Parenting involves teaching children what they can and can’t do in polite society. Of course, these lessons happen in the context of real life, often causing quite a bit of embarrassment on the part of the parents. Take, for example, the lesson we had to teach Omelette about keeping her observations to herself. When Early Bird was still in the hospital, we went to visit her and stepped into the elevator with a rather large man. Upon seeing this man’s size, Omelette commented, “Wow, he’s big.” Quick looks of desperation were exchanged between myself and Roostler, and an uncomfortable silence fell on the rest of the people gathered in that small space.
Now fast forward about three years. We are just finishing up dinner. I’m sitting at the table with Omelette and Early Bird trying to persuade them to eat more of the spinach quiche I knew they wouldn’t eat but took a chance on anyway. Roostler is clearing away his dishes and heading out to the garage to switch the laundry. Then, it happened.
To put it politely, I passed gas. And there was no blaming it on the baby or pretending that it was the chair moving. Omelette immediately sought to ascertain who the guilty party was. I calmly explained that it is not always polite to point out that someone has been the victim of an unfortunate bodily function. Of course, this statement only served as an admission of guilt for her.
“It was you!” she exclaimed.
“Yes, well it happens to me more than it used to because –”
I intended to finish this statement with an explanation that sometimes a mother of three children inadvertently lets one go, but Omelette finished my sentence for me.
“– you have a huge butt!”
I think we need more than a lesson in politeness here.