by Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK
Compassion, kindness, respect for diversity, politeness, honesty, an understanding of basic anatomical functions-all good things I've tried to instill in my children over the years and all things that have backfired horribly in public, much to my embarrassment. No matter how skilled we are as parents, the Public Child Outburst happens to all of us. It's the one time you rue the fact that your child is such a clear speaker.
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Here are some of my worst. Please please please tell me I'm not alone in my humiliation by sharing some of yours with me!
1. "People just give me stuff 'cause I'm so cute." A woman in a fabric store offered my 3-year-old son a piece of candy. When I prompted him to say thank you with, "What do you say to the nice lady?" this is what my eldest came up with.
2. "Stop making ugly faces!" My 2-year-old to a disabled person at the gym. I was mortified.
3. "That man's belly is so big! Is he having a baby?" My 5-year-old in the checkout line at the grocery store.
4. "Mommy, don't choke me!!!" My two-year-old son screamed this at the top of his lungs when I leaned in to take away a box of candy he'd pulled off the shelf at the store. For the record, I have never, ever choked him or any of my children, nor threatened to. Of course that day I wanted to start...
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5. "I threw up this morning, but mommy said not to tell you." My 4-year-old to his preschool teacher. In my defense, it was because he gagged on piece of fruit he doesn't like and made himself retch. It wasn't real puke, I swear.
6. "Look! When I touch it, it gets all hard!" My 4-year-old son in the middle of a crowded shoe store touching... well, yeah.
7. "Hey Mister! Do you know you have no hairs on your head?" Pretty sure he knows he's bald, sweetie.
8. "My mom did a photo shoot for a magazine for men!" This was my kindergartener's contribution to sharing time. Just to be clear: It was a head shot for an article I'd written for a men's fitness magazine.
9. "I don't have any socks on today because my mom didn't do the laundry yet. My brother isn't wearing any underwear." My 8-year-old to his gym teacher. I have no defense. This one's true.
10. "Mom! Mom! My stomach hurts so bad! I think I'm having a baby! I can feel it kicking my butt! I need to push it out!" My 4-year-old said this at the customer service counter at J.C. Penney's. I took him to the bathroom afterward where he had a very large number two.
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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.