“Chinky pig! Chinky pig!”
I narrowly avoided driving the minivan onto the curb as I pulled the car over and pinned the 6-year-old seated behind me with my WTF gaze. His fingertips had stretched the corners his light blue eyes to his hairline while his thumbs pushed his nose upward.
It was not his best look.
“Hey, Matt. Where’d you see that?”
“My uncle Dan showed it to me.”
Deep breath. Deep breath. Do not yell at Nick’s friends on his birthday.
“OK, well. Nick’s other mom is Chinese and what you are doing is very inappropriate. We don’t make fun of other races in this family.”
Justin, another 6 year old, piped up next him. “This one time, I was making fun of a guy who couldn’t talk right and it sounded funny to me, but then my mom told me that it wasn’t nice to make fun of people who were different. So then I stopped, because I was sad that I did it.”
Two different families. Two completely different experiences. And both were good friends of Nick. I knew the parents of both boys relatively well, but this drive to Jump Zone had given me a whole new level of insight as to what went on behind closed doors.
Kids don’t have a filter – at least mine don’t. And once they learn to talk, they telegraph the inner workings of the family with crystal clarity. They are Thoth personified – as within, so without. The Egyptian God who introduced the system of writing is the perfect avatar for the pre-self-conscious child.
Nick has telegraphed many things from our family life that I would rather keep private –
- Like the time Gabe had a brown ring around his mouth and a piece of dog poop in his hand (Seriously?!)
- Or the time Nick used Lori’s go-to swearword correctly…in class (Bonus points for context!)
- Or the time Nick told a teacher that his little brother has touched his penis in the bath (Note to self: Time for to have the no-touching-the-bathing-suit-zone talk).
Before we had kids, Lori had a potty mouth and I drank from the sarcasm font daily. Now that the little ones have joined us, we are veeeeerrrrrry cognizant that what we say and do can and will be held against us in any public forum thanks to the wee eyes and ears that absorb everything and say anything.
No pressure, right?
But what a gift these kids have given us! They encourage us to be the best versions of ourselves – which are definitely works in progress. Lori still loves her F bombs and I still struggle to convince people that I am being sincere in my compliments…no really.
Do we really need to be perfect? No.
Do we need to be aware of our behavior? Absolutely.
Big brother, little brother and little sister are watching.