Our boys love going to the park. And we love taking them to the park! They love swinging. They love climbing! In fact, they love climbing up the slides as much as they like sliding down them. They’re energetic, social kids who always seem to find a group of other kids who are up for a game of tag, or hide and go seek, or manhunt, or “grounders”. (whatever that is!)
So, whenever we end up at a park, I usually let them loose and find a nearby park bench to sit on while I watch them race around the park laughing and playing. I usually glance down at my phone to check my work emails and when I looked up on one particular day, I see my youngest talking to one of the other Mom’s at the park. She’s looking down at him, smiling. He’s talking. And talking. And talking. He looks very animated. Arms flying everywhere. There’s pointing and big gestures. I think about going to intervene but she seems to be enjoying the conversation. She even laughs. She does a quick glance over at me. We both smile.
Her smile hopefully means… “Your son is so sweet and funny”.
My smile means… “Oh dear lord, what on earth is he saying to you?!?!”
Here’s the thing; my kid is a loose cannon.
Seriously, he has no filter. He’s not shy and he’s the type of kid who says EXACTLY what he’s thinking when he’s thinking it. I’m never quite sure what will fly out of his mouth. So, as I sit on that park bench staring at him talking to this nice woman, I wonder what could possibly be coming out of his mouth.
‘I think I weigh 60 pounds, or 65. I don’t know. How much do you weigh?’
‘My Mom drives faster when the light turns yellow.’
‘I just turned 7 in June and my brother is 9. How old are you?’
‘Sometimes, I make fart noises with my arm pits.’
‘I know all the words to “Sexy and I Know It”.’
‘I sing in the bathroom when I go #2.’
These are all totally possible things that he could be telling this complete stranger. We have explained to him many times that asking people how much they weigh or how old they are simply isn’t polite. He nods and says he understands, but that doesn’t give me full confidence that he’s not going to ask someone.
So, as we leave the park and get into our SUV, I take a deep breath and ask…
“What were you talking to the nice lady about?
He shrugs and says… “Oh that.”
I smile and brace myself for something crazy. Something inappropriate. Something incredibly embarrassing. He continues…
“She asked what grounders was, so I told her the rules.”
“Oh. That was very nice of you.” I say as I breathe a giant sigh of relief.
At that moment I think, maybe I don’t give him enough credit. After all, I thought potty training him was going to be a disaster – he caught on in less than a week. I thought when he started JK I was going to get a call within the first few hours – he excelled. I thought when we took the training wheels off his bike he was going to fall flat on his face – he figured it out in an afternoon. Clearly, he’s full of surprises.
So, maybe he actually does understand what things are appropriate to say out loud, and what things he needs to keep to himself. Maybe he’s not a loose cannon after all! Right at that moment he says…
“But she wouldn’t be able to catch us because she’s old.”
The verdict is still out on whether he actually said this to her or not.
So yeah…maybe my kid is still a loose cannon.