Let the parental embarrassment begin

Oh dear. We have entered that most hilarious and alternately embarrassing stage of childhood. Jude’s personality has been kicking into high gear and we are loving every minute of it. But still, there are occasional moments of embarrassment (on my part) or feeling like I’ve totally lost my cool as I run after him, feeling like I’m a big mother hen, flapping my wings to chase after my young. I have no idea if chickens actually do this. That’s just what I feel like.

We have a sweet neighbor lady who was widowed just a few months ago. She lives across the cul-de-sac from us. Simon goes and talks with her from time to time, and as it turned out, he discovered that she and I have much in common in our shared love of France and travel. He has encouraged us to get together. She sent some children’s books for Jude one day, and I sent her a book on France. Unfortunately, she has dropped by twice now and I always manage to miss her — either I’m in the shower or out at the grocery store.

So last night I was feeling rather spontaneous, pushing Jude in his red car around the cul-de-sac after dinner. It wasn’t my most stylish moment — my pants had peanut butter and lord knows what else on them, and Jude was only wearing a diaper and a dirty-from-dinner tee shirt that proclaimed “World’s Strongest Man” on it. However, as I pushed him around, I noticed that her front door was open and I figured now was as good a time as any to just say hello and that I was thankful for her thinking of us.

She was quick to invite us in, and so my barefoot, half-naked, dirty child pushed his way on in and made himself at home. Her house was lovely and she had all kinds of books and small knick-knacky things around that were so enticing to a small boy. She pulled out some Legos for him as well as a book or two and we began chitchatting.

And it was like at that moment, the witching hour began.

“Daddy! DADD-EEEEEEEEEEEE!” he wails. Mournful, racking cries for his beloved father, as if he can see him out the door or something. I try to ignore this. He chunks a Lego across the room in frustration. I give a stern look. I also start to notice just how dirty his tee shirt is. And the fact that his diaper has a smear of peanut butter on it. Oh dear. This is not a good impression. My intention of a quick, hasty hello should have been more well-thought-out.

I’m trying to maintain civilized conversation over the din of “DADDDDDDDDYYYYYYYYYYYYYY.”

And then it changes. Now he is clutching his diaper and saying, “PEE PEE! PEEEEE PEEEEEE!”

Internet, let me tell you, when Jude says pee pee, I have learned to take notice. It usually means poop, and it also means this: “Mother, if you do not come over here and remove the offending feces from my pants, I will do it for you. And then smear some poop on you too so you know just how bad it is and so that you will understand that when I tell you “pee pee,” I want you to change my pants RIGHT. THIS. INSTANT.”

So you can imagine that it was with considerable dismay when my peanut-butter-poopy-pants baby starts announcing this loudly as I am trying to have civilized conversation about foreign travel with dear sweet neighbor lady.

I try to ignore it. I don’t smell anything, so this is a good sign. Jude’s dismay heightens. “PEE PEE! PEE PEEEEEEE!” At this point, sweet neighbor lady stops.

“Um, is he uncomfortable?” she delicately asks. “Is he potty trained? Does he need to go to the bathroom?”

O where is the great hole in the floor to swallow me up? I feign surprise, as if I have never in my life heard this child say such a thing. “I cannot imagine why on earth he is saying such a thing,” I stutter.

Ahh, exit stage right. Now is the opportune time to take our leave.

And wouldn’t you know it, the kid was pulling my leg the entire time. There was no poop. He was just ready to get out of there.

I greatly hope to redeem myself at a later date. Hopefully when the little man is napping!