I just got home from being a parent chaperone for Roan’s school field trip to the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. What can I say? I love doing these things because of course I love to be involved in my son’s life, but it’s also a lot of voyeurism on my part. Most parents think of other people’s kids as potential bad influences or wonder how their little angel is going to withstand the peer pressure on them to misbehave. I’m no different. I fall into the trap of thinking that there’s no way my kid would be the one to behave mischievously or encourage others to do so because well, he’s a rule follower, and that’s that.
But it’s not actually that simple. I’m beginning to learn that the kids we write off as “bad” are actually just the ones who unabashedly put themselves out there. And the kids who have their parents convinced of their impending sainthood are maybe just a wee bit more skillful at hiding their dark side.
I have a friend who recently said to me about one of her daughter’s friends, “I just have to remind myself that she’s a little girl”. No doubt. These are kids, learning to read social cues, learning that things have consequences, and not pre-made with filters. Children are, in short – imperfect.
While we were riding the bus home from the field trip, I was sitting across the aisle from Roan and a few friends, who were laughing hysterically at each other. They were all having fun, all playing their part in some game. I thought it was so insanely cute that I got out my camera and started video taping it. The wild laughter and knee slapping and high fiving was more cuteness than I could almost take. I was thinking that I’d have to send this cute little video to Roan’s grandparents and friends.
That is. Until. I got home and reviewed the video, without the distraction of a wild bus driver and city noise, and found out that this cute song they were singing and laughing at was not actually called, “Mr. Peanut”. No. It was not. Indeed. Surprisingly, they were laughing at an entirely different thing, which I will not spell out here but if you’ve ever been a six-year-old and thought the word “Penis” was a pretty awesome punchline for pretty much everything….well, hells bells I just spelled it out for you.
So my kid – turns out he can be inappropriate with the best of them. Not only that – he will do it in front of me, and thinks that I’m deeming it worthy of video taping. I think we’re going to need to have a little talk tonight. My biggest challenge will be to not crack up – because while it is totally inappropriate, it is also funny as hell.