I’m coming up on my ninth year of raising children.

I became an instant mother when I married my husband in 2003 and became the step-mom of a four-year old and a three-year-old — Kyle and Mary who are now 13 and 12, respectively. Since then we have had two more children — Ella, 8, and John, 4.

Over the years, the kids have come up with some pretty funny things. It’s interesting to see their little brains working something out and then blurting out something hilarious.

My entire marriage, we have referred to our freezer as a “freeber” because that is how Kyle mispronounced it when he was younger. He also used to say his name was “Kyle Harold Smitch,” instead of “Schmidt.”

While Kyle’s mispronunciations were cute, his sisters Mary and Ella had a different reason for being hilarious. They had (and still have) quirky imaginations.

When Mary was 3, and I was pregnant with Ella, we had a video of one of the ultrasounds. We watched the video and explained to Kyle and Mary that they were going to have a baby sister. We asked them what we should name the baby. Without hesitation Mary said, “Mr. Bobblehead.”

I remember smirking and asking her why she wanted to name her baby sister, Mr. Bobblehead. She looked at me quizzically and said, “Didn’t you see the video?”

Needless to say we referred to in utero Ella as “Bobblehead” for the rest of my pregnancy. Luckily, once she was born, Mary conceded and allowed us to name her, Ella Mildred.

When Mary was about 4 she was thrilled with learning to write her name. She wrote it on EVERYTHING, including several spots on the wall in her brother’s room and several pieces of his furniture.

After I explained to her that she shouldn’t write on the walls and furniture and punished her with a time-out she said, “How did you know it was me?” I said, “Well, it was your name.”

The very next day, I walked into Kyle’s room and found a new spot of graffiti on his wall. It said, “K-Y-L-E.”

Both kids were sitting there, Mary with a huge smirk on her face. I said, “Mary, I thought we discussed only writing on paper yesterday?” Her smirk turned into a frown and she said, “I didn’t do it. It was Kyle.”

Which prompted Kyle to shout, “I didn’t do it!” immediately.

“I said, ‘Mary don’t lie, and you can go sit in the corner for drawing on the wall and lying.’” She grumbled and then flabbergasted said, “How did you know it was me? I wrote Kyle’s name and you still knew.”

Years later a two-year-old Ella was reaching across the dinner table and as I reminded her for the umpteenth time that day to mind her manners, I sternly asked, “Ella Mildred (note the use of the ominous middle name), where are your manners?” Without missing a beat, she replied, “They jumped out the window.”

And then there is John. There is really no explaining John. He is just very different than any of the other kids. He seems to have been born with a sense of humor. He is a classic clown, who lives to make everyone around him laugh.

John has his own rules to life, like peanut butter is called brown butter, but butter knives are peanut butter knives. He calls everyone he meets his “best flend” and has to run up to me every day after I start to leave him at daycare and whisper, “I love you, Mommy.” He is sweet but he has also got the dickens in him.

One morning, when we were running late and I was trying to get John to put his socks on and he kept hiding his feet. I repeatedly told him, “John, you have to put your socks on.” He adamantly told me, “No!” each time. Finally, I asked, “Why don’t you want to wear socks?” He replied with an exasperated tone, “I’m already wearing underwear.”

How his mind works baffles me almost every day. Apparently, no socks required if you’re wearing underwear, which makes me wonder if the opposite is also true.

Ella was talking about what she wanted to be when she grew up one night as we sat around the dinner table. After she finished talking, my husband, Ben, turned to John and had the following conversation.

Ben: What do you want to be when you grow up?

John (after a moment of intense thought): Ummm… a wolf.

John: What do you want to be when you grow up?

Ben: When I was a kid, I wanted to be a truck driver.

John: Nah, you should be a wolf with me.

Although John wants to be a wolf when he grows up, he is currently flanked by a brigade of imaginary monkeys wherever he goes. There is a whole sector of evil monkeys who are responsible for all messes, broken items and screams from his sister. There are also good monkeys that fix things and build cars in John’s pants pockets. He carries them around in his pockets and lets them out to entertain him when he’s bored.

The “monkeys,” although sometimes destructive and very messy, often bring laughter into our household. Recently, I walked into John’s room and found every book off the bookshelf and papers strewn everywhere. I asked John what happened and completely matter-of-factly, John replied, “Oh, my monkeys did that.

Don’t worry, Mom, I already put them in time out.”

In addition to the monkeys, he has various super-hero friends who hang out with him. There is Spider-Man, Batman and a madeup super hero he calls Power Jay.

And then there is the Cheeto Man. The first time he mentioned this guy, I thought maybe it was a ploy to get me to buy him Cheetos. But when I asked him who the Cheeto Man was, he said he was a small man who lives in his pocket, fixes boats and eats donuts. And then tragedy struck.

John pulled air out of his pocket like he was holding a tiny man by the top of his head and said, “This is the Cheeto Man.”

His sister Mary having not heard the spiel about the Cheeto Man’s role in Johns’ life, reached over as if grabbing the Cheeto Man and pretended to pop him into her mouth. John instantly began crying and Mary said, “Sorry here’s your Cheeto back,” as she pretended to spit something into her hand.

John said, “That wasn’t a Cheeto, that was the Cheeto Man and now he’s dead.”

Fortunately, the next day the Cheeto Man was back in John’s pocket and all was right in the world.

Let us know about the cute, crazy, silly, adorable things your kids, grandkids, neighbors, nieces and

nephews say and maybe they’ll be printed in the next edition of Her Voice magazine. Click here to submit online!