10 May 2008

May I have your attention, please?

Or, How do I let them know that because of the unfreezing process, I have no inner monologue?*

Just to forewarn those of you who haven't spent much time with children, you definitely need to be aware before you do so that anything you do or say can and will be used against you in the form of a public announcement.

To illustrate this with an inconsequential anecdote, yesterday evening J- and I were dividing and conquering at the store, and when we saw each other again we walked parallel for a few aisles until we got to a clear one we could meet in, which happened to be the "Wine and Spirits" aisle. I made some little joke about how J- must be there shopping from her own personal list for a perfect Mother's Day, and then D- all but shouted to us, two feet away, "What's ALcoHOL??"

Before I could even address this complicated question (for at least the fifth time so far), M- seconded him by shouting at the top of her lungs, which would be unbelievably powerful for a person thrice her size, "ALCOHOL!!!"

I have easily five thousand more examples, many of situations that were actually awkward, unlike this one, and that's factoring in that my kids are both pretty good in this respect, compared to other ones I've heard and J-'s reports from the various schools she's worked in. Little kids will ask, or repeat, absolutely anything that's on their mind, at any time, regardless of who can hear them. Volume control is developed pretty late in childhood.

I've tried to express to D- why it's not nice to talk about people when they are in your presence, even if you're saying something nice or (the best you can usually hope for) innocuous, but I haven't had too much luck so far, based on his behavior just this morning while the landlord and some "worker guys" were here fixing our windows. Beyond the nice and innocuous things, it seems pretty self-explanatory why you shouldn't ask or say something rude about somebody when they can hear you, but D- taught us long ago that the understanding of "rudeness" is developed some time after volume control.

Let me give you a quick rundown:
• "Why does that man have no hair?"
• "How come that lady's skin is all... crinkly??"
• (in a public bathroom) "What was that sound?"
• (re: more than one landlord) "Why is him in our house?"
• (re: our current landlord) "Why does him have no socks on?"
• (re: our former landlord, a Northern Maine potato farmer) "Why does him have dirt all over him?" and "Why doesn't he take his shoes off?"
• "I smell something baaaad."

And of course there's the ever-popular, "I don't like him."

Given time, I'm sure I'll remember at least a few dozen more quotes I've thus far almost completely repressed. How about you? Have you all got any good ones?

* A great quote from the original Austin Powers.


Anonymous said...

I am trying to get use to the 'Did someone poop?' question that seems to get asked in the most inappropriate places.

Fiesty Charlie said...

One day in Target as we are passing the food aisles, my two year old shouts, "Look Momma C. at all that wine.. you need to buy some."

I explain, "Abbie, I don't drink wine."

She says, "Yes you do, I see you drink, lots, and lots and lots!"

No volume control at all, and all as we were the first in the store, there were 15 employees stocking that particular aisle.

Gotta love them!

Rikki said...

I was in the ER with my son who had a gash that required stitches. Wile we were waiting, a VERY obese woman waddled in, without skipping a beat my son said "Look Mom, that lady has her butt in the front!".

Mama Dawg said...

When in Target (or Wal-Mart, insert your choice of stores) and using the bathroom, she would ask in a not so soft voice, "Mama are you going poo-poo?"

Kill me now!


LiteralDan said...

You guys have all got me beat-- it makes me grateful I've thus far been able to contain these kinds of moments.

Extra points to Rikki's son for his creativity and originality, especially under the circumstances!

Anonymous said...

Wow! "her butt in the FRONT!" That one takes the cake for me! Too funny (and cute), Dan!

Surfer Jay said...

Classic, i can't wait.

LiteralDan said...

Half-Past Kissin' Time: Yeah, that story is all-time great. Rikki should send that in to Reader's Digest or something.

Surfer Jay: Thanks, and welcome! Check out the followup here.