Children can coax…..scratch that…. rip you out of your comfort zone like nothing else in life. I was recently recalling such an incident when my son did that for me. I had a newborn daughter, was relatively new to Dallas, and on the average day could be considered quite frazzled. On this particular day, I had to take all three of my children (4 and under) to the pediatrician for the baby’s check up. Anyone who has small children knows the amount of effort it takes to get them all ready, to keep their clothes on, and to get them out the door. It is quite a feat in itself. Going somewhere that requires waiting can be downright intimidating. I thought I was completely prepared however. I packed cars, books, colors, diapers, wipes, snacks, and juice in my bag. I was ready for EVERYTHING.
Before I continue, you must know something about my son. He LOVES cars. It started when a friend of mine let us borrow the cars movie. I don’t think he was even 2 at that point. He could talk a little bit and successfully requested the Cars movie everyday for weeks. So much so, that we finally bought our own copy. Since that time he goes absolutely nowhere without at least two cars. Why two? One for each hand of course. He even carried them down the aisle at my brother’s wedding. He used to pile every single one of them up in his bed at bedtime and sleep with them. We could hear the clanking of metal cars every time he rolled over during the night.
On this particular day, we got to the pediatrician’s office and checked in. Now, hear me when I say this place was crowded. Crowded is really a nice word for the situation. It actually was like being in the mob that rushes the doors of Walmart on Black Friday/Thursday midnight-ish. I literally had to sit on the side table. I slid my baby, in her baby carrier, partially under the table to keep the bulky carrier out of the walkway. Don’t worry, I could still talk to her from between my knees :)
There was a bench in front of us that was absolutely packed with people. I dug the cars out of my bag knowing that we would obviously be there a while. My son began happily running his cars up and down the floor, across the table, down the side of the bench, making cute little boy car noises. I kept the baby entertained and my oldest daughter colored in her books. All was well. I even got the “they are so cute” look from other parents to which I silently gave the “thanks, I’m so proud” nod back.
There was a lady sitting in front of me. Her pants didn’t fit quite right and thus exposed quite a bit of her hiney. That’s really a nice way to put it. Truth is her crack was hanging out like 6 inches. It was so much exposure that I found myself staring at the ceiling to avoid eye contact with said hiney. I was, afterall, only inches away from it. The entire time, my son is on his knees at eye level with this lady’s derriere, running his cars up and down the bench she was sitting on. I was not comfortable with this, but there really was nowhere else for him to play. Then the unthinkable happened…. Before I could blink he had run one of his cars right across this woman’s exposed equator and down her longitudinal crack! The lady cries out like she’s been goosed. The crowded room turns to look at what is causing the commotion and my little blonde baby boy innocently looks up at me with those big brown eyes. My parenting skills flash before my eyes as I feverishly try to apologize to the woman who has just been violated by my son’s car. Much to my disadvantage she does not speak English and I don’t know “I’m sorry” in Spanish.
After the initial shock, it all ended fairly enough. The woman seemingly accepted my embarrassed apology. I scrambled to put my son safely in my lap with a bottle of hand sanitizer. And, the room went back to a low rumble. I, however, took a little longer to recover. I remember thinking “I can’t believe he just did that! What was he thinking??” My blood pressure, I’m sure, was through the roof and I was officially sweating bullets. I could not wait for the doc to call our name so I could get this horrific experience over with. My son didn’t know any different and just kept playing happily. I can definitely laugh about it now, but at the time I just wanted to find the nearest pile of sand and stick my head in it.
Kids are so unpredictable. Adults are unpredictable too. We just don’t notice that until something rocks our boat. I believe character (that thing that we want to develop in our children) shows up in how you handle those unpredictable, uncontrollable moments like what happened in the doctor’s office. Good character says we realize that things don’t always go as we plan them, so we roll with the unexpected, even the embarrassing, moments in life. We learn to laugh at those crazy incidents. A sense of humor is essential to parenthood! And that is something I want my kids to learn – to laugh at themselves. It’s OK to make a mistake. It’s OK to not be perfect. Good character does not equal perfection. Good character equals flexibility.
Be blessed! Love your babies and ALL the moments they bring :)