A window of opportunity is open for my three-year-old son and he's taking full advantage. It's a freedom he and other kids his age will enjoy for only a brief time. Then, they will be forced, hopefully, to conform to the manners of polite society. The only reason this behavior isn't considered rude, at this point, is because it is completely innocent. His spirit is still pure and incapable of malice.
The action, of which I speak, is saying exactly what is on his mind...out loud.
Three times this week alone, I have belly-laughed at things that have spilled "from the mouths of babes." (Twice from my son, once from his pre-schoolmate.) Of course this isn't a new phenomenon. Bill Cosby and Art Linkletter hosted TV shows about it. But it feels different when it's your kid saying the darndest thing.
For instance, picture us at the dentist's office -- always a crapshoot with a three-year-old. The hygienist was doing her best to explain to my son the instruments and techniques that would be used to x-ray and clean his teeth. She was wonderful, but I could tell she didn't have kids of her own. All parents can tell. And kids can tell when they're being patronized. They don't like it. Moreover, her explanation was taking forever. Suddenly, in the middle of her monologue, my son said to her, "I want my Daddy to talk now."
She was taken aback. She said, "Oh, you want to talk to your Daddy about this?"
"No," he replied, "I just want him to talk and not you."
Then there was the humiliating walk to school. On our way, we pass a hardware/plumbing supplies store. The front window is adorned with some knickknacks -- one of which grabs your attention right away. It's a small figurine of a man who is...how shall we say...doing his business, or, on the throne, or, to quote Elmo's Potty Time, making "woo-woo"...you get the idea. Anyway, this window, with the statue, is right in from of a bus stop. I'm sure you can imagine the general delight/disgust among commuters when my boy gestured to the figure and announced, loudly, "That's Daddy!" I lowered my head and picked up the pace.
Luckily, the last instance was at someone else's expense. One afternoon, as I was picking my son up from school, I greeted his adorable little classmate "Sally" (not her real name.) "Hello Sally," I said. To which she immediately and matter-of-factly replied, "My Mommy puked in the toilet this morning."
"Terrific," I said and continued out the door. As I passed "Sally's" Mom on her way in I asked, hoping to catch her off-guard, how she was feeling. But instead of looking surprised or mortified, she understood immediately and said, "Oh, right, Sally's been telling everybody today."
As I continue to face the realities of working vs. staying at home these days, one thing is for certain -- I never laughed as hard, or as often, at work as I do hanging out with kids. There's got to be something to be said for that.