Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Where Did This Child Come From?

Have you noticed that there comes a moment when your child ceases to be part of you and becomes a person? One second they are nursing, squirming stinkbugs (parasites, yes - but cute ones) and the next they are people. With free will. And fresh mouths. Usually these moments happen around age two and half, when their ability to speak English progresses to the point where they can say things that are somewhat surprising, if not downright shocking. This is also the point at which they can narc you out. Like saying "shit" when they spill their juice while at church. And you are forced to say things like "My goodness Pastor Henry! I have no idea where she learned that word."

I was reminded that my children are unique individuals the other day while driving my four year old son to preschool.

Mommy: "Hey Little Dude, could you please buckle up?"
Boy: "Mmmmm.... I don't think so."
Mommy: "You know the rule. We're going to be late. Buckle yourself."
Boy: "I said no, Suckah!"
Mommy: "What did you just call me?"
Boy: (in very manner of fact tone) "SUCKAH."
A look in the rear view mirror reveals one small raised eyebrow and an overall feeling of smug satisfaction.
Mommy: "Excuse me?"
Boy: (slow and loud, as if I am too stupid to understand) "Suh. Kah."
Mommy: "Um... Where did you learn that word?"
Boy: "I can't tell you dat."
Mommy: "I don't want to hear it again. You can stop this 'sucker' business right now."
Boy: "You said it WONG. And never."
Mommy: "Never? And, I did not say it wrong."
Boy: "And, I will never stop saying suckah. Never never never. Because, I love to say suckah."
Said with same calm, pedantic deliberateness that his father uses when trying to explain something ridiculous and useless to me, like what a wide receiver does.
Mommy: "Are you buckled yet?"
Boy: "No."
Mommy: (Insolent. Little. Begger. Try not to laugh. Or yell.) "Son. Buckle your seat belt. We are going to school, not to reenact a scene from "Shaft".
Boy: "What's dat?"
Mommy: sigh... "Never mind. Do you want to spend the morning with Mommy, who's starting to feel mean or with Mrs. Wilson, who is always nice? Because no buckle, no preschool."
Boy: "Oh..."
Mommy: "Are you buckled?"
Boy: "Yes Mama. Can we listen to some music, I want to wock out." Then quietly whispers "Suckah!"

Am I the only one who has these moments? Where it dawns on you that he gets it FROM HIS MOTHER. Where you wonder if its such a good idea that you are the primary influence on little minds? That you and your spouse and all of your embarrassing quirks have now produced multiple small humans that are quite possibly weirder than you are? The whole nature/nurture debate becomes meaningless in our family's case as we are both the biological and custodial parents and we are, kind of, goofy. So, when one of your kids says something funny and you wonder where the hell they come from... The answer is you, Suckah.

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