I’ve long maintained the belief that I could wear a body cam on any given day and submit the footage as an application to make an appearance on that classic family show, Kids Say the Darndest Things. Whether it’s your kid who is the one talking, or you are on the receiving end of the comment, I think we can all attest to the fact that kids just DO NOT have a filter.
A lot of times, it’s adorably innocent and rooted in sincere childlike curiosity (i.e., “mommy why is that man’s skin chocolate?”) which we, after picking up our jaws from the ground and apologizing to passersby, can use as a great teaching moment to explain diversity: in skin tone, size, abilities, and dress.
But then there are the other kids.
The ones who seem to have a knack for intuitively knowing which information is highly embarrassing to their caregiver, and the skill for relaying that information in the most humiliating way possible.
Take, for example, my oldest daughter, Sarah.
We were at the new(ish) Bonobo exhibit at the Jax zoo, and our three kids squealed with delight when one of the female apes came right up to the glass and started interacting with them. The ape proceeded to lay down spread eagle with its nether regions pointed right towards us.
At this point, several other families had walked up. The atmosphere becomes AWKWARD (and quiet) real fast. All of the adults were avoiding eye contact with each other because these animals are just so human-like we all just felt like we were watching something highly inappropriate. At this point, Sarah pointed her finger and said (at the volume one would use to communicate with someone at the bottom of a canyon): “Look, mommy! That monkey has a private area. JUST LIKE ME!”
“Time to go!” my husband announced and performed a 180-degree turn with the umbrella stroller.
And yet, unfortunately, this wasn’t our first experience with Sarah feeling the obligation to share every thought that crosses her mind.
But first a little backstory: I had a home birth with our son, and a few days after he was born Sarah had walked into the bathroom and saw me examining how the healing process was going on down there. At the time, I thought nothing of it.
Fast forward to the first day of pickup for the carpool I had just arranged with another mom who I literally met once before to share drop-off/pickup responsibilities at VPK. As we turned back into our neighborhood, there was about a 12-second lapse of noise in the minivan. For some reason, Sarah sees silence as a missed opportunity. Apparently, at a loss of anything else to say, yet unable to bear the silence, Sarah turned to her new friend and said in a stage whisper, “My mommy looks at her private area with a mirror.”
I closed my eyes for a fraction of a second then glanced in the rearview mirror. Her little friend was gaping at her, open-mouthed. Then she slowly turned her head to look at me with what can only be described as genuine horror.
“Sarah…” I began, not entirely sure how to address this issue.
“Don’t talk about what people do in the bathroom…” I rambled. “That’s not showing good privacy?” I finished lamely.
At this point, I’m already imagining the conversation I was now going to be forced to have with her mom to explain why and how this was even discussed. (Spoiler alert: we became great friends anyway!) I’m sure it had to do with the fact that she also had three kids and was well aware of the “no-filter” problem.
And while it can be SO embarrassing for our kids to say whatever, literally WHENEVER, these moments are also fleeting. The older our kids get, the better they perfect those adult tricks of pretending, censuring, and faking it. But I can’t end on THAT sad note.
Here are a couple of epic examples of child-induced humiliation from my fellow mommas:
Child to the deli counter lady: “Do you have kids?”
Deli counter lady: “Yes.”
Child: “Are they at home with their dad?”
Deli counter lady: “No their daddy doesn’t live with us.”
Child: “You must be ONE LONELY LADY!”
Child (pointing to medical office receptionist): “Mommy, she has boobs.”
Child (after crawling underneath folding tables at a Salvation Army dinner): “Mommy that lady’s not wearing any panties!”
Child (after seeing someone put out a cigarette): “You know you’re going to die.”
Child to the librarian (after going with mom to the bathroom): “My mommy puts sticks in her private parts and wears diapers.”
Babysitter to the child: “Your baby brother is so cute, did you buy him at the store?”
Child: “NO, he didn’t come from the store, he came out of my mom’s bum!”
So tell us…
What is the most embarrassing thing your child has said??