Clearing my almost good name

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Since they were old enough to be even dimly aware that their lives were published, my children have understood that a fair amount of good-natured humiliation goes with the territory.

This is to say that I may have slipped up and told a story or six that to me was “adorable” but to them was more “change name and flee the state.” Nonetheless, it’s not like my children are just helpless shills in the game of “will tell family secrets for food.”

Over the years they have gotten their digs in too.

Clear

Our son once told his kindergarten teacher that “daddy threw mommy into the wall.”

Fortunately, she asked our son to repeat himself at which time he said, much more clearly, “daddy threw mommy into the POOL!” See how fast we went from Domestic Violence Hotline to funny family story?

When they were in elementary, it was easy to check in with the teacher at some point during a field trip or story hour and set the record straight. Now, it’s middle school and I fret that I don’t have nearly as many chances to suck up to the teachers to clear my good name — or at least concoct a reasonable alibi.

Stories

In sharing the “mommy into the wall” anecdote, I found that other parents have their own, often hilarious, “things my child said” stories to share.

One expectant mother was shocked to discover, via her son’s preschool art project, that her favorite drink was “beer.” She was mortified. She kept explaining over and over again … “It’s root beer, I swear!”

Another noted that HER 10- year-old let everyone know that her mom’s favorite pop is “rum and Coke!”

Better yet, if dear old lush of a mom doesn’t get some every day she gets “grouchy.”

Another shared that when her daughter’s kindergarten class party offered lemon-lime soda (a rare treat), her daughter said — in the loudest voice possible, “Look Mommy, we’re drinking our gin and tonics like we do every night!” She protested that the child had never had a gin and tonic! Realizing only much later that her panicked emphasis on “tonic” led to the conclusion that her 5-year-old never touched the bubbly and preferred her gin straight up.

Fortunately, when all these mommies aren’t sucking down the booze, they have fulfilling and exciting lives to occupy their time.

To whit: My son told his preschool teacher, at age 4, that he wanted to be a mommy when he grew up because I “stay home and play on the computer all day.”

Our daughter, at roughly the same age, was convinced that I was a “colonist” who “drove around all day” and “played on the computer.”

I flatter myself to wonder if Erma Bombeck’s kids complained that all mom did was “play around on that old typewriter all day.”

One mother told of her son having filled out a survey about their moms. According to her little cherub, she liked to lay on the couch and watch TV while he cleaned their house. He was 5.

Granted, he also said his mother was 89 years old and weighed 40 pounds, so she was quite frail.

Daddy

Father knows best? Don’t count on it. Don’t think dear old Dad necessarily fares much better.

One mother gleefully shared how her son completed a project for Father’s Day. He made a tie-shaped card and had to fill out an info sheet. When it asked dad’s weight the child wrote “Fat.”

Another dad was thrilled to discovered that his hobbies were “watching football” and “cussing.”

Still another was delighted to read that he was “really good at building stuff — and bleeding.”

This is probably a good time to point out that we should be giving the teachers the benefit of the doubt when our kids come home and tell us the unbelievable things that their teachers allegedly said or did.

The number of parents who become all lathered up over something their child swears the teacher said — and in a certain tone no less — is alarming. I always wonder why parents are so quick to believe that children — who so often get even the most basic knock-knock jokes wrong — are spouting the gospel when relaying what happens at school?

Take it from me, a Colonist who drives around all day, the best way to handle this is with one of the wisest lines of all: “I won’t believe everything your kids tell me about school, if you don’t believe everything they tell you about home.”

Trust (but verify). Now who needs gin?

(Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a very nice person. No matter what her kids say.)

About the Author

Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless. More Stories by Kymberly Foster Seabolt

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