Thursday, December 13, 2012

Parental Learning Curve

They say there's a learning curve to everything, right?  For example, you wouldn't expect a teenager to jump in a car without driver's education and arrive safely at their destination.  You wouldn't expect a pre-med student to perform brain surgery on their first day of classes.  You wouldn't even expect your five year-old son to master the remote control without nearly ordering questionable pay-per-view films.

So why, as parents, do we expect to hands our kids over at age eighteen without having made a single mistake?  It's just not possible, and we shouldn't beat ourselves up.  But I probably didn't have to make the kid cry, either.

If you and I are friends on Facebook, perhaps you saw my status yesterday regarding Cael's unusual school attire.  (And if we're not Facebook friends, what did I do to you?)  But in case you missed it, here's what happened.

Yesterday began as any other day, my son waking me up at 2am, wondering why 1-4 is pronounced "fourteen" and 1-3 is not "threeteen".  After he was coerced into returning to sleep, we began the day at eleventeen minutes after 7am, when I pulled out some clean clothes for Cael and Graham to wear.  I stayed long enough to see that Cael had his clean jeans and underpants on, and figured that he could take care of the rest while I started breakfast.  Our morning was normal, albeit chaotic, and when I dropped Cael off at school, I had no idea that things would take a really bizarre turn.

Well, several weird turns.  But I'm not writing today about finding the cat asleep in the training potty or Graham's realization that the two white buttons on Mickey Mouse's pants are, in fact, buttons and not "really big nipples" as he had previously thought.

It wasn't until Cael had returned home from school and we all sat around the table for lunch that I noticed him repeatedly adjusting his pants and sitting in a contorted position on his chair. 

"What's wrong with your pants, Cael?"

"Nothing.  I just have a scratchy itch."

"Do you need to go potty?"

"Nope, I just need to scratch."

And with that, he dropped his pants to reveal his round cheeks, sans underpants.  Before I let myself question that decision, I could see that the source of the itch was the inside of his pocket, which had rubbed uncomfortably on his bare bottom all morning and left a red spot brighter than Rudolph's nose.  (See, now this is a Christmas story, too!)

After he retrieved some underpants to act as a barrier between his sensitive skin and his insensitive (and insensitively priced!) Gymboree jeans, I simply had to question his motives.

"Cael, were you at school all morning without underpants?"

"Yeah... but it's okay because my nutters stayed warm in my pants."

"That's not the only reason to wear underpants, honey.  You need to wear them everyday, no matter what."

"But you said my cheekers were cute!"

"They are cute, but you still need to wear underpants.  Wait-- you didn't show the other kids your cheekers, did you?"

"No, we were very busy today."

"That's a relief.  Now you need to promise me that you won't show them your private parts, okay?"

"But Mommy--"

"No, I want you to promise me."

"Ugh.  Okay."

Thinking that the issue was settled, I did what any modern mother would do.  I put it on Facebook.  I thought it was funny.  I mean, it is funny, right?  Obviously other people found it funny because before I knew it, I was fielding texts and repeating the story on the phone with a few friends, all the while not noticing how Cael's face was growing redder by the minute.

And this time, I was the culprit, not a scratchy itch.

Without realizing it, I had embarrassed him badly enough that he erupted in a Vesuvious-like fashion and shouted at me to stop.  Honestly, I hadn't considered that his nerves of steel would be penetrated by my teasing, but they had and I felt terrible.  This wasn't like a scraped knee or a paper cut-- this was a bruised ego, and Mommy did the bruising.

I tried to snuggle him extra for the rest of the night, and to make sure he took his mind off of the Bare Bottom Debacle of 2012, but he made sure I would remember.

"Mommy, why did you tell everyone about me not wearing underpants?"

"I'm sorry, honey, I should have asked you.  I just thought it was a funny store and I didn't think it would hurt your feelings."

"No, Mommy, I mean why did you tell them about me not wearing underpants, but you didn't tell them that I have cute cheekers?"

"Oh, Cael..."

Correction:  Cael did not wear underpants to school yesterday, but it's okay because he has really cute cheekers. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.