Monday, November 3, 2014

the fine print

 A few years ago I was shopping with the husband and the kids when we walked past a VERY portly Mennonite man.  So of course, my dear 3 year old daughter asks me so very loudly - "Mommy, why is he so FAT?"  I was horrified and zipped our cart into the next aisle over to freak out on her, but thankfully, the husband was right behind me and whispered "We've never told her not to call people fat.  We can't punish her for things she hasn't been taught yet."

It was a lightning bolt moment where I was supremely Heavenly Father gave me a partner in this parenting thing.  We aren't born knowing we're not supposed to state certain things to each other in our culture (although if you'll remember, my Brazilian friends laughed at me about my American hang-ups about weight.  "I'm fat, just call me fat!" Betiane would say... I think.  My Portuguese stinks so she could have been telling me she was a giraffe or something else entirely.)

It was a lovely teaching moment, where we sat in the frozen foods section and I explained that we shouldn't loudly comment on other people's weight.  Ahhhhh, I thought.  That lesson has been taught, moving on.

So then a few weeks later I was standing in a checkout line with WonderGirl, and a very tattooed/pierced lady was standing in front of us.  I don't remember exactly what she said, but it was something about THERE'S ALL THAT WEIRD STUFF ON HER, MOMMY.  I shushed her and changed the subject, and when we got him the car I admonished her for her loud comments.  Her genuinely surprised reply left me speechless.

"But mommy, she was fat and I didn't say anything about it."

Oh. Apparently I needed to cover ALL the inappropriate things we should not loudly ask about strangers.  I take too many things for granted in this parenting thing.

Oooo, another side story before I get onto the main topic I was going to cover (trick or treating).  I got a call early on this year from the Dude's principal who informed me that my cherub had mooned a few kids at recess.  There's that stumbling apology you make when you find stuff like this out - "I'm so so so sorry -I didn't know I needed to teach him not to do that... I didn't know that was a topic that needed to be covered... You can bet it will be covered tonight IN DETAIL."

Of course I was horrified and when I called my mom to vent and freak out about it, she laughed so hard I thought her head would fall off.  The grandkids haven't fallen too far from the crazy grandparent tree....

So on that note, when we told the kids we were going trick or treating, I didn't think I needed to cover the process in detail.  I mean, it's basically begging from door to door.  They beg for stuff all the time, this just adds light exercise.  We walked to the first house, the husband and I proudly watching our adorable crew from the sidewalk.  The Dude walked up to the door, OPENED IT AND WALKED RIGHT ON IN, LOOKING FOR THE CANDY HE'D BEEN PROMISED.  The poor lady of the house came out of her kitchen to see a small vampire rummaging through her entryway.

Lesson learned: Explain the steps.  1. Walk up to house with porch lights on. 2. RING DOORBELL.  3.  WAIT.  4. Yell trick or treat and if you don't thank them so help me I am taking that candy away from you and eating it right in front of you right there on the sidewalk.

Can't leave things to chance with these kids.

Case in point:  Thing 3's first trick or treating extravaganza taught me that I needed to add a 5th step to the process.

 The only shots I could get were of his back.  He wasn't quite sure what was going on, but he was thinking there was something awesome about this and was NOT willing to pause or pose for nothin'.
 Okay, The Dude remembered to ring the doorbell this time.  There's a nice man approaching the door...
 Now he's thinking - HOLY SNAP.  IF THIS GUY HAS ALL THIS CANDY, I WONDER WHAT OTHER STUFF HE HAS.  I'M GOING TO CHECK.  So he walked right on in.  See?
 This is after daddy had to run into yet another stranger's house that evening and remove one of his children.  As you can see, Thing 3 is annoyed.  He does not enjoy being thwarted.
But since there was candy involved, he decided to forgo the tantrum and head to the next house.  And yes, he crawled under the occupant's legs and tried to search their house too.

So apparently it's -  1. Walk up to house with porch lights on. 2. RING DOORBELL.  3.  WAIT.  4. Yell trick or treat and if you don't thank them so help me I am taking that candy away from you and eating it right in front of you right there on the sidewalk. And the addendum -  5.  LEAVE THE PREMISES.

We'll just add all of this to the ever-growing list of things I didn't know I needed to cover (such as not playing with toilet brushes, removing your dirty underwear BEFORE putting on the clean pair, and not eating toothpaste as a mid-day snack.  ALL OF THESE HAPPENED TODAY.)


Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your kiddos awesome Tricks & Treats. Only your crew thinks to venture outside the Halloween pumpkin/box. Plus you gave the neighbors unforgettable Halloween memories they'll be re-telling for years.

Jane said...

Oh dear heavens, I was literally laughing out loud - not usually something I do. The things we have to look forward to!
Some of those lessons need to be reiterated even as grown ups. Tarzan has worn two pairs of underwear at the same time, twice, while we've been married, so it doesn't go away.

Gruber said...

When Megan was about 3 she was also a dragon, we forgot to tell her that when she came across other dragons while trick or treating that she is not actually a dragon and does not need to fight them. This after seeing my cute little blonde dragon notice another dragon and proceed to shove that dragon down the hill. Cuz thats what dragons do!

HEAR YE. I need to document the fact that I ran 3 miles and didn't feel like death.  So just to make sure it wasn't a fluke, I did...