Yesterday, after several failed attempts, I finally made it to Shoppers Drug Mart to mail out the last of my thank-you cards and send back the size “6 month” NY Giants hat I ordered for Sam (apparently my four month old has the head of a 12 month old). As we were walking through the store, Isla kept anxiously saying “Mommy there’s a boy following me”. In the span of about two minutes she must have said it at least 6 times. “The boy” she was loudly referring to was in fact a lady. Visibly annoyed, this lady corrected my daughter and exclaimed “I’m a GIRL and I’m NOT following you”. Isla was not buying it. With her little nose crinkled, she then basically implied this lady was a liar and said “no, you’re a boy”. To make things even more awkward, this conversation took place with Isla peeking out from her hiding spot behind my legs. It was then we discovered that this lady was on her way to the post office as well and, naturally, would take the place in line behind us; thus confirming Isla’s suspicion that she was being followed.
I’m sure every parent has had these embarrassing and awkward moments as a result of their toddler. While I could see the humour in this situation, I was surprised at this woman’s reaction. In Isla’s defence, she did kinda look like a boy. It didn’t help that she had on a big, square coat and weird little beanie. Honestly, if you ask me, she could have gone either way; but that’s beside the point. What I thought was strange was the look this woman gave me while repeatedly insisting that she wasn’t a boy. It was as if she was telepathically saying “she’s your daughter – shut her up!” I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but when it comes to the absent filter of a two-year-old, there’s not much that can be done aside from inadvertently creating an even bigger spectacle.
Kids say ridiculous things; sometimes embarrassing, sometimes awkward, often times endearing. I think it’s unfair for society to place a responsibility on the parents to somehow sensor the perception of their small children. Of course teaching them manners and self-awareness takes time, patience, and the acceptance that you will sometimes have those mortifying moments when your barely two year old calls the woman at the bank (far too young to be a grandmother) ‘Nana’. That was Isla’s favourite thing to do when she was learning to talk. Unfortunately my ability to perform damage-control has always been lacking and after a few seconds of nervous laughter I would always say something stupid like “oh, it’s probably just your haircut”. Yep, that's right, best course of action when a person suddenly feels insecure about their appearance is to find a way to insult their haircut. Write that down.
Experiencing cringe-worthy moments on behalf of your innocent children is all part of being a parent. If I had some good advice on how to handle it, now would be a good time to offer it to you. Unfortunately all I can say is that you’re not alone. I imagine one thing you can do is to hope the person victim or witness to the words of your toddler realizes that it’s silly to be offended by them. What I can suggest is that you go home and write it down because, looking back, it will one day be hilarious (if it’s not already).
Isla once insisted the bearded man sitting at the table next to us at Cora’s was Santa. She literally wouldn’t drop it. I’m sure the poor man trying to enjoy his breakfast thought it was cute at first, but enough’s enough. That’s kids for you though; they just say whatever is on their minds. Come to think of it, I know a lot of adults who suffer from the same affliction. Maybe it’s a lack of self-awareness that prevents one from outgrowing this stage. Regardless, the only time you can really get away with not having a filter is when you’re too young to know any better. After a certain age I think you evolve into plain and simple ignorance. And really, while many often blame the fact that they “don’t have a filter” when they say something stupid; unless they’re two, it’s a terrible excuse.