Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Surviving childhood -- your children's

My friend Pippa, of Pippa Said is having a little trouble with her youngest child. Said child likes to play in the street. And is being encouraged by the older siblings. Pippa could use some advice. Mine would be along the lines of "Have a glass of wine."

Drinking won't help, of course, but when your kids act like that, the neighbors already believe that you do. I should know. I have boys. 3 of them.

My oldest was fond of playing in the street. I didn't exactly encourage it, but blink and he was out there. It was the one infraction for which I routinely spanked - accompanied by the admonition, "If a car doesn't hit you, I will. Every time."

To which my son would respond, "That doesn't hurt!"

Kid never knew how close that put him to death. He did survive - his excursions into the street and his mother's wrath.

He's the only one of my kids I never put the "Mother's Curse" on -- you know, "I hope you have a kid just like you!" I was too afraid he'd ask me to babysit.

Want to know what life was like when he was little? I once told a co-worker that nobody who'd read Ransom of Red Chief, by O. Henry, would ever consider kidnapping him.

Part of his problem was that he had a significant speech delay. At age 3.5, I could only understand about half of what he was saying. This was quite frustrating for both of us. Only after his speech improved did I realize that it was actually a mixed blessing.

I also learned of the hazards of teaching small children the correct names for their body parts.

By age 3 3/4, after only a couple of months of speech therapy, he could very clearly (and very loudly) ask, "Mom! Mom, does that man have a penis?"

Loud. Every time he saw a man standing still in a public place.

I knew it was really about the attention, so I'd try to ignore him, because shushing just didn't work. So of course he'd ask again -- louder.

Eventually, I took a chance.

"I don't know, honey, why don't you ask him?"

To my everlasting relief, he did not.


Sabra said...

In an AAFES convenience store in Hawaii, I made an offhand comment to my oldest about a cover model having a boob job. This led to a rousing (and amusing) game of her pointing at all the other cover models and asking if they, too, had had a boob job.

'Twas all well & good until she pointed at a woman walking in the door and asked the same question.

Judy said...

Kids really do know how to embarrass their parents, don't they?