Kids Say the Darnedest Things
“Mom, remember your sunscreen,” my eight-year-old advises me as we head to the beach.
“I have sunscreen on my face. I am okay.” I ill-advisably respond as he doses himself in nearly the entire bottle of spray.
“It’s better to be safe than sorry, “my eight-year-old proudly suggests as we head out the door.
There is a warm breeze. It’s twenty degrees Celcius. Any day without rain at this time of year in the pacific northwest is glorious, and we make our way to the beach.
We return home from the beach, my neck warm and coloured, like a cooked lobster and my legs spotted — a fresh sunburn. My eight-year-old was right. I don’t say anything as I make a sandwich for him. Then, I head to the bathroom to put some cooling cream on my aching neck, quickly paying the consequences for my poor decision earlier in the day.
Stepping out of the bathroom, my son is inching his way to his room. He has one hand behind his back and his tablet in the other.
“What do you have there?” I ask.
“Nothing, mom.” My eight-year-old begins to smirk. This kid is so expressive that his intent is always written over his face, and the best part, he is completely unaware.
We don’t have a ton of household rules. However, two of them are no food in the bedroom; be honest with mom and dad — lying will have bigger repercussions than telling the truth.
“Can I see what is behind your back?” I inquire.
The smirk slowly grows. A downwards glance follows.
“What is our rule?” I question him.
“No food in the room,” he responds.
Following up, I ask: “What is more concerning than food in the room?”
“Not being honest.”
“Decisions we make can have consequences. No electronics for the rest of the day.” I deploy the somewhat pathetic and ultimate first-world form of punishment.
My son quickly adjusts his plans for the evening, “After I finish my sandwich, can I go in the hot tub?” I agree. He follows up, “will you come in with me?” My legs are now aching as I continue to repeat to myself, I should have listened to him earlier.
“No, thanks. I will sit outside with you instead.”
Random chatter, 15 minutes later, my son’s eyes are on me. He sees the glow on my legs and starts to realizes the truth behind declining the hot tub.
“Mom. We both did something wrong today. I tried to sneak food into my room and lie about it, and you didn’t put sunscreen on,” my eight-year-old begins to make some affirmative statements. Calling himself out, acknowledging without reservation his wrongdoing and setting the stage to make a case.
“Now, one of these things is much worse than the other. You need to take care of your health first. You didn’t do that.” He continues with poise, confidence and articulating the facts. History, and the strength of our bond and understanding of eachother becomes more evident — I know exactly where he is going, and I couldn’t be more proud.
My eight-year-old nearly simultaneously interrupts my internal thoughts, “you probably know where I am going with this.” His statement clear and confident, not argumentative in any way — direct and honest.
I interrupt, “You’re not getting electronic tonight, buddy. Both of our actions have consequences and trust me, I am paying my dues right now.” There is a pause as his grin beams — he is proud of his negotiating skills. And, you know what, I am too.
Parenting is filled with adventures, experiences and conversations that keep life interesting. The privilege of seeing our child(ren) step into their own and develop their unique attributes, showing individually, is a remarkable gift.
I invite you to take a moment to honour that gift: reflect on your child’s words that warm your heart, have you chuckle to yourself, or leave you laughing so hard tears fill your eyes. Take a moment to share a quote from your child in the comments and appreciate their words because kids really do say the darnedest things.
More Parenting Moments
Missed Lessons in the Parenting Handbook
You know — the one about your 3 year old’s marshmallow and gummy vitamin kitchen heist in the middle of the night?