Walking out of a rest area on my way home from visiting family in St. Louis last week, I noticed people gesturing to something going on behind me, so I turned to look.
I saw a male, who wasn’t wearing a shirt or pants, yet he didn’t appear the least bit self conscious;
He was purposefully working his way through the crowd;
He was wearing a don’t-mess-with-me scowl and seemed to have rebellion seeping out of every pore …
He was my son;
He’d just turned two;
And his attitude was making everyone smile. (I think because he conveyed enough angelic to counteract the ornery, and he was quite a sight with his farmer’s tan, striding between his fully clothed big brothers).
I sighed with resignation and thought “at least he’s wearing a diaper and some Crocs, along with his attitude.”
Granted, I didn’t make him wear clothes because the air conditioner was broken, but he fights me about wearing them anyway, so I was happy for an excuse to avoid a power struggle.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great kid. We marvel at his talents, and I call him sugar boy because he melts my heart with sweetness on a daily basis. He serenades me with the Barney song “I love you, you love me, we’re best friends like friends should be” while batting his eyelashes, and I love how he engages with his siblings.
The thing is, he knows what he wants, and he’s willing to take a dramatic stand *at the drop of a hat* to get his way. Did I mention he just turned two?
And he’s smart.
Plus, as the third boy, he’s heard too much.
He knows how to use phrases, which I think should have buzzed past his toddler ears without being internalized.
Nothing big … just innocent, inflammatory kid stuff like “you’re lying,” “don’t be a dummy,”and (his personal favorite), “stop it, stupid.” Of course, my boys aren’t allowed to talk like that, but they joke around, and Rhys picks up on it before I can stop them.
They aren’t to blame for the worst of it though.
I plead humanity in admitting that he has learned one very special word that starts with the letter d from **me.** I furthermore plead temporary inappropriateness because it slipped out in a moment of stress, and I laughed in surprise the first time I realized he’d parroted back my mistake.
The boy loves a reaction.
And though I work really hard not to encourage him, I have to plead childhood on behalf of his brothers because they still giggle every. time. he. says it.
Sooooo now, along with my incredible summer memories of staying up late reading Chronicles of Narnia with the older boys, spotting a black bear on our family vacation and being surprised with flowers for no reason from my loving hubby, I get to remember the look on a clerk’s face when the precious companion on my hip said in his innocent toddler voice “I wanna go home now, rhymes with gammet.”
And there’s more, much more.
Things he’s said at the farmer’s market, things he’s proclaimed when he wishes he could climb the big boy equipment, things he’s declared *at church* of all places, sometimes it’s as if he’s stringing to gether all the naughtiest things he can think of into a medley, just to see if he can get a reaction out of me with a slight variation of tone.
Folks, I’m holding strong. I tell him it’s not nice, we don’t talk like that, and I redirect him to positive activities or ignore him until he stops. I believe this too shall past, like every phase my kids have gone through.
And even though I’m a little nervous that blogging about his habit may reduce the number of gatherings we’re invited to, I’m sharing the story to make you laugh, hoping it helps you feel better when your kids do embarrassing things in public. I’m also writing about it because my mama heart kind of wants to remember this phase in our boy’s life.
Does that sound strange?
Here’s the thing: we’ve been fortunate to enjoy an incredible family summer, full of memories that will last a lifetime. Sometimes my kids blow me away with their loving hearts and bright spirits.
Other times, they drive me so crazy I slip out the d word and start an epic karmic ripple effect, which manifests as a swearing toddler, who mortifies me for months on end.
And that’s funny, I think. Really funny, I might think in a few years looking back when they are functional adults.
I want memories to remind them of the precious souls God created them to be, and I want things to tease them about at future family parties, when girlfriends come over for the first time and when groomsmen hit me up for stories to incorporate into toasts.
Does anyone else think mayhem makes for great memories?
Have you ever slipped up and sworn in front of your kids? What are some of your favorite chaotic family memories?