Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Discrection Session

There are a lot of tough parts of parenting.  But beyond bandaging scrapes and soothing hurt feelings, the toughest part for me has been teaching the boys discretion. 

Especially if your husband is my husband.

And if your husband is my husband, then your children are exactly like your husband, inheriting an appreciation for bathroom humor and a unique ability to tell it like it is.  What Joel has that Cael and Graham don't, however, is an understanding of the line between goofy curiosity and just plain rude.

Knowing this about my kids, I am always nervous when we find ourselves in the presence of a person whose appearance is confusing or unfamiliar to my children.  As if it wasn't bad enough when a three year-old  Cael told an obese woman that she had a huge belly, or as if I wasn't sufficiently mortified when he informed an African-American man that "all black mans are bad drivers" (referring to the color of the man's shirt), my boys will take every opportunity to confront people who look different.

Since those incidents, I have drilled into my kids' heads that it is okay to ask questions, and that the best course of action is to wait until we are alone to ask me about them and I that I would do my best to explain.  And while Graham didn't absorb that advice, recently asking me in a very loud voice if a man with one leg forgot the other in his car, Cael demonstrated discretion for the very first time this week.

While out to dinner with my Dad, we found ourselves in line to pay directly behind a "little person", who bantered back and forth with Cael while I dug my fingernails into my palms, terrified that Cael would break character at any time and ask the guy, "How come you're little like me but your face is old?"

But miraculously, Cael smiled and chatted until we were in the safety of our car before having me explain that some people are born different than others.  Some are different because they have a different look, while others are different because of an illness or an injury, but that it is most important to be kind to everyone, no matter what you see.

I was so proud of my boy.  He really got it.

I thought he really got it.

"Mommy, I think I was born different too."

"How were you born different?"

"There was something wrong with me when I was in your belly, and when I came out, I had curly hair."

So close.

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