It doesn’t take long to realize that your children will embarrass you. But I am pretty sure – and only time will tell if I’m right – that some day we get to embarrass them back.
A friend recently posted on Facebook that her four-year-old daughter yelled to everyone while arriving at preschool, “We didn’t brush my teeth this morning so I have gum.” I had to laugh because not only do my kids not brush their teeth every morning, but because every day our young kids can make us want to crawl into a hole, and most of the time, unknowingly.
Even when they’re infants, they can scream at the most inopportune times. They can poop out of their diapers in the grocery line, when you’re almost done and can’t really walk out of the store. They can pull off mid-stream while nursing, and even render your hooter hider useless as your breasts turn into fire hydrants.
The 18-month to 3-year age range brings along with it multiple public displays of crying, whining, screaming, and tantrums that include lying on the ground with fists banging and legs flailing. Let’s be honest – who hasn’t’ seen that and thought, “That parent needs to get ahold of that child!”
Zach is still a screamer and whiner. I know I’ve been mentioning this for, oh, half his life. I have done some research because I’m nervous that he is never going to grow out of it. He is easily frustrated and resorts to the loudest or most annoying sound he can make to cope. Of course, this would be a great place to insert (via comment) your tips. But I digress … I cannot tell you how many times I have felt the stares from everyone around me in stores, restaurants and the like. We just returned from a weekend trip. At the airport, as I do often, I shared a bathroom stall with both kids, who proceeded to wrestle while I was (not) peeing in peace. Mid-stream, their playing turned into a fight. I reached over and pulled them apart, shoving him one way and her the other. Zach, of course, fell (hurled himself dramatically) to the floor and began to wail, “Mommy, why you pushed me? You huht me, mommy!” I was mortified, seeing as there were others who could hear us. I often wonder how bad of a mom those witnessing me could possibly think I am. And as if Zach still being in this phase weren’t enough, he’s entering the “embarrassing questions” phase that Eliza has been in for two years.
Eliza likes to ask just about all women if they have babies in their tummies. In the spring, she asked an overweight co-worker of my mother-in-law this question. The woman very sweetly responded, “No, sweetie, I don’t have a baby in my tummy.” Eliza couldn’t resist: “Well then why does your belly look like that?” Without missing a beat, the woman replied, “Because I’m fat.” Another time Eliza asked my well-endowed friend, “Why are your boobs so much bigger than my mom’s?”
When walking out of church this summer right next to a disabled man, Eliza said, “Mommy, why does he have those sticks?” I said, “Those are called crutches and they help him walk.” Eliza: “But why?” Me: “Well, because he’s a little different than us, so he walks differently.” Eliza: “But mommy, why is he sad?” Me: “I don’t know that he’s sad.” Eliza: “Why is he grumpy?” Embarrassed and lying: “Sweetheart, he’s not grumpy” (as I noticed him scowling at us).
These moments are really just part of life with children. And I am pretty sure the embarrassment doesn’t end, but rather evolves. I can’t wait for their tween and teen years, if only because I know my very presence will be embarrassing at times. It will be payback for all these memories we parents have and will enjoy reminding them about in front of their crushes. It’s part of the circle of life.
So kids, enjoy the upper hand for now. It won’t be long before I’m dropping you off at the mall to meet your friends, kissing you all over and being certain to remind you out loud that the money I’m handing you is for your very own training bra or jock strap.