How kids’ commentary can lead to sticky situations
One of the things I most enjoy and most fear about little kids is their running commentary on life. If you’ve ever spent any time around small children, you know that they tend to say whatever pops into their head, unfiltered. They also ask whatever question seems relevant to them at the time, no matter how inappropriate. I’ve gotten more than one dirty look when one of my kids launched into a series of questions about someone we come across at a store, on a walk, at a restaurant, etc.
For example, while eating out one night, my son asked, “Daddy, why is that guy wearing a skirt?”
“Who? Our waitress?” I responded. “No, buddy, that’s not a guy. She’s a woman. She just has short hair.”
“That guy is a girl?”
“Yes, well, that young woman is a girl. Woman. Female. Not a guy.”
“No. Really? That guy right there?” he said, pointing in a very obvious way.
“Yes. She is. Please, she saw you pointing at her and now she’s coming over here.”
“Please what?” the boy asked.
“Please stop talking.”
At this point, the waitress, who’d noticed all the pointing and gesturing and looking in her direction, had walked over to our table and politely asked if we needed anything.
Before I could respond, my son blurted it out: “Are you a girl?”
“Heh, heh, kids. Please don’t mind him,” I said apologetically.
“Why are you wearing a skirt?” the boy asked, persisting in trying to get us served a giant sneezer. He just wasn’t going to let this one go.
An awkward pause ensued. The waitress seemed dumbfounded. The boy waited patiently for an answer to his questions. Finally, she looked at me for an explanation. All I could muster was …
“Please don’t spit in our food.”
Yeah, that kind of thing happens more than I could possible chronicle. So you can imagine my discomfort when we visited my in-laws over the holidays, and my four-year-old son and two-and-a-half-year-old daughter unleashed a daily barrage of comments and questions without the slightest concern for social mores. Just imagine sitting down for breakfast or dinner with your wife’s family and your kids start spouting out comments like these:
“Mommy, how come you said I can’t pee in the shower, but Daddy does?”
“I don’t want to use that bathroom. Uncle [Name Redacted to Protect the Innocent] was just in there and it smells like the elephants at the zoo.”
“Why is that dog so fat?”
“Grandma, do you need a special car to drive up a wall? Daddy keeps talking about driving up a wall because of ‘family drama’.”
“This car smells like sausage.”
“When I grow up, I want a big belly, like Santa and Grandpa.”
“I don’t want to hug her. She smells like cheese.”
“No, Mommy, I did not sleep well. You and Daddy were making too much noise in your room next door.”
So that was all great, but perhaps the best comment of the trip didn’t come from a child at all; it came from my mother-in-law. It occurred shortly after a conversation with my wife’s aunt about how she thinks all of my kids look like my wife and not at all like me (not a bad thing by any means). A little later, my 14-month-old son, Heavy D, came waddling into the room. I said, “Look at that cute little boy. How can she say he doesn’t look like me? I think he got a lot from me.”
“Yeah,” my mother-in-law replied, “he is getting pretty chubby.”