Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cheek Burning Embarrassment

Today was voting day for city elections. Yes, I did my civic duty and voted. Better yet, I voted with my kids in toe, hopefully setting an example. Voting with my kids took me back to one of the first times I was incredibly embarrassed by one of my children. Like cheek burning, nervous chuckling, halfway apologizing embarrassed. This is not the first time I have voted with a kid next to me (and probably not the last). In the 2012 elections I took Max with me to vote at our polling location. I had explained to him, as best as I could to a four year old, what we would do and how everything would go down. I also made the mistake of telling him who I was voting for. Everything was fine until I voted, put my ballot through the machine and grabbed an "I Voted" sticker for Max. It was then that Max turned around and said to the people waiting to vote "so, who did you vote for? Are you sure you're voting for the right person? My mom says that's not the right person to vote for!" I quickly grabbed his hand and pulled him along, the entire time he's saying to everyone he passes "you might want to vote again if you didn't do it right the first time! My mom says that one's dumb!" I will never forget the embarrassing dread I felt as we left the building.
Of course, he was only four and didn't know better so I did my best to laugh about it, but I still held my breath while voting this time around. Tonight's voting went off without a hitch and no embarrassing moments occurred. I'm still left thinking about that parental dread. That one moment when your child opens up just a little too much to that person standing in the grocery store, or asked quite the question to the person walking in front of them, or making a comment they've heard you make, but in a totally wrong circumstance.
Max is now five and we're just now teaching him his address and phone numbers because of what happened to a friend. My friend and her husband would constantly brag about how their three year old knew his full name, address, phone number, where they were from, etc. She stopped bragging the day they were Christmas shopping at Target and had a TON of brand new toys, electronics, clothes, you name it piled high into two carts. The three year old announced loud enough that everyone standing at the checkout lanes could hear "My name is Ian and I live at _____ in Des Moines, Ia. and we're taking aaallll of this back to my house!" he said pointing at the shopping carts full of goodies. My friend wanted to die. I of course couldn't stop laughing when she told me the story and made a mental note of this incident and to avoid it at all costs.
I can guarantee you the next time junior decides to say just the "right" thing during church, you are not alone my parent friends. I have come to the conclusions a child's job is to fully embarrass their parents at all costs. Starting with the pooplosions at the worst times when they're infants to the cuss words they only seem to utter for grandparents to those gasping one liners that a room of 300 strangers seem to hear. My motto for these situations (or whenever I'm about to lose my shit) is "one day this will all be funny." The one thing that makes these moments easier to deal with is that I will have my turn to embarrass them. When they're sixteen years old, with their friends, and don't want anything to do with us, my husband and I just might have a little something up our sleeves already. I'm looking forward to their cheek burning embarrassment just a bit too much.
Until this time, I will practice my nervous smiles and face hiding for the next time, and yes I know there will be a next time, my kids decide to pull one of their stunts. My circus train wreck (aka my kids) never ceases to amaze me.

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