I was recently reminded of a time years ago when my kids put me in an uncomfortable position. I was at the hospital for my pre-op testing and paperwork a week before my third was about to be born. When we arrived at the hospital the administrative offices were under construction so there were these small makeshift cubicles instead.
When it was my turn to go, a woman came and brought myself, my four-year old and almost three-year old toddled in behind me. We sat down in the confined space and the representative started to ask me questions. She turned to her computer to enter the answers. Her computer was on a side desk, so she turned and gave us her full face profile. Oh Boy!
My son then says (as loud as possible), “Mommy, that lady has a really big nose!” Then it starts, the sweating. I can feel my body perspiring, my heart starts racing. What can I do? What can I say?!?! I’m trapped in this 5 x 5 cubicle and I can’t leave! There is just silence from the representative, silence and a scowl. Then as if she knew, my daughter pipes in “Mommy, you have a big nose too!” Aaaahhhhh! Thank you I think to myself. “Yes I do have a big nose, big people have big noses and little people like children have little noses” I say.
My son was just stating the obvious. The woman really did have a very big nose. To him at four years old, it was just an observation, no ill intent. To the adult hearing it, it was an insult. I assume the representative was not thinking “kids will be kids”, since she soon stated that she had to go to the printer and get paperwork. Well she left the three of us in that tiny cubicle for over a half an hour! Unless she had to take a bus to get to the printer, I am pretty sure that this was her passive aggressive way of sticking it to me.
When my grandmother had dementia and alzheimer’s, she would often blurt out things. She told one person they had a fat belly, another she said looked stupid in their glasses. She even laughed at someone’s outfit. These were all young child like statements. They are the statements made before your child learns censorship (though some never do). My mother now is making her own observations. She told my daughter not to cut her hair because she won’t look good. (she was on her way to the hair salon to get eight inches cut off). She also told me I shouldn’t be wearing “those” shorts , they do not make me look nice. So now when my Mom makes these “observations”, I think back to that uncomfortable position in that cubicle. Then I say to myself “kids will be kids”.