Monday, November 19, 2012

Suburbs of Our Discontent

Shakespeare's child characters usually come off as smarter than the adults around them--or at least fully capable of exchanging witty barbs.  That little Macduff kid knew just how to tease his mother and distract her from her righteous tirade against her husband; and those little royal boys in Richard III had an uncanny ability to get under their notorious uncle's skin.

That Shakespeare knew what he was doing.

I often marvel at the fact that my kids can seem completely deaf when I'm asking them to get dressed or brush their teeth for the fifth time, but that they can engage with me in a hot second the minute I'm talking about something I don't want them to hear.

Last night my daughter was asking me some questions about "the facts of life" (and I'm not talking about Tootie and Blair).  Without betraying any confidences here, let's just say that the word "condom" came up. My seven-year-old, who I assumed was absorbed in his screen time a few rooms away, called out "What's a condom?"  (Why, gods, Why do you do these things to me? Why do you bring me so close to total exposure as an "inappropriate parent"? You know that little kids bring these kinds of things straight to show-and-tell the next day.....Why? Why?)

Without skipping a beat, though, I replied with what could perhaps be my greatest improv comeback of all time: "We're talking about condiments, honey. That's like mayonnaise and mustard."

Disaster averted. This time.

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