So, we're out to dinner with this friend and her family. My jBird is fond of making conversation with the grownups. She sits and chats about the weather, asks after people's babies and other adorable little 7-year-old-acting-like-a-grownup kinds of things. She was explaining to my friend that the Greek restaurant where we were was one of her favorites because their "avgolemono soup is to die for and you must try it." Beautiful Friend, amused, asks:
"What are some of your other favorite restaurants?"
"Well, my very favorite is the Chinese Super Buffet out by Big Lots, do you know what I'm talking about? But we don't go there very often."
"Oh really? Why not?"
[This is where I start clearing my throat, ready to change the subject.]
My darling daughter, just as sincere and sweet as can be, says: "Oh, well don't you know, it gives Mama heartburn."
Beautiful Friend smiles and glances at me. I am both a little embarrassed and extremely relieved, thinking this is the end of it, but no.
"... and terrible diarrhea."
"Ha ha ha" [forced laugh] "OK, jBird, that's enough. Shall we get the hummus?"
|She was afraid my garlic breath would |
embarrass her in front of this guy!
I have never been so glad that the Hooligan knocked his drink over for the third time during a meal.
As parents, we spend so much time trying to protect fragile little egos and build up these strong, independent little people. We monitor their TV, toys, stories, and friends so that they won't be bombarded with images and ideas that will make them feel bad about themselves. We are careful in our selection of words when we correct them so we can let them know they're not bad people, just made a bad choice. I get so much stink-eye on the playground when I holler "All right knuckleheads! Five minutes!" because both hollering and affectionate nicknames might be damaging to their little psyches. But you wanna know what I think? I think they're wise to our game. I think they know that real people don't talk like that. I think they learn about how to be strong, independent people by watching their parents be strong, independent people. The thing is, my jBird wasn't trying to be hurtful or embarrassing, she was just making conversation and that was her childlike estimation of what adult conversation is like.
So what can you do? You just hold your head high and pick up your spoon and have a taste of that "to die for" avgolemono soup and hope that your Beautiful Friend doesn't picture you cramming your face with hummus and bad Chinese food or sweating and groaning on the can every time she sees you.