Wish You Were Here: Kids Say the Darnedest Things

photo: Unsplash/Julia Taubitz

Kids say the darnedest things, quite literally and also quite loudly, and almost always when you least expect them to. Trust me. I’m somewhat of an expert on the subject matter.

Over the years I’ve tried to teach my kids things like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and how to eat with a fork, but considering I still can’t manage to twist my own spaghetti without half the plate falling into my lap, I’d say I’ve largely been unsuccessful.

So my offspring are a little unfiltered and sometimes eat with their hands. There are worse things like … public urination for example or … disturbing the peace, petty theft … stop me anytime here.

It doesn’t matter I guess. The point is that my son was guilty of all of them and in a period of less than an hour if you could believe it on our last visit to a public swimming area that shall remain nameless because we already have enough problems without the authorities tracking us down.

Anyway, it was a Monday. I was feeling brave or stupid or maybe a combination of the two and I thought I would take Junior swimming.

Just to be clear, I am not much of a pool person. I mean, I like the idea of a pool or lying next to one while someone fetches things like fruity drinks or fans me with leafy cooling agents but actually getting into the pool, in a suit, in front of other pool-goers who may or may not be able to ascertain the amount of cottage cheese currently taking up real estate on my ass, makes me want to hire a college kid to take my almost-three-year-old to the pool for me, which essentially is what I did for the entire month of July and part of August, (re: Babysitter X).

But then I thought, How hard could it be? After all, I gave birth to this child — to multiple children, actually — and nothing truly could be more humiliating than having your legs in stirrups while an arrestingly attractive doctor in residence helps a human head emerge from your … you know what, I’ll spare you.

Suffice it to say, if someone asks you if you want a mirror at some point during the course of attempting to deliver something that anatomically feels like pushing a beach ball through the width of a pool noodle, do yourself a big favor and don’t take the mirror. You’ll thank me later … at the pool, perhaps, where Junior has recently materialized, wearing his shark print swimsuit and blue swim vest. He’ll be the one standing in the corner by the lounge chairs announcing to anyone within earshot that he’s “doing a big poop” and “nobody look at me!”

Potty training has been a real pleasure so far which is basically the reason he’s still in diapers but he did get out of the pool and, thankfully, in time, so I have to give credit where credit’s due:

Thank you to the young woman in the lifeguard chair who I wasn’t sure had a pulse but who somehow must have seen my son looking a little constipated and said something to him, so yes, there are everyday heroes and yes, they are out there and no, I’m not one of them, clearly. I can’t even manage to find the baby wipes I swore I had packed but were suddenly MIA and at the worst possible moment of course.

Can I just say, Wilton people are nice. Seriously, no one batted an eye at this or raised an eyebrow or said anything at all when I went to change the poop and it rolled briefly across the cement and almost landed plop down in the pool. Or when Junior decided mid-diaper change that he wanted some other little boy’s toy race car across the way and that it might be worth it to make a pit stop and go strong arm this freshly diapered child into relinquishing his prized possession only to be challenged by someone who had just as much affinity for common items parents most frequently break their necks on.

We left with a lot of fanfare, some missing matchbox cars and possibly undergarments along with the inherent knowledge that neither of us would be up to this task again anytime soon. On the way out, he told the lifeguard he did a pee pee in the pool and that mommy said it was okay and I briefly considered changing my name to Shelby Sapperstein and moving to Sauble Beach. I could sell seashells by the seashore in Canada or at least subject a new population of innocent bystanders to my son’s antics when he yells things like, “My mom’s not wearing any underwear!” just when I thought we were home free.

And then I saw them — pink and polka dotted and lying in the middle of the parking lot. “Look, Mommy. There’s your…”

“Get in the car.”

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.