fly off. As a trusting child, it never occurred to me that in all my time in the car I had never seen a severed hand fly by?

I knew that if I swallowed a watermelon seed, a watermelon would grow in my stomach. Bubble gum, on the other hand, would stay in my stomach forever if swallowed.  Even more distressing, I believed for years that if I crossed my eyes they would stay that way.

I also believed that if I rolled my eyes “one more time” my mother would “slap me into next week.” That last one, however, was probably true.


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.



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