Out of the Mouths of Babes

Our eldest is 6. She is opinionated. She is loud. She says inappropriate things at random to complete strangers. You never know when these gems will slip out. Parenting her currently is akin to following around the town drunk. I try to be ever vigilant; my verbal broom and dust pan sweeping up her spoken bombshells. I love her. It’s exhausting.  How much will a perfectly adorable 6 year old fetch me on eBay?

We are a progressive family. Live and let live. Love and let love. Your business is your business. My business is my business and yours since I over share here on this blog. Enjoy my massive failures protecting the innocence of my family! In some respects, her verbal assaults make sense. No topic is really off the table in our home. So, she sees it as a running commentary on the documentary that is her life. I see it as When Animals Attack. At first, that lion is just sitting there and them, BAM, cut to the film crew having a bittersweet memorial for Best Boy Steve. Although Miss A tirelessly campaigns for the job, we have decided not to allow her to be the spokesperson for our family. Her platform of, “WHY DO OLD PEOPLE LOOK SO OLD!” and, “DOESN’T THAT PERSON SMOKING KNOW THEY ARE GOING TO DIE?” didn’t win her the popular vote. Surprising, I know.

Her current brain to mouth to society for immediate judgment and excruciating embarrassment are as follows:

“WE ARE POOR!” – This was shouted into the face of a first-time visitor at our home. As if our guest needed the verbal confirmation. If our 2004 Dodge Caravan doesn’t scream luxury, then pardon me while I start our backyard trashcan fire with these $100 bills. We have food and a house and a swing-set. We have a coffee pot and toys and they have shoes. MOST without holes in the toes. Sure, we struggle to make ends meet, but, we are fine. Our bills are paid. Our mortgage is current. Our pantry is full. We have everything we need. Everything except eldest’s discretion. As I quickly run through my list of reasons why we are rich in spirit, daughter rolls eyes while unwilling participant in awkward conversation tries to back away slowly while I hold on to the collar of her shirt. “NO! HEAR THIS! HEAR HOW WE ARE THANKFUL FOR EVERYTHING WE HAVE. Pay no attention to eye rolling 6 year old. She is thankful too. I promise. No need to complete that call to 911. (releases collar) COME BACK SOON!”

“DO YOU HAVE A BABY IN YOUR BELLY?” – GASP. Yes, she said this. To a woman who was clearly not pregnant. With no stomach to speak of. I knew why she was asking. She was asking if she was pregnant so that she could do a flip using her body as a backboard. It was out of respect and safety for the unborn fetus not in this woman’s body. Of course, as I covered daughter’s mouth with Press’n Seal and frantically laugh-explained this and, as I type this now, I realize how ridiculous this sounds. Almost as ridiculous as asking anyone if they are pregnant. I don’t care if a woman is wearing a shirt that says Special Delivery Forthcoming!, you shut your mouth and assume she is anticipating a UPS package. You never, EVER, evernever ask a woman if she is pregnant under any circumstance. Not even when they are asking for a ride to the hospital. Never. If you see a baby’s head, you say, “Uh, I think you have a little something there on your vagina.” Never.

“WHY DO YOU DRINK WINE EVERY DAY?” – She said this in the wine aisle. At the grocery store. In the middle of the day. As loudly as humanly possible. This is why. This is most definitely why I drink wine every day. My verbal response was not needed. I do appreciate the woman who stopped to help me climb out of the cardboard wine stand and didn’t make mention of the reusable grocery sack I was using to hide my face. You’re a gem, lady.

And last, but, certainly not least. Actually, last and definitely most:

“BOYS AND BOYS CAN’T GET MARRIED!” – While this nugget of inclusion and tolerance may be technically, and sadly, true in some states, it is not true in our state. More importantly, it is not true in our home and hearts. We do not believe this. We do not promote this. We do not endorse this message. I heard this, in slow motion, as I struggled to change our youngest, the still ever quiet and current favorite. As I came flying in from the playroom with a baby dangling under one arm, a dirty diaper in the other and one finger outstretched to try to press the rewind button on her small mouth, I saw the hurt mixed with loving patience in our dear friends’ eyes. Friends that we love. Friends that are considered family. Friends that I hope to one day have the same rights most of us take for granted. As they stood in our kitchen, silent and unsure where the boundary of friend ends and non-parental teacher begins, my full force, five-alarm fire body came bursting through the curtain separating the kitchen and living area (See above paragraph about our financial situation. As you can see, RICH). “Who taught you this? Where did you hear this?  This is NOT so. I love Daddy. Daddy loves me. P loves D and D loves P. It’s the same thing. We are no different. Do you understand? Please say you understand.” I hope in her heart she does understand. I hope in her heart she heard me. I hope that I have enough patience and time and that she respects us enough to allow us to continue to teach her that all love is the same love. The Muppets said it best: Peoples is Peoples. I can only hope that this declaration from our daughter will be my wake-up call. The shrill alarm that reminds me that loving your neighbor and full, unconditional acceptance are not automatic. That love is a gift we must choose every day and that we must choose, every day, to teach it to our children. It was also a reminder that hubs and I are not doing our job well enough. With all of our love, acceptance, inclusion and well formed ideals, we must be vigilant. Vigilant in patience, love and understanding. We have 12 more years to get it right. 12 more years of waves of embarrassment, on both sides. 12 more years of big words, small words, right words and wrong words. Words of hope and love.

Out of the mouths of babes. Our eldest is 6. She is opinionated. She is loud. She has the potential to, one day, eloquently spread a message of love.  We are grateful for her reminders of the work we have to do.





Comments

  1. This was the best bedtime story EVER! I can definitely relate to the Open Mouth, Spew the Painfully Obvious (as loudly as possible in public) child. I have a tween with Aspergers. She has NO. FILTER. it keeps life interesting! 😉 thank you for this gem! I go to bed with a chuckle now…

  2. Be patient–when they get older you’ll embarrass them!!

  3. It’s wonderful that you are raising your children to be accepting and loving of everyone. I hope my kids learn that lesson from me and my husband as well. It’s hard letting them grow up and have their own opinions about things though…and doesn’t necessarily mean that YOU did anything wrong. Sometimes kids just have differing opinions, as such with me and my parents on certain topics (namely spanking).

    I can relate to all the things said here…especially the one about us being poor 🙂

  4. Love this. Love you. Love your outlook and your words. Love that you have curtains instead of doors. All of it makes me smile and feel awesome inside.

  5. Oh wow. Kids say the darnedest things, don’t they? I’m sure your friends understood – she’s still young and her exposure to the world limited.

    • They did and I am so thankful for their patience and loving attitude. She should hang out with them MORE often. Kids, all you can do is love them and hope most people standing around are hard of hearing. 😉 Thank you for reading.

  6. Thanks again for a from-the-heart! It made me think of how I squirmed when my 4 yo walked up to a mother and said, “Your baby is beautiful. You must breastfeed her.” She is still, as my mom would say, “frank”!

  7. Ack! This makes me feel relieved that my kids are too young to say stuff like this yet, but completely panicky at the same time, b/c I know it’s coming. Loving the message that ’04 Caravan sends and off to burn some of my own bills–all that extra money from my lucrative blogging career, huh?

  8. Part of the blog hop! Nice to meet ya,

    amanda
    http://paintundermynails.blogspot.com

  9. This story was as funny as it was touching. My own little girl once asked a man if he had a baby in his belly. She also once congratulated my husband from across the restaurant for going poo-poo in the potty! And one time she told me that boys can’t marry boys. It’s a constant reminder that we have the ability to change the world…by teaching our children that what’s most important is not who people love, but that they have the capacity to love in the first place.

  10. hahaha this is a funny story! I guess this is what i have to look forward to with my two year old son!

    I am now a follower! I found you over on the TGIF Blog Hop.

  11. I disagree – I think her sense of love and inclusion IS automatic. My guess is that she learned that boys can’t marry boys.

    • You are right. I think I have a lot of work to do to teach her that what she hears and sees aren’t necessarily true. We’re lucky to live in such a progressive state. I can only imagine how different it would be if I had to constantly “rage against the machine”. Every day, I am learning. Every day, I am trying. Thank you for the huge amount of love today.

  12. You had me at “Parenting her currently is akin to following around the town drunk” welcome to my blog roll and I know at least one person I will also encourage to join.

  13. I love this post. Now a follower 🙂

  14. Just found your blog thanks to Suburban Snapshots. Loved this post. LOVE! Oh, and just keep teaching her what you are teaching her. At 6 they are learning gender roles and how everyone fits together, no matter what you teach at home there is a good chance she is getting mixed messages from peers and most books and shows kids watch (not all) have a mommy and a daddy. You aren’t doing anything wrong, she WILL figure it out and since she is clearly outspoken she surely will be spreading the message that EVERYONE has the right to love and be loved.

  15. Just found your blog thanks to Suburban Snapshots. Loved this post. LOVE! Oh, and just keep teaching her what you are teaching her. At 6 they are learning gender roles and how everyone fits together, no matter what you teach at home there is a good chance she is getting mixed messages from peers and most books and shows kids watch (not all) have a mommy and a daddy. You aren’t doing anything wrong, she WILL figure it out and since she is clearly outspoken she surely will be spreading the message that EVERYONE has the right to love and be loved.

  16. Stopping on by courtesy of Suburban Snapshots! And holy canoli, you’re funny! I would like to draw particular attention to the “You never, EVER, evernever ask a woman if she is pregnant under any circumstance.” portion of the article and, my personal all time fave: “If you see a baby’s head, you say, ‘Uh, I think you have a little something there on your vagina.'”

    I’m in love!

  17. I love how such a funny post about embarrassing kids can end in a loving, tolerant way.
    Bravo, my dear. Bravo.

  18. I love this post. My son is the same age and does the same things. You are great. Keep up the great work.

  19. Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous!!!

  20. Found this via Let Me Start By Saying on facebook – as a mom to three marvelous kids (a bit older than yours, but honey, I have BTDT, just keep gathering book material) who call both me and my partner Mom, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this amazing amazing post. We live in a state which will not allow us to marry, which hurts me more than I expected, but we continue to hope, and vote. People like you remind me that there is good in the world. I’ll be sharing this post everywhere I can. <3 <3 <3

  21. I can totally relate. When my oldest was younger she wanted the princess Barbie doll and the prince that went with it. We were at Target and they only had the black version of the ken doll and the blonde version of the Barbie doll. I put them in the cart. She instantly yelled that the “brown prince can’t go with the yellow hair princess!” I was stunned because we had interracial couple in our circle of friends and thought that we had taught her better. I sat her down and explained that love does not know colors and it was ok for the brown prince to love the blonde princess. It made me realize that we have to be sure that we are instilling the right values in our children and make sure that someone else is not undoing all that hard work.

  22. Are you sure you haven’t been following my daughter (now 8 years old) around town? She has the same verbal habits. It’s at the same time hysterical and frightening! Love your take on preggo women. hahaha!

  23. Found you via Let Me Start By Saying and will definitely be a follower! Thanks for spreading a message of inclusion and furthering our future generation in such a positive way!

  24. This is a great post. It’s obvious you and your husband have a good grasp on this parenting thing so I’m sure she will turn out amazing. Kids sometimes put connections together that aren’t always correct. For example my 4 1/2 year old is convinced that eventually he will marry mom when he’s older and our daughter will marry me. I’m all for letting everybody marry whoever they want but I do draw the line at that. 🙂

  25. OMG!!! I think I have your daughter’s twin…or really the other two that were to be triplets? Only they’re 10 & 13…and should know better by now. They should have better control of their censor settings. NOTHING is off limits…I seriously think Honey Boo Boo might be one of their distant cousins too!!

  26. Maybe the future isn’t so dark after all, with moms like you raising up a generation of loving and accepting people! I just hope that once my kiddo starts talking (aka, publicly humiliating me) I can do the same.

  27. So so funny. And relatable. I think, sometimes, that the best thing we ever taught our now-10-year-old is that he can ask us anything he wants and we will answer. Anything. But, he has to ask quietly and in private if it is about other people and how they look, what they do, etc. It helped (most of the time)and luckily we didn’t have too many moments like that. Some, but not too many. LOL Sometimes I think the best thing we ever taught him was that he could listen to whatever music he wanted while in the shower, as long as he PROMISES to use soap, and lots of it, while he’s in there. (I did mention he is a 10-yr-old boy, right?) His current favorite is Queen. And Ozzy. And, he’s clean! At least for the 10 hours that follow (when he’s sleeping.) Keep up the good work! And, to echo everyone else, I am definitely a fan!

  28. I have 5 vocal, LOUD, mirrors for the world. I think you handled this well and conveyed it beautifully. Peoples is peoples. Love is love. Tolerance is the thing. Lovely, wonderful, funny, sweet post. Great job. Erin

  29. Saw this via Hollow Tree Ventures on FB and was curious when your FB page said people “unliked” you because of this post.

    Well, whatever to them.

    I do have a response, though. I am not a parent, but I am a daughter. And one thing that bothers me now (I am 34, my mom and dad are 65 and 71, respectively), is that I think my parents THEORETICALLY promoted this idea–do not judge people, do not treat people unfairly because of looks, beliefs, etc. And I do believe they also feel that way, for the most part.

    However, there is a small sliver of “unless that person is involved with my daughter” in there. I know for an absolute fact that my parents would have a coronary if I dated an African American guy. He’d have to work harder than the average white guy to “prove himself.” I dated a guy who has a lot of tattoos (I have some myself, but not as many as him) and my mother wanted me to “warn” my father about them. I see this as hypocritical. I recognized it as a young adult, and it made me want to call my folks out on it.

    I guess what I’m saying is that if your daughter comes home one day with a guy with blue hair, or a girl with blue hair, or someone of another race, or whatever, that, even if inside you feel uncomfortable, don’t give her a hard time because she WILL come back and say “Remember when I was 6 and you told me that everyone deserves to be loved?”

    I enjoy your writing style, and I’ll be back again! Thanks for the great read. 🙂

    • NIcole, thank you for this. Always willing to take a hard look in the mirror. My husband and I say that our childrens’ happiness is the key contributing factor to our happiness and when Miss A brings home her purple haired, motorcycle riding, tattooed boyfriend, I’m going to think of you when I give him an uncomfortable extended hug and ask him if he likes cornbread with his chicken. Thank for you for great addition to this conversation.

    • As a mother to a 14-year old girl, I can certainly relate to that but I hope that when we get to that bridge, I can rise up and do exactly what you say… understand that love doesn’t come with a color or a gender, it comes with a person. I need to appreciate that and forget the rest.

  30. you are a fabulous writer – thank you for sharing your lives with us. as I drink wine tonight, I will sip a sip for you 😉

  31. She sounds like a very smart kid,to know at 6,that boys do not marry boys.I know my opinion will not be popular.Like you said…out of the mouth of babes….

  32. Oh my goodness! This had me laughing out loud! So glad I discovered your blog through the TGIF blog hop and am now following you.
    My two little guys are 2 3.5 and 1.5 and I just know we will have days like this in our future. We have already had quite a few already… 😉

  33. Came across this post via Let Me Start By Saying…I am now a follower. I hope I can instill the same ideas of love and acceptance to my son (he is 2-1/2).

    Thanks for sharing!

  34. Came over from blog hop, first post I read… LOVE!

  35. Love this. I just “liked” your fb page 2 days ago after seeing your comments on suburban snapshots. I am sorry ther are people who do not agree with fairness and equality for all, but you are better off without those ignorant people commenting on your thoughts. Thanks for what you do. You bring smiles to people daily and nothing is more important than that!!!

  36. Anonymous says:

    Ah yes.. this brings me back to the day we went out to eat at and my son (4 yrs old then) said this as an out loud (I mean loud) response to the large gentleman directly behind him who just finished ordering his pie, ” Mommy that man does not need any pie. He is too fat now.” Check please….. pretty please… now….

  37. Found you today through my sweet friend Nicole (Ninja Mom) and so glad I did. This post is perfectly said, we have to teach our children love, tolerance and acceptance. Have to. My brother is gay and I pray that, in growing up with a diverse family, my children know no different. I’m sure one day the questions will come up and I feel like you do, that feeling of rushing to them and quieting their mouths, to make sure they understand it all correctly before any damage is done. I don’t think there is anything better that we can contribute to society than loving, accepting little humans.

  38. I found out about you through Jessica, above, from Four Plus an Angel. I love you and your message! Keep teaching your kids these wonderful messages. You are on the right side, sister.
    – Kristin, Two Cannoli

  39. Love this. Keep it up. She’ll learn from your example.

  40. So wonderful! My boys are 12, 10 and 7….and what is it with those 6 and 7 years olds? Whew! I feel like I have to follow him around with a net and a muzzle. Well done. As hard as it is to see it from your angle, I see an amazing mother who is not only teaching, but SHOWING, what unconditional love looks like. Nicely done.

  41. Thank you for writing this. I’m a dad of three year old twins who never got to meet their gay grandfather (may dad). We’ve already talked about, and read books about, families with two daddies, two mommies, etcetera. I hope they grow up understanding that that is just as “normal” as the family they live in with their mommy and daddy. And, I’m sure they’ll say very similar things as your child did, and I’ll be wondering, “what the fuck did I do wrong?” Damn kids! Can’t live with ’em, pass the beer nuts. 🙂

  42. Anonymous says:

    My daughter just corrected her grandmother that boys CAN marry BOYS ans while uncomfortable, I was a proud mommy. It made up for all of the very embarrassing things she has said over the years (like listing the swear words God doesn’t like).

  43. This comment has been removed by the author.

  44. This post cracked me up. As a teacher, I’ve heard it all, and don’t worry parents, we take everything they say with a grain of salt! LOL.

    Love the values (and love) you’re teaching your kiddos. We will be doing the same. Maybe I should stop worrying about getting my 15 month old to start speaking and just enjoy the quiet while it lasts! 🙂

    -gayla
    Teach On.

  45. Melissa b says:

    Thanks for the fun bedtime story 🙂 I wholeheartedly believe my children say outlandish things out of karmic retribution for all the humiliating things I did to my parents when I was a child….I once told a restaurant manager that his food was yucky and that I had just wished for a happy meal, I asked a guest if they were leaving soon and promptly told my mom that we would starve if he stayed any longer. My niece takes the cake for the no brain-to-mouth filter though….,she was 4 when she learned where babies came from (as my sister was about to give birth again) and she proudly announced these details while lifting her dress up over her shoulders, squatting on a chair, screaming, in the middle of a crowed restaurant. At least my kids haven’t done anything like that to me. Yet…….

  46. What a great mom! I love your views! I found you on TGIF Hop and I am a new follower! Stop by and say hello. http://www.thesexysinglemommy.com

  47. Found you through Jessica (4 plus an angel), I love this post and the lesson of tolerance that you are teaching your family. I feel the same way and I hope to raise an open minded and accepting child. Our philosophy (that i stole from Key West) is that “we are all equal members of one human family”.

  48. My 1999 Caravan can beat up yours. LOL Thank you for the awesome post. You are a wonderful mom and I’m glad to find your blog.

  49. This is great. Everything you said is great and I wish I had a friend like you in my neighborhood. A few weeks ago when I picked my 4-year-old up from daycare, he excitedly asked me if we were going to visit the barn that day or over the weekend because we hadn’t been in a few days. The daycare worker looked at me in wonder as if I took my kids on such amazing trips to build their childhood experiences. I had to awkwardly smile and tell her he was talking about the drive-through beer barn.

  50. Love your blog and sense of humor. Thanks to Suburban Snapshots for the share 🙂

  51. Love your post. As a mom of 5 cruising around in my ’99 dodge caravan, I can totally relate. Patience, love and tolerance are the most important things we can teach our children. I raise my wine glass to you!

  52. I thought I had commented on this already, but I am mistaken. I love that our kids remind us that tolerance is something that WE teach them, and you are doing a great job! Love you, love this, love, love, LOVE!!!

    Thanks for linking up, it wouldn’t be the same without you!

  53. I totally feel you on the “boys can’t marry boys” thing! My LO got into trouble for kissing other boys at preschool and they told him boys weren’t allowed to kiss other boys. Cut to three years later and we’re still dealing with trying to convince him that boys can love boys and girls can love girls. Having gay friends around has helped. I hope things get better with your LO

  54. Jennifer Talley told me to read your blog (I hate reading blogs) and specifically this post. I loved it. Thank you and you are hilarious and so is your 6 year old!

  55. This sounds so much like our house. We did the same thing with our kids — we even have gay relatives that we’re close to — but I think they see so many examples of “boy/girl” relationships in their cartoons and storybooks that it just seeps in. You have to talk about it and not just assume they’re assuming it.

    Great piece. Let me Start By Saying got me over here to counteract the haters.;)

  56. Love. Love. Love this post. I read that you lost followers as a result of this beautiful piece. That is sad. Just really sad. But you’re better off without followers who believe in being closed-minded and who don’t believe in equality. My favourite thing about this post is how you managed to be serious, heartfelt, and ridiculously hilarious all in one post. You are an insanely good writer. I hope you realize that. 🙂

  57. This blog made me LOL and my hubby looked over at me like I had once again lost my mind. ( an often happening) The one thing I can say is that even children that grow up in very “intolerant” homes will form their own beliefs and values. When I was in high school, I dated a black guy and I had to meet him at other places. There was no way he could come to our house to pick me up. My parents would have grounded me. They also spoke vehemently regarding gay people, and believe you me, they did not call them “gay” they used every terrible slur available.
    There were five of us that were raised in this home and I am proud to say that all of us grew up to be very loving, accepting tolerant and inclusive. Children are exposed to so many negative things in life and as long as they are loved, and raised to be good responsible people, they will figure it out!
    Love your blogs and your fb. You make me remember all those wonderful(eye roll) days when my kids were driving me nuts. Now that I am a gramma I am thankful that I didn’t kill them when they were teens.

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