Kids sometimes say the darndest things
Michelle Blaylock, Mom's Corner
Don't you love the candidness of children? OK, let me rephrase that. Don't you love the candidness of other people's children? I was in a store the other day and a little boy turned to his mom, pointed at the lady in front of them, and said, "Mama, why is that lady buying those dishes? You said they were the ugliest thing you ever saw?" I felt that mom's pain.
Once when I was standing in a line with one of my little ones, my darling pointed to the lady in front of us, turned to me and said, "Mama, isn't that the dress you said you wouldn't be caught dead in?" Umm. Well, what do you do? I didn't want to lie to my child. My reply? "Yes dear, but the dress looks wonderful on her, it wouldn't look nice on me." Whew!
I've had other occasions where I couldn't recover quite so well. For example, when we lived in Kentucky we frequently went to the swimming pool. In fact, that was our main source of summer entertainment. One day we walked in and went to our normal spot to camp out. One of my wonderfully honest children turned to me and said (loudly I might add), "Mommy, is that lady naked?"
I look up and sitting on the edge of the pool is a very large woman in a two piece swimsuit. Unfortunately, sitting as she was, her swimsuit was kind of hidden and she looked like she didn't have a suit on! I turned to my child and said, quietly as possible, "Shh! Yes, it's a two piece swimsuit and that was rude."
Unfortunately, by this time my other children had noticed the lady. Let's just say I was ready to drown myself within about five minutes of arriving at the pool. Like I said, don't you love the candidness of other people's children?
When I was doing student teaching rounds, I was about seven-months pregnant and had been assigned to a kindergarten class. One of the little girls came up to me on my first day and said, "Are you fat or is there a baby growing in there?" I replied with a smile, "I have a baby in there." Her response? "Well, my mommy had a baby in her belly too, but now she's just fat." Before I could formulate a response, she just skipped off. I was really glad.
Children don't intend to be mean or rude when they say things like these. Children learn by asking questions and they don't have enough experience yet to know what is socially acceptable and what isn't. I believe you have to answer their questions honestly and age appropriately.
Most experts will tell you not to hush a child when they ask you a question, even if it is an embarrassing one. However, I don't agree. Now wait a minute. I didn't say you shouldn't answer their question. I just think we also have to teach our angels there is a time and a place for everything.
One time a child of mine asked me why a lady was buying Depends while we were standing in a checkout line. OK, that was not the time to discuss adult incontinence. I told her it was a private issue and we would discuss it when we got in the van. I have been known to say things like, "We shouldn't talk about that here. Remind me when we get in the van or home and I'll explain it then." I try to make a point of remembering myself, so my little one doesn't think I'm trying to avoid the question.
I also try to make sure I know what my child is asking. For example, I had one ask where they came from. I, in turn, asked what they meant. She said, "Well, my friend came from Irish. Where did we come from?" Good. I really wasn't ready for the other discussion-yet!
I do believe honesty is the best policy, but that doesn't mean you have to tell them everything all at once. When I was pregnant with my second child my first one asked how the baby got "in there" in the first place. Personally, I didn't think a three-year-old needed to know everything. So my answer was simply, "God put him or her there."
Unfortunately, because of honesty, I have had to sometimes tell my children I don't know. When my oldest was about six we came home from church one day and I could tell she was contemplating something very serious. During dinner I asked her what she was thinking about.
She looked at me and said, "Well, Mom, God made everything. So just where did he come from? Did he just pop out of an egg or what?" Good grief, why me?
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