• Wed, Feb 12 - 9:00 am ET

8 Crazy Things You Thought As A Kid That Make No Sense Today

childI love the minds of children.

I’m still waiting for the day when my son will tell me his strange theories on life that will absolutely blow my mind—but I have a few years to go since he’s only two and has yet to string a sentence together.

Still, I took great joy in reading this Reddit thread. Reddit users shared all of the weird ass things that they thought were gospel truth when they were kids, before they had an understanding of the great big world out there.

Amidst these crazy childhood theories, there’s always a thread of wisdom. Here are eight of the best childhood misconceptions that maybe, just maybe, make a little bit of sense:

1.    Age isn’t nothing but a number.

R1

I can’t completely identify with this one because I was the oldest kid. But I do know that my brother and sister always wanted to be older than me. I sure got the last laugh.

2.    Fair gas prices for everyone!

R2

Man, if only this were true. I would gladly pay $4 for a full tank of gas.

3.    The freeway is just a giant race track.

R3

Sometimes I feel that way when I’m zipping around like a bad ass in my Honda Fit, and then I remember that I’m just late for an appointment.

4.    Airplanes take you to a country in the sky.

R4

I really, really wish this one was true. If Spain was located above the clouds in the sky, I’d feel totally justified in draining my savings to fly there.

5.    One day, you will wake up with a beard.

R5

This is a frightening thought, even though it feels that way sometimes. Some days, I look in the mirror and wonder what a 20-year-old is doing in a 30-year-old’s body.

6.    Paprika is obviously the baby of Salt and Pepper.

R6

This one just made me go, Awwwww. It also gives a whole new meaning to Baby Spice of the Spice Girls.

7.    That dirty baby needs a shower.

R7

Let’s all gather round and watch a baby take a shower! And bring some gifts, while you’re at it!

8.    Congratulations, now you’re having a… girl!

R8

This one makes the most sense to me by far. Life would be much more interesting if the big Gender Reveal was tied to the slip of a doctor’s instrument.

(photo: Getty Images)

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  • jane

    Both of my children referred to the time when they would “grow down” and become babies again. As in, you go through a period of “growing up” and therefore you must also obviously grow back down at some point.

  • lpag

    I used to think you had a baby by getting married. As in, at the end of your wedding, you got a baby. And if you wanted another baby, you had to have another wedding. I remember hearing my best friend had a new baby sister and wondering why we hadn’t been invited to the wedding :-)

    • Bethany Ramos

      Omg I want another wedding for my second baby!

  • Megan Zander

    I used to think everything on TV was live, like a video feed I could see, so on Easter when they always played The Wizard of Oz I wondered why they didn’t get bored of playing that same game with the munchkins or why Dorothy would never let the green lady share her red shoes.

    • G.E. Phillips

      Very similar to my radio theory!!!

    • Mystik Spiral

      I thought that tv shows were filmed in the era in which they were set. When I got older I finally realized that they probably didn’t have video cameras in the Little House on the Prairie…

    • leeannabelle

      I was in my late teens before I learned that Happy Days wasn’t really filmed in the 50s. I always wondered why Henry Winkler didn’t look as old as I thought he should.

    • KarenMS

      I thought this about my mom’s cassette tapes; I always wondered how Paul Simon knew to sing when we put in the tape! consequently, I went through a period of time where I wanted to a background singer on a *specific* Paul Simon song when I grew up.

  • Shea

    This one was the result of my dad, who liked to make up random bullshit explanations for things, but when I was five or six, I asked my dad where neatsfoot oil came from (I grew up with horses, so there was always neatsfoot oil around for maintaining leather tack). He told me that it came from the feet of neats, which were small, weasel-like creatures. I envisioned neat farms, where periodically the neats would be rounded up and have their feet squeezed for oil. I was very concerned about the squished feet of the poor little neats.

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      DADS. My dad told me that naugahyde was made from the skins of wee little naugas. I pictured them looking like moles sort of.

    • Williwaw

      Save the naugas! And the neats!

    • Armchair Observer

      But the bratingas? Get the f off my lawn!

    • jane

      OMG – my dad said the same thing. DADS.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Oh my God I totally did this to my daughter when she asked me where Bratwurst comes from. I made up a fake animal called a Bratinga and said that they’re such a nuisance they’re just shot on sight in Germany and made into delicious sausage and sent to America.

    • Williwaw

      My much older cousin showed us the jars of canned crabapples her mom had made and told us they were cow’s eyeballs. After that, I refused to eat anything my aunt had canned. (Hey, they looked like cow’s eyeballs.)

    • Kay_Sue

      They really do. That’s legit. I don’t blame your younger self at all.

    • Jallun-Keatres

      LOL my FIL is a troll dad and my husband is committed to following suit.

    • Shea

      When I have kids, I plan to be Troll Mom. It’s gonna be hi-larious.

    • AlexMMR

      My dad used to do this too! One day in my thirties I suddenly realized, hey wait a minute….the sky isn’t blue because it’s a reflection of all the blue water on earth! WTF Dad?

    • http://ichasekids.com/ Litterboxjen

      My dad used to wear a signet ring on his pinky, and I always tried to pull it off. He used to say there was a pin that went through his finger, so we wouldn’t be able to remove it. I wasted a lot of brain time trying to figure out how that was possible. (Same with his threat about how he was going to “lick your lips and stick you to the ceiling” — tried to figure out how the suction would work, even when I knew it wasn’t actually possible.)

  • G.E. Phillips

    Face seems to believe, no matter what I tell him, that we are just taking turns being the parent and the child. He’s always like, “One day, when I’m the Mommy and YOU’RE the kid, I’m going to let you get so many big toys!” I can’t tell if he truly thinks that’s how it works, or if he’s just trying to psychologically manipulate me into buying him more Batman shit.
    Also, when I was little, I remember believing that the songs you heard on the radio were being played live, that the bands would come to the radio station, play their song when it was their turn, and then go back to the end of the line to wait to play it again. That theory went out the window when John Lennon died, and I was still hearing Beatles songs all the time.

    • Bethany Ramos

      I love both of these stories SO much.

    • Armchair Observer

      I used to think that, before being a little kid, I was a teenager. I would say things like ‘when I was a teenager, I saw NKOTB.’

    • Shannon

      My son does this all the time! He tells me how he’ll do things when he’s the grownup and I’m the kid. He also mixes up past and future tenses, with hilarious results. He told us last week that was an astronaut when he was 100.

    • leeannabelle

      Some people — obviously crazy ones — use this as proof of reincarnation because they believe children are actually talking about their past lives. Scary.

    • A.P.

      Just wanted to chime in about a small thing….many religions believe in reincarnation (Hinduisms, Buddhism etc.) so to call that idea crazy is pretty rude.

    • A.P

      Meant to also mention that I am a Hindu trying to raise Hindu children in the US so I’m a bit touchy about this topic. There are always some little children who learn intolerance at home and tell my little boy he is crazy because his religion is weird. I didn’t mean to lecture you, I’m just over-sensitive about this.

    • leeannabelle

      Yeah, ok. You obviously read my comment wrong. People who use the fact that children mess up their verb tenses as undeniable proof of reincarnation are crazy. The people I’ve heard do this are Christians.

      I don’t think religious beliefs are beyond scrutiny, but I’d never tell a child he’s crazy. That’s just majorly insensitive.

    • Amber Stacey Larsson

      I had a kid tell me that “when he was a grown up”, he used to have a pet tortoise with spikes. I too as a child apparently believed that you lived life backwards before living it forwards and I told my mum I “remembered” a new house we just moved into.

    • lin

      My 3 year old daughter often talks about when she will be mommy and look after me when I am a baby. She honestly doesn’t get that time is linear.

  • Ddaisy

    I believed that Disneyland, Scotland, and heaven were geographically adjacent because they were all places my family talked about wanting to go one day.

    I also thought that every time I heard a song on the radio, the singer actually had to come into the studio and sing it again on live broadcast. It never occurred to me that it was just a recording.

    • G.E. Phillips

      So it wasn’t just me!!!!

    • neighbor57

      I used to wonder about musicals. How did bands just happen to be where these people were? And how did they know all the words right away? And did everyone just know how to dance perfectly all together?

      I was also very worried about tv shows where people got killed. Because obviously they were real people (not cartoons — I wasn’t STUPID). So I decided they must have hired people who were already on death row and promised their families a lot of money if they’d let themselves be killed to make a movie. That explanation worked great for me until the day I saw a movie in which a child died.

  • Joanne

    When I was a child I wanted to be a truck driver when I grew up. I believed that they got to drive around all the time and stay in hotels every night and eat in restaurants every day. Who wouldn’t want that life?

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      One of my lit professors argued that they’re the only true cowboys left (always traveling the open road, moving a product). You may have been on to something.

  • JulySheWillFly

    I always thought car blinkers told you my parents which way to turn. I didn’t know my parents were the ones activating them. And years later? GPS. I was way ahead of my time.

    • pineapplegrasss

      This is what my son thought! I was following the directions lol. How does it know where you want to go mommy?

    • Amber Stacey Larsson

      YES I did this one!!

    • DC

      My mom convinced me that all she had to do was think about which way she wanted the car to turn and the blinker would automatically come on.

    • neighbor57

      I figured it was somehow attached to my dad’s brain through invisible wires. So the blinker automatically came on.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    I thought my teachers lived at school.

    • Megan Zander

      Yes! The first time I saw a teacher out at the store I was so upset I started crying!

    • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

      We ran into my grade 3 teacher at the store, buying food (teachers need to eat???) and my mom was talking to her and used her first name (teachers have names???) and yeah it blew my mind because I had no idea they had lives outside of school. God, kids are so self-centred!

    • teacher

      You mean we don’t?! Haha. Feels like we do sometimes

    • Kay_Sue

      I got to miss this one because my mom was a teacher, lol. But I had friends that legitimately argued the point with me…

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      There used to be a commercial, I think it was on Nickelodeon a few years ago, that interviewed kids and one basically thought teachers were pretty much vampires. They would die if they left the school.

    • E. Simms

      I’m a ballet instructor and myself and many of my peers have had this conversation happen in public… Student recognizes you at the mall/grocery store/church/restaurant and loudly says, “Miss [Teacher]! I didn’t recognize you with clothes on!” Apparently my students seem to think I only ever wear tights, a leotard, and ballet skirt as that’s all they see me in. However it is both hilarious and mortifying to see the reactions of the uninformed.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Haha! And now ridiculously thankful I only teach English :)

  • Véronique Houde

    I thought that the cartoon characters on TV actually LIVED in the TV and was always trying to peak into the back of the TV to see them performing

  • guest

    I got lost once as a child, it took me years to figure out how my parents knew I crossed the “big” road on my bike. I was two blocks from our house.

  • Williwaw

    My little brother, much younger than me, commented on my 24th birthday, that “You’re twice my age now. So when I’m 24, you’ll be 48!” (Happily for me, it doesn’t work that way, or I’d be in my 60s now.)

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    Reading the thread reminded me of a few of mine. When I was a kid, I told my mom that “Katie’s mom was drinking and driving when she picked us up yesterday”. My mom was horrified until she realized I meant that she was drinking coffee.

    I also remember a really embarrassing moment hanging out with my best friend, who was a year older than me, and I noticed a napkin (aka maxipads) dispenser in the washroom and told her (loudly) how stupid it was that people would pay 10 cents for a napkin when they had them for free on the table. She was mortified and whispered to me, “they’re not regular napkins, they’re WOMEN’S NAPKINS” and I nodded along even though I still had no idea what she was talking about. My mom hadn’t had “the talk” with me yet.

    • Hibbie

      I made the first mistake as well. I freaked out and started crying when my dad was driving and drinking a Diet Coke. I was convinced the cops were hot on our trail. I give him props for keeping a straight face when I finally confessed why I was so upset.

    • Kat

      Same here! I scolded my dad when he opened a can of Sprite in the car. “Daddy, you shouldn’t drink and drive.” He had to explain to me that it didn’t apply to sodas.

    • Hibbie

      Man, that was one pervasive anti-drunk driving campaign!

    • AlexMMR

      I would yell at my dad whenever the speedometer went even one mile above the speed limit. It’s a LIMIT damnit, not a recommendation!

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      OMG if this was true, I never drive “sober.”

    • Ddaisy

      ME TOO!!! :)

    • Buffy

      Muahha, my daughter thought that my coffee was alcohol because she’s been forbidden to sip it ( same with coke etc ). So she told everyone that “mommy always drinks alcohol, especially in the morning”. Well, we were able to set it straight because she also told them “alcohol is hot, black and in a cup”.

  • John Smith

    Very fair and in last i was also thought my sons thinks too likely me.
    http://www.fetpak.com

  • Snarktopus

    I had days of the week socks, and I thought if I wore them on the wrong day, I would be arrested. *shrugs*

    • Bethany Ramos

      You should be. ;)

    • pineapplegrasss

      I had days of the week undies :)

  • natalie

    My dad told me Santa was an oil billioniare and that’s why he lived in the north pole and could give everyone presents. I told that to all my friends. We all believed it. It still makes sense to me. I also believed that by growing up to be ‘anything’, I could absolutely become a cat, so that’s what I told people. I also thought colleges didn’t have names and were just random initials, so I would tell people I want to go to “ABC college to become a cat” or “LMNOP college to become a cat when I grow up”.

    • Bethany Ramos

      So much awwwwwwww!

    • SusannahJoy

      yup, I was going to be a raccoon when I grew up.

  • Kay_Sue

    I am pretty sure that #5 happened. No beard, mind, just one stubborn dark hair that always seems to take hold on my upper lip…but the rest. ;)

    I was a firm believer in #1 in kindergarten. I argued it with a kid a good bit older than me, and he got the last laugh too. Or did I? I don’t know how you’d decide that in this scenario, lol.

    I am ashamed to admit that I spent FAR too long believe that paprika was a mix of salt and pepper. I eventually rectified that, but I blame Blue’s Clues entirely. And I wasn’t a fan of it–I got stuck watching it when my sister would turn it on…so really, I was old enough to know better.

  • JulesInFL

    I didn’t have a great grasp of our banking system at a young age, and always wondered why my mom didn’t just write a check for a huge sum of money when she got it cashed at the grocery store. Because then we could just be rich.

    • Mystik Spiral

      OMG, I was just about to write that one!! Whenever we wanted something and my mom said she didn’t have the money, I assumed by money she meant cash, and I always wondered… “Why doesn’t she just write a check?”

    • lin

      My kids tell me to just go to the money store. They don’t quite get the bank…

  • Kat

    I remember watching ads on TV for furniture and the price would be $1999 for the set. But they’d pronounce it (to me at least) like $19.99, and I asked my mom why everything was so inexpensive.

  • Surly Canuck

    I used to think every country had its own planet so when the USSR broke up, I was pretty confused. Why weren’t people upset, didn’t a planet just explode?

  • Mystik Spiral

    I thought there were people under the streets whose jobs were to operate stoplights from some sort of massive control panel.

  • Jallun-Keatres

    Looooool at #3!

    When I was little I thought everyone had the same relative quota that I did, complete with the same names. One time at preschool someone’s uncle came to pick her up and I actually said “[classmate], your Scott’s here!”

    Another time I “convinced” my mom that there was a secret door in the closet that led to another world. I posed as a girl named “Dana” that I would tell to go say hi to my mom. She played along but I felt bad that she actually believed me (I didn’t know she was playing along LOL) so I confessed and told her I made it up.

    This one’s not exactly the same but when I lost my first tooth I thought I broke it out of my mouth so I became hysterical- crying, freaking out about it. My mom had to say “Wait wait wait that’s SUPPOSED to happen!” I immediately calmed down. I’d never read a book/been told/seen a cartoon about losing teeth and my sister with her messed up mouth has no bottom front teeth and lost her first long after me.

    I also thought my grandpa and uncle cared about our family hurrrr harrr har har hashtag sarcasm

    • Williwaw

      My brother also freaked out when he lost his first tooth, since he lost it quite early and my parents hadn’t warned him. My mom told him it was normal, etc., but he insisted on going to visit our next-door neighbour, who was a dentist, for a second opinion.

  • Rachel Sea

    My mom told me that the reflectors on the road made a noise when you drove over them, so any time we crossed a road I would stomp on the reflectors thinking that if I landed hard enough they would beep or buzz or something.

  • Robotic Arms Dealer

    Wait, #3 isn’t real??? wait…

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    When I was a kid I thought men impregnated women by going to the seed store, buying seeds and feeding the seeds to their wife. And I was always so confused as to why she couldn’t just go to the store herself.

    • Itpainsmetosay

      That’s the most feminist kid thought ever

  • Jessica

    When I was a kid, I thought that if I chewed my nails and swallowed them, they would collect on my appendix and it would burst. I imagined a really gross organ covered in slivers of fingernails. I’m certain that my parents told this to me to get me to stop chewing on my nails. They deny it. Damn liars.

  • Rana

    I thought little people lived in the traffic lights and would flip different light switches to change whatever color the light was.

    I also was responsible for one of these misconceptions ;) When we were little “Get off of my cloud” was always on the radio and my sister asked me what it meant, and I told her the guy was saying “get off of my clouf” and that a “clouf” was a hot air balloon. She spent YEARS thinking that a hot air balloon was also called a “clouf” and was PISSED when she was probably in high school and realized that no one else knew what the hell a clouf was. I was such a jerk!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Hahahha

  • Itpainsmetosay

    I totally believed the last one, so glad I’m not alone in being confused.

  • pineapplegrasss

    one of mine used to shove tampons under the bathroom door bc that was the special stuff mommy wipes with lol

  • Amber Stacey Larsson

    I once baked a cake and the recipe told me that when it was ready, the middle would “spring back when pressed lightly” so I thought my cake was going to turn ring-shaped and the middle was going to disappear into the edges when I pressed it. I have no idea where I got this idea, I guess I just didn’t realise ring-shaped cakes are that way because of the tin. Embarrassingly I was like 9 years old when this happened.

  • neighbor57

    I was a conspiracy theorist as a child. I believed that there really wasn’t any night, but that the adults pulled a huge curtain over the sky when they wanted us to go to bed. At a certain point in your life, you got clued into the big secret, but you had to promise not to tell the kids.

    I also thought my parents were kidnappers. One would wear the Mom suit for a week or so and the other would wear the Dad suit. Then they’d switch when they got bored.

    • Bethany Ramos

      This is too awesome.

    • Cakes

      I was convinced that I was adopted. Even after my mom showed me pictures of her in the hospital right after she gave birth me. I was just like, “Nope, that’s not me.” If I remember correctly I was adopted from Russia and my real name was Anastasia and my real parents were Natasha and Sergei. I honestly have no idea where I came up with that one.

  • Alicia Kiner

    My neighbor had me convinced he was growing rocks in a 5 gallon bucket of water. Every couple of days he’d switch out the first for a slightly bigger, similarly shaped rock. He and my dad thought it was hilarious that I was so gullible. I was 4.

  • KarenMS

    I definitely thought babies came out of the belly button for a while.

    • Buffy

      Yes! So did I! Because I knew the imbecile cord connects mother and baby so it seemed only logical.;-) I believed it longer than I care to think about. When we watched a childbirth video in school ( I was about 9-10years old) I really was shocked to see the baby coming out of the vagina, but I never told anyone because I instantly felt stupid.

  • blh

    When I was 3 my cousin was born and my aunt had a c-section so I thought that’s how all babies came out. When I was a little older I thought they came out your butt. I honestly couldn’t fathom a baby coming out of a vagina. I thought they were just for peeing.

  • Cakes

    When I was younger I asked my mother where China was, she told me it’s “Across the world.” Well, across the world to me was how far I could see from of my bedroom window. I live on the border of Canada, so from my bedroom window I could see all the lights from the Canadian city my town borders. For a while I thought Canada was actually China.

  • Cakes

    I also used to think that the people on television actually lived IN the T.V. I thought that you could pull the back of the T.V. off and there would be a bunch of little people living in there, just hanging out.

  • Buffy

    I firmly believed my parents had a baby hidden in the attic because of all the baby clothes and other baby stuff (of course, MY old stuff).

    But I never talked about it because I thought it’s a big secret and just hoped that someday they’ll might think I was trustworthy enough to introduce me to my little sibling.