I wouldn’t say that I’m easily embarrassed, but like anyone else, I’ve had my moments of mortification. In general, I’m pretty unflappable … but some of the things my daughter says and does make me want to crawl into a hole and disappear.
Is that your diaper?
I decided to take my little one to the aquarium. We looked at fish, waved at penguins, looked at some more fish, wandered in a circle, named the alligator Louis-and about midway through our visit, I had to use the bathroom. We ventured to the ladies’ room and entered a stall. It was Shark Week (not actual Shark Week, that’s my code for my monthly lady time), and when I sat down on the toilet, my daughter pointed down at my underpants and shrieked, “MAMA? IS THAT YOUR DIAPER?”
I don’t know if she was asking out of genuine curiosity or if perhaps she thought it would be a bonding experience for us (“Hey! You’re in diapers; I’m in diapers-HOW ABOUT THAT?!”), but the bathroom was full of people, and I pretty much just wanted to feed myself to Louis the alligator.
So my kid is obsessed with Waffle House. I’m not sure what it is, but the girl devours their bacon and waffles like they’re . well, like they’re bacon and waffles. She doesn’t eat a lot-she kind of just picks at everything. So to see her wolf down half a pound of Waffle House bacon is a little disconcerting. One morning, we were enjoying our breakfast when my daughter sat up on her knees, poised like a bloodhound. She pointed behind me, and in between the smacking of bacon, she yelled, “LOOK, MAMA! THAT MAN LOOKS LIKE A PIRATE.”
I whipped around to see this pirate (because what is a pirate even doing in Chattanooga?), and instead of a drunken man of the sea, I saw a senior citizen in a Lynyrd Skynyrd shirt, a U.S. Navy hat . and an eye patch. Not a pirate, just a Skynyrd-loving, United States military veteran with one eye.
Just gonna chill
One evening while relaxing on the couch, my daughter flopped onto the opposite side to join me in relaxation. It was then that I noticed she was not wearing underpants under her dress. I said, “Sweetie, you need to put some panties on.”
She looked me straight in the eye, and my sweet little girl with the corkscrew curls spoke in a deep, masculine voice:
“My vagina’s like, ‘I’m just gonna chill.'”
That’s not even the embarrassing part.
A few weeks later, we were at the zoo, marveling at the sloth that never moves, when she yelled, “MAMA! REMEMBER THAT TIME WHEN MY VAGINA WAS LIKE, ‘I’M JUST GONNA CHILL’?!”
I swear to you I saw the sloth shake its head in disapproval (DON’T JUDGE ME, SLOTH). I leaned down and hissed at her, ”NELLIE. We do NOT talk about our vaginas in public!”
So that’s a thing I had to say out loud, in the middle of the zoo, in front of a smug-looking sloth who was definitely judging my parenting skills.
I was on my way down the hall at day care to pick up my daughter when her teacher trotted up and began to walk with me.
“Hey, uh, just so you know, um, Nellie said a bad word today.”
I was not surprised, because I say bad words almost every day. It was just a matter of time before she repeated one.
I sighed. “What did she say?”
“Well, she was trying to put a puzzle together. She couldn’t get this one piece in, so she got frustrated and said ‘damn it.'”
I sighed with relief. At least she hadn’t dropped an F bomb.
“Well, that’s not all.”
“After trying a few times, she still couldn’t get the piece in, so . she said . g*& damn it.”
And I was like, “AH, G*& DAMN IT!”
I didn’t really say that, because I’m classy, guys. I mean, obviously not that classy, but sort of classy. Like 25 percent classy? I know those words are offensive to some people, and the look her teacher gave me implied they were offensive to him. I offered a sheepish smile and apologized.
“Well, you know . Kids usually repeat what they hear at home,” he said.
“Oh, I KNOW where she heard it. I’m just sorry she said it here.”
He gave me a Grade A side-eye, and we continued down the hall.
Mom of the Year Award.
Do you smell that?
We were out having a nice dinner. I was eating my salad; my husband was taking a sip of his sweet tea; and my daughter was lapping salt off the palm of her hand when she stopped midlick, straightened up and yelped, ”DO YOU SMELL THAT?”
I looked at her suspiciously.
“What?” I asked.
A wide grin spread across her face: ”IT WAS ME. I FARTED.”
My suspicious eyes became mortified eyes, and I looked around to see who was in earshot while my kid threw her head back and cackled. The only people around were two women with young children, and they were laughing. I apologized, and they waved my apology away with a smile.
There you have it. My humiliation is now out for the whole Internet to see (or, you know, the couple hundred people who read this column). A lot of this is my fault; I shouldn’t swear in front of my kid, and I probably shouldn’t teach her that farts are funny (which is hard, because farts are really funny). But let’s face it: Kids really do say the darndest things, and sometimes, those things are about farts and vaginas.
Natalie Green is a Chicago girl living in Chattanooga with her husband and their 4-year-old daughter. When she’s not working full time outside of the home, she enjoys reading, writing, singing, zombies and running. From zombies. And also beer. You can stalk her blog, Mommy Boots, or follow her on Twitter @mommyboots; or you can email her directly at [email protected]. She also has an (Im)perfect Parenting Facebook page. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.