The Boy said something grossly inappropriate at the dinner table. It wasn’t the first time. Our children say grossly inappropriate things while eating often enough my wife and I have become somewhat numb to it. Their rudeness is simply a side effect of being raised by us.
When they were 6 and 8, gas was a popular dinner table topic, as were where to wipe boogers, what Mom’s spinach smoothie really looked like and how often they did, or did not change their underwear.
At 13 and 11, our older two have branched out into body parts I’m not sure I knew existed at that age.
The problem with our children’s behavior isn’t that it’s not funny (it usually is), the problem is if they do rude things around us, they might do them around other people, and that’s just not acceptable. Our friends and casual acquaintances may realize we’re worse nurturers than common garden skinks, which are seriously terrible parents.
That’s the main problem here. It’s not that our children will grow up to have the manners of a WWE audience (I’ve been to an event. I know what I’m talking about), it’s what others will think of my wife and I when our middle schoolers demonstrate the age-old art of belching the alphabet at our favorite restaurant.
Officially that hasn’t happened, we’re just preparing for it and when it does, I will be duly impressed and mortified at the same time.
However, until then we are worried about our children exhibiting the following behaviors in public:
• Wearing weather-inappropriate clothing. When an intelligent middle school student walks to the bus wearing shorts, a T-shirt and flip-flops in February the only rational reason must be SSD, or Seasonal Stupidity Disorder. The main cause of SSD is thinking your awesomeness alone can overcome frostbite.
• The Toddler hugging a television and saying, “Mommy.”
• Drawing any unwanted attention to the family unit. As a lifelong introvert, I want to venture into public as anonymously as a ninja. Children screaming, giggling, begging or dressed like Madonna circa 1990, make me 1) uncomfortable and 2) fear another “Do Not Serve This Family” warning posted at yet another business.
• Supporting the wrong school. When my children are old enough to vote, I won’t care if they back a candidate I don’t approve of, but they sure as hell better not cheer for the wrong college basketball program.
I’m glad I got that off my chest. So, what should my wife and I do about our parenting fails? Drop our children off at the zoo in a box marked “dangerous?” Let older relatives take over our duties for a while (although seeing how we turned out, that’s probably not a good idea)? Take a parenting class?
“Dad,” the 11-year-old called from the kitchen. “The Baby ate all the chocolate chips out of the muffins – again.”
“Then you can eat the rest of it.”
Maybe I’m part of the problem.
– Jason’s newest novel, “Bad Day for the Apocalypse,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.