Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Darndest Things

Children have no filter.

I know a lot people say that about themselves, but it's not true.  Unless you have one of a certain number of certifiable mental disorders, it's not that you don't have a filter.  You're just rude.

But small children?  Oh, they are a different matter entirely.  Ask any parent/ person that spends lots of time with little ones- chances are they have either laughed uproariously or been completely humiliated by something a little kid has said.  It's part of their charm.

Our kiddos are, of course, no different.  They're always saying embarrassing crap.  In the past year or so, however, I've changed my response to the lovely observations they unerringly make (in the loudest voice possible) when we're out in public.

Here's an example of how our conversations used to go:

Scene:  3-year-old Adelaide, infant Atticus, and me playing at a deserted playground, when another mother and her young son approach and begin playing, too.

Adelaide:  "Mommy, why is that lady brown?"

Me:  Ignoring Adelaide, hoping maybe she'll stop talking.

Adelaide:  "Mommy?  Mommy!"

Me: (Speaking quietly) "Adelaide, we'll talk about it at home, okay?"

Adelaide:  "WHAT?  Did you hear me, Mommy?  I said WHY IS THAT LADY BROWN?"

Me:  (Through gritted teeth)  "Let's talk about it at home, my sweet, darling daughter!"

Adelaide:  "Okay!"

Honestly?  I don't know why I didn't just answer her right there at the playground.  It's pretty simple, right?  That lady is brown because that is the color of her skin.  That's how God made her.  Skin color is just one of many ways in which we are all different.  Done.

I think I was just so mortified and afraid of offending the other mom that I panicked.  That particular topic hasn't been an issue since; our kiddos have made friends that have many different colors of skin over the past few years (which is kind of ironic, given that we now live in central Iowa, which I don't really think of as being a culturally diverse place).

I now handle things differently.  When our kids say such things in public, I meet their enquiries head-on, doing my best to calmly and rationally answer each politically incorrect question I can.

"Mommy, why is that girl wearing shorts that don't fit very well?  I can see her booty!"

"Well, honey, some females sadly align their sense self-worth with the sexualization of their bodies.  She may also have some raging daddy issues."


"Mommy, why does that lady have two bottoms?"

"Too much food and not enough exercise."


"Mommy, why does that boy have those huge holes in his ears?"

"He needed a place to hang his dry-cleaning."


"Mommy, why is that man so ugly?"

"He probably thinks you're ugly, too."


My new approach may need some fine-tuning.


  1. I completely support this type of parenting. Confusion is a great thing :-)

    1. In that case, I'm doing an AWESOME job at this parenting thing!

  2. Chuckle. I like that their response is "what" regardless of your answer.

    I'm also wondering when this filter develops as my 15yos embarrassed the daylights out of me today.

    1. I'm now intensely curious as to what exactly your 15-year-old did.

    2. Seriously can't believe I'm sharing this, but at the end of church, right as the last note of the song was sung, he nearly shouted "Way to go Amy! You were breaking the windows with those high notes!!"

      Ummmm. . .wrong on so many levels! As in, 1) church is not even formally dismissed yet (we usually close with a prayer) 2) the focus is supposed to be on the words of the song, not the notes, 3) it was the invitation song, for Pete's sake, as in "come to the front during this song if you are ready to surrender your life to Christ or would like to confess sin or need help from anyone", 4) Amy was mortified.

      Need I go one?! Unfortunately, the earth didn't open up to swallow me, nor have I figured out how to pop back in time just a minute or two to furtively whisper a distraction.

    3. While that does sound mortifying for you, it's pretty hilarious for me. And that's all that matters, right?

      It also doesn't seem that surprising, given that your son seems to be some kind of musical prodigy. Perfectly appropriate? No. A great story to embarrass him with in years to come? Yes.


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