Speak Up…or Don’t - Kid 101

Speak Up…or Don’t

The old saying, ‘kids say the darndest things’ is most certainly true.  They don’t usually have an unspoken thought because the distance from their brain to their tongue is very short.  They think it, they say it.  Many times that can be entertaining for adults. Sometimes, not so much.

I have had both those experiences with things my boys would say.  As both foster and adoptive parents, we had to explain certain situations to our boys so they understood the terms birth parents, etc.  Two weeks after my youngest started kindergarten, we took in a 3 month old foster baby girl.  Contrary to the many naysayers that said my son, as the youngest, would be jealous, he fell in love with her and the idea of being a big brother, if only for a while.  So of course, the first thing he did when he went to school was to share his excitement at the new arrival.  He wasted no time the next morning in rushing up to his teacher and announcing that he had a new baby sister. His teacher, confused because she had seen my slender self dropping Chase off the day before, questioned, ‘Your Mom had a baby in her tummy?’ My son, frustrated by his teacher’s apparent ignorance, put his hands on his hips and replied, “No. We just went and picked her up at the office.”

One of my sons comes from an ethnic background that gives him a darker skin tone.  So imagine my surprise one day at his comment in a store.  Two young college aged guys, very dark skinned, were walking down the aisle and goofing around, rather loudly. My son, remembering the social standards I had taught him, was standing quietly by the cart.  He zoomed in on these 2 and was frowning.  He was obviously recognizing their lack of ‘following the rules’.  He continued to focus on them until he could take it no longer, and then asked in a frustrated tone, ‘Mom, what are those 2 brown guys doing?’  Thankfully, they didn’t hear him.  I looked around to make sure nobody else did either. I laughed and told them they were just having fun, a little loudly.

There are some of those moments when you see something building in your child and you pray that it’s not going to pass through their lips.  One such incident happened when one of my sons was 2 or 3.  We were waiting in an optometrist’s very crowded office.  I tried to get my boys where there would be room for wiggling but that day we were lucky just to find a seat.  Of course, we sat next to a senior citizen who was on portable oxygen. My son instantly honed in on the gadget, the box and the tubing that she was wearing. Anything that remotely resembles gadgets or technology has a boy’s attention. I tried to talk to my son to distract him but he was fixed on this lady. She finally noticed his gaze, I’m sure it was generating heat from the stare he had, and she smiled at him.  That was the go signal he needed. “Are you hurt?” He asked rather gently.  I held my breath because sometimes children’s inquisitive questions can be received as annoying.  She told him that she was, and how the machine helped her breath. She went on to elaborate that the reason she was on this machine was because she had smoked for years and damaged her lungs.  She encouraged him to never smoke.

I smiled a grateful smile to say thanks for both being patient with my son and sharing a life lesson. But my mother’s instinct could tell there was still something brewing in that little man. He opened his mouth and stretched out his arms to ask a one-word question. “Hug?” Her smile widened and her eyes grew moist, (as did mine), as he wrapped his arms around her neck, tubing and all.  We were called back for my other son’s appointment and he waved goodbye to her over my shoulder.  She waved back.

When we came out of the appointment to get my older son fitted for his new glasses, guess who was sitting with the optician getting her fitting?  My son’s new friend. She must have been in the midst of recounting our little encounter because she stopped talking, looked at my son with a big smile and declared, “And there he is.”  That smile was that trigger for my son again.  He nearly fell out of my arms trying to get to her.  Yes, she got another awesome, oxygen-restricting hug. It’s true, kids do say and do the darndest things.

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