Having studied early childhood education and worked with children for years before I had my own, I thought I mostly knew what to expect. There are a myriad ways that I was wrong about that. My son, Beckett, is quite the character—and he is walking proof that every child is a surprise. He’s precocious, advanced in language skills, and has a memory the likes of which I’ve never seen. Maturity-wise, however, he’s your typical 4-year-old. All of those traits combine leave you with one child with an uncanny knack for inflicting public humiliation on his mother. I don’t think any amount of education or pre-motherhood experience with kids could have prepared me for this…
Without further ado, here are the top 4 ways my 4-year-old embarrasses me in public:
1. He REALLY likes to be naked—and he has no shame.
I seriously can’t get this kid to keep his pants on. We frequently have talks about personal privacy regarding those parts of us that we keep covered with our clothes. The problem is that they only seem to be sinking in about halfway. He’ll pull his pants down while we’re out and about, yank them back up, and then proclaim, “My booty is private!
My booty is private!” as if he’s just remembering that fact. He flashed MY doctor yesterday. It’s pretty sound logic as we’ve discussed the doctor’s office to be one acceptable place for him to be nude as long as mommy is there. However, I’ve since clarified that the pro-nudity rule only applies to HIS doctor.
2. He firmly believes that the world is his potty.
In addition to the public nudity, he also engages in public urination. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve turned in horror at the sight of him assuming pee-pee posture. If he weren’t 4, I’m confident he’d have already received a citation. He’s denigrated my integrity as a mother in the park, at the zoo, at other children’s birthday parties…the list could go on ad nauseum. A couple of weeks ago, I caught him emptying his bladder off of our second floor balcony. Oh, brother—I feel like I’m living with a tiny drunken frat boy!
3. He repeats everything. I mean—everything.
He uses that uncanny memory I mentioned earlier specifically to remember things I shouldn’t have said, lyrics to songs I shouldn’t have let him listen to, and phrases from television and movies he shouldn’t have overheard. At a store the other day, he told me “Mommy, you’re stupid, d*** it!” with a huge grin on his face. I truly have no idea where that one came from. He gleefully mimics his favorite song with anyone who’ll listen as if he is initiating a totally innocent conversation “Stop! Wait a minute. Fill my cup; put some liquor in it.” Meanwhile, I’m over here turning 20 shades of red like and stuttering something like, “I promise I’m not a terrible mother!”
4. He has no filter.
I feel like this one may be worst of all. In general, 4-year-olds are just unabashedly honest. Beckett is no exception in this category. He loudly proclaims strangers are fat, old, or weird. For every time I explain to him that something is actually a rude thing to say, he comes up with something new. Once he starts asking uncomfortable questions, you cannot get him to JUST. SHUT. UP. He pushes until his curiosity is sated. Our most embarrassing moment to date was in line at a store, recently, where he walked around behind the register to see that the cashier’s pants were slipping down a bit. He proclaimed loudly—to everyone in line—that she had a hairy butt. As you might imagine, I could not get out of there fast enough.
All I can say is that parenting is a true adventure, and it’s a good thing he’s so darn cute!