My Kid is a Weirdo And I Really Shouldn’t Be Surprised

weirdo kidBoy via Shutterstock

My six-year-old son was talking in Burrito again. It’s a language he created. More or less, he repeats the word, “burrito” over and over again, but with influxes in volume and tone. He ends the word a little higher when asking a question. Or he says the word down low, his face looking somber, to show disappointment. And he repeats the word quickly, at a high pitch when trying to show anger. He thinks this is hilarious.

I do not.

In fact, I find it really irritating. It was 8AM on a Saturday, and that was part of the problem. I’d just gotten up. I wasn’t in the mood to speak to Tristan in Burrito, but that didn’t matter. He was in his Skylanders underwear, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, tugging at my pants, and pointing at something he wanted, probably the candy on the top of the fridge, and saying, “burrito” over and over and over.

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“Tristan,” I said. “I’m not in the mood for this. I just got up. Tell me what you want. In English please.”

“Burrito,” he said.

“Cool,”  I said. “Then you get nothing.”

He didn’t give up. He tugged harder on my pants, almost pulling them off, repeating that stupid word, and pointing, as though I would eventually figure it out. But I didn’t figure it out, nor did I want to figure it out. It just all seemed so asinine at the time. The boy can speak. In fact, he can speak well. He can read. He can communicate his thoughts and desires when he wants to. As someone who has studied English for several years, I find this to be a valuable life skill. I want my kids to be able to express themselves fluently, and clearly. I want them to be able to express their desires and frustrations, because I think it promotes personal change and introspection. I had no idea how speaking in Burrito was going to help him think at a higher level.

The strange thing is, outside of him speaking in Burrito, which is strange by itself, is that he thinks the word “burrito” is f-ing hilarious. He won’t eat a burrito, mind you. He won’t eat anything other than ramen noodles, dinosaur-shaped meat, and mac-n-cheese. He also enjoys Lucky Charms, but he really only eats the marshmallows, so I don’t fully count that as part of his regular diet.

The most he knows about burritos is that they have been offered to him. He always looks at the burrito with terror, like it is a long dark cave. He then promptly turns it down. So I don’t fully understand where he picked up this burrito language.

I just know that it drives me nuts, and I often wonder how long it will last. How long will he speak in burrito? How long will he find this nonsensical language to be hilarious? Is he going to be that kid in high school who answers the question: What is the capital of New Mexico? with the answer, Burrito?

Will he think he is being funny, while in fact he is being offensive?

I looked down at him standing on the kitchen floor, still repeating the word burrito, and pointing, and all I wanted to do was put my hands over his mouth, not out of anger, but out of fear, because frankly, he looked a lot like I did at his age, stocky and blue-eyed, with an obnoxious dimpled grin. But most importantly, he didn’t only remind me of the way I looked at six-years-old, but also the way I acted, and the irritating things I did in the name of humor.

I crouched down, looked him square in the eyes, and said, “Tristan. I don’t want to hear the word burrito again for the rest of the day. Just tell me what you want, in English, and I will get it for you. No matter what it is. This is a free pass. Before you say anything, realize what you have here. You could ask for a box of cookies, and I would get it for you. And you could eat all of it. $100, it’s yours. All you have to do is ask in a language I can understand. Ok? Do you get what I’m saying right now?”

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“Burrito,” he said.

He followed the word with a sly smile, his face seemed to say, I don’t care what you have to offer, I’m here for my own amusement and that is priceless!

I sent him to his room.

And in that moment, I wondered if speaking in Burrito was a punishable offense. Was I overstepping my bounds as a father?

All I could think about were all the times I got mocked, pushed, and slapped around for being a weirdo. I thought about all the girls that had given me a smile that seemed to say, You’re cute. And then I spoiled the deal by making a funny face, or a fart sound with my armpit. And I wondered if he was, somehow, following in my footsteps. And I wondered if putting him in his room was going to change the poor genes I’d obviously given him.

About the writer


Clint Edwards is the author of the humorous book on parenting This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things and No Idea What I’m Doing: A Daddy Blog. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.


Pam 1 year ago

I’m raising twin (now 11 yr. old) weirdos and lovin’ it about 99.5% of the time. The female meows. Runs around in the cold in bare feet. Likes long toe nails. Doesn’t like “girly” things. The male likes to shake his booty. And hug. While blowing away virtual soldiers in Black Ops or trolling his sister in Minecraft. He is simultaneously weirdo and typically male, so I have NO idea what to do with him.

Ginger 1 year ago

In our home the word/term ‘weirdo’ is a badge of honor. I am a weirdo, am married to a weirdo and ALL 5 of my sons are weird in one way or another. It is quite common for hubby and I to have this conversation: Me- ‘You, honey are a weirdo!’ Him- “And YOU are a weirdo liker! Nyah’ 😀 With my children at any given time, “You are so weird!” their response? “Of course! You MADE me!”

We are all weird because at any given time we tend to do things way out of the norm for most people. It could be one child running around the house in circles screaming that we need a bat signal because apparently the bats don’t know we have hordes of bugs outside just ready for the taking….it could be another of my sons holding his arms close to his sides while flapping his hands furiously with a strange grin on his face as he repeats the phrase ‘Zombie slapper for hire’ over and over….
And I have been accused of being an evil weirdo nemesis after they found out from friends, that the ‘games’ we played all over the house were actually ‘chores’ hehehehe And we have been known to play the quiet game constantly! Whom ever speaks, squeaks or causes a sound loses….they always wanna win…another ‘win’ for me… and to get them to behave? All I’ve had to do is threaten to sing ‘the song that never ends’ works EVERY time! We have learned that most of time being a weirdo is just being completely ourselves, one hundred percent without condemnation and thinking outside the box is ALWAYS more fun, challenging and rewarding.

Tracey Rediker 1 year ago

I got two norms, still trying to figure out how THAT happened

Barbara Howell Ariens 1 year ago

I have a7 yr old grandson that ha 2+ characters he slips into at his whim….sometimes I think to help deal with situations….but you have to treat/talk totally deal with him as that animal (real or mythical). When I visit I sometimes want to say “ok let’s talk normal” but what’s normal at what age . I admire his imagination,he’s a brilliant kid and I’ll keep playing along

Jenna Davis-Waite 1 year ago

Bahaha! I’d best remember this when my daughter does something random

Maggie Clingman 1 year ago

My 2 year old son is a weird little ball of anxiety and social awkwardness just like me and his 1 year old brother is just like my husband.

Mela 1 year ago

Trust when I say you’d be doing him a huge disservice by not teaching him social cues and the inappropriateness of humor at the wrong time. I know adults who were always coddled and approved of at home, only to leave the nest and land abruptly in the real world as a socially awkward outcast that most other people avoid.
Sometimes the need to teach a person how to be moderately socially acceptable trumps the risk of squelching creativity.

Hannah Elliott 1 year ago

My child meows. Randomly. Finally got him to stop doing a weird high pitched whistle every 7 minutes and it’s been replaced with an equally obnoxious cat noise.

Loren Gershon Reif 1 year ago

Our boys could should be best amigos…my 8 year old randomly shouts “I like tacos” super loud throughout the day wherever we may be. Followed by “I also like donkeys!” His vote for his summer camp team name was, you guessed it, the “Taco Donkeys” and my 4 year old twins flail their arms up and down while jumping and saying “I’m a flappy unicorn.” My boys are bananas and I 100% support their weirdness!!!!

Wanda Clark 1 year ago

Oh my god, my son speaks in “chicken thigh” over and over, he replaces words with it constantly. Even when other kids look at him funny and tease him he perseveres. I kind of love him for that.

Jordan 1 year ago

Haha too funny! My 4 year old niece has random weirdo phases. This last month she has been a dog. On hands and knees wants her water in a bowl on the floor will eat her cereal on the floor with no spoon. Picks up her toys with her teeth and brings them to you and wants you to throw them for her to fetch. Curl up in your lap and lick your face. If you say something she doesn’t like she growls at you. Yes it gets annoying but luckily she has only done it in the privacy of our home and not in public


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