The Power of a Single Word

Occasions such as Thanksgiving and Mother’s Day seem to bring out Hallmark moments in children. School backpacks burst with bent cards that beg to be hung on our fridges.

Katie knows that.

When her daughter was in Grade 1, she made a beautiful Valentine’s Day card for her mom.

In her daughter’s careful printing were these words:

My mom is




Hint: to pronounce “beauiful” without the “t”, pretend you’re Jamie Oliver.

Katie, as proud parents are wont to do, hung the declaration on the bulletin board in her office.

I can imagine her looking up at it and smiling.

A few days pass.

She’s again at her desk.

She looks up at the note again.

And Katie sees this:

Stuff Kids Write

Yes, her daughter had edited the card.

Not. A six-year-old demonstrates the power of a single word.


Please see the sidebar for information on how to submit to Stuff Kids Write.

About Leanne Shirtliffe

Leanne Shirtliffe is the author of SLOTH TO THE RESCUE, SAVING THUNDER THE GREAT, THE CHANGE YOUR NAME STORE, and NO MORE BEIGE FOOD (2016). She also wrote humor books DON'T LICK THE MINIVAN: Things I Never Thought I'd Say To My Kids and MOMMYFESTO. She and her family live in Calgary, Alberta because they like complaining about the weather.

Posted on May 20, 2011, in Holiday Cards and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. I am actually starting to think my son is a little too perfect. He has never carved his initials into anything. He has never used scissors to cut off his arm hair or anyone else’s. He loves school and is never distracted by dreckins. He would be that kid who tells the other kid to be quiet, he’s trying to memorize Pi to the 100th place past the decimal. He has never asked to try hot sauce and, as a result, he has never emitted a fabulous girlie scream nor walked around a room drinking “WILK” while trying to walk off the pain in his burning taste buds.

    What’s wrong with him?

    Is all hell going to break loose when he turns 18? Is he going to get someone pregnant at 15? Is he going to suddenly rebel and shiv someone? If he snaps, will I be obligated to start a site called

    He’d better bust out and do something really bad. And fast. 😉

    • I’m starting to think your son is too perfect, too. Perhaps we should clone him.

      Did you have a tough pregnancy? I have a theory (lots of them, actually — all unproven) that women who have difficult pregnancies tend to have babies who sleep better. You know, the universe restoring order.

      And this is why I’m not a scientist (quantitative data? nah).

  2. I think it’s “Jamie Oliver Day”…first Kelly, and then you mentioned him, Leanne! That’s brilliant!

    Wonder what Katie did to trigger the “editing”?


  3. I just showed Vivian (age 6) the note. She laughed. Vivian said, “I wonder why she was mad at her mom.”

    I asked Vivian what I’ve done to make her mad like that. She said, “Going to work so soon.”

    I’d write more, but I have to go to work.

  4. I don’t remember what I did to trigger the editing, but in these parts I am known as the “meanest mom in the world.”

    • We could form a club, then. Pretty sure my kids would nominate me for president of that one.

    • Has your daughter since erased the “not?” Or added “really” in front of it?

      • @chase

        I asked her about the editing job she did and she tried to rip it up and throw it away. I snatched it from her little hands and said I was keeping it until HS graduation so it could go up on the big screen along w/ the naked baby picture. The meanest mom in the world strikes again. Muhahah!

        I have had it laminated so it doesn’t deteriorate any further in the years to come.

  5. That is pure genius.

    The child is clearly economical with words; brevity being the soul of wit, and all.

    When I was six, I cut my mom’s face out of a crayon portrait I’d drawn of our family. She was not, as I’d imagined she would be, crushed.

    It would have been easier just to write NOT next to her head.

    Love this website. Good stuff…

  6. And I thought they were supposed to be easier at six. Help!

  7. Don’t mess with that kid!

  1. Pingback: Foto Phriday: Yeehaw, Pards! « Some Species Eat Their Young

Leave a Reply to Stacia Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s