Monday, August 18, 2008

Dont' Forget to Wipe!

Recently I read an article by Kate O'Brien entitled, "Our Guide To Being An Embarrassing Parent". O'Brien suggests that this is somehow a rite of passage for every child. The article discusses the obvious things such as spit baths and calling your teens by their "pet" names (sugar-buns) in front of their friends.

Comedian Arabella Wier suggests shouting out of the window really loudly as you drive past: "Don't forget to wipe properly, those stains will never come off, wipe front to back." But the consensus is: whether or not a parent means to embarrass their teen or not, it still happens and it doesn't take much.

Last weekend Big-D & I were hanging out, discussing this very concept of parents embarrassing children. We compared notes and laughed and laughed until I couldn't breathe any longer. What were our parents thinking???

Big-D played basketball for the local Jr. Jazz league. During practices, if a player missed a lay-up shot, his dad would chase them around the court. Ok, so the coach rides his players a little hard, I thought. Oh no, Big-D tells me. His dad was not a coach... just a spectating parent that decided to "get involved".

As far as sporting events go, I remember when my sibs & I were all enrolled in Middlebury Summer Little League. It was pretty much The Thing To Do in our town every summer. My mom worked nights and attending our early morning games was somewhat of a sacrifice for her. Now you must realize that normally, NurseMom has a low speaking voice and always sang alto in the church choir. However, something I learned about NurseMom that first summer is that her "cheering voice" is high-pitched. She would sit in the stands and yell something lame and embarrassing like "whoo-hoo" or "goooooooo Emma!" in her high-pitched screechy voice. Fellow teammates would always inquire, "Is that your mom?" Ummm.....what? Did you say something? Talking to me? But as NurseMom started picking up more hours on the night shift, she began to park out behind center field and watch the games between catnaps in her reclined front seat. Yes, that is a good place. Watch the game from there, I used to think.

Both Big-D & I also agree that our parents lacked a little fashion sense as well.

As far back as I can remember, MrBusDr always wore a Swedish-style Wigéns driving cap, completing the ensemble with a toothpick in his mouth. (Still Does.) I also remember the first time I saw him in blue-jeans. Whoa! That was a shock to the system. By the way - the hat never embarrassed me. It's just funny that while other dads wore ball caps - my dad wore this. Poor Big-D...his dad always wore an old knit hat.

MrBusDr got off easy because he was out of town a lot. His opportunity to embarrass his children wasn't nearly as exorbitant as NurseMom's.

Case in Point: "All Skate, Everyone Skate"

In elementary school, we had "roller skating parties" at the local roller rink. There was always a plethora of adult volunteers from the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). Nevertheless, NurseMom insisted on coming. Heaven forbid she be like the other "cool" parents that could care less about their kids and just drop them off and pick them up afterwards. NurseMom came to the roller rink. And not only did NurseMom come, but she skated! And not only did she skate, but she was a bit of a show-off (NurseMom, you know this is true! Don't try to deny it!)

NurseMom would be wearing her "comfy" pants - the polyester pants with the elastic waistband. However, because there weren't any pockets, and her regular "big" purse could get stolen, she would bring along her Rabbit Fur Pouch (straight from the 60's) and safety pin it to the waistband of her pants. Now, that was attractive!

But not only did she wear the pants with the rabbit pouch tied to her hip and then skate... She was a totally awesome skater!!! She could skate forward AND backwards, and do figure eights, and whip in and out and around all of the little kids who were continually stumbling. And she did all of this with a great big smile spread across her face.

You didn't see other parents doing that. Nope - other parents were sitting on the side, knitting or reading their books, or chatting with other moms from the neighborhood. I remember once, while NurseMom was exhibiting her free-style skatin' skills, one of my friends said, "Wow! Look at that lady go! I wonder who's mom that is!" I was like, "uh.....let's go get some Nachos."

Now that she's older, I don't really know if NurseMom still enjoys skating or not. But I did recently see a Skating Granny Club... Perhaps she could look into that. I am sure that Polyester Pull-on Pants and faux Rabbit Fur Pouches would be totally welcomed.

As I was describing the aforementioned events to Big-D, between gasps of air and wiping the tears from my cheeks, I started to wonder what I have done or still do that perhaps embarrasses my own kids. I decided to ask.

Mindless Banterer: What have I ever done to embarrass you?
LittleDuckling: Nothing, really.
FunnyMan: Don't worry, she will. Give it time.
LittleDuckling: (shrugs shoulders and turns back to his Lego space city he is building).

Mindless Banterer: What about you? Have I ever done anything to embarrass you?
FunnyMan: Many Times.
Mindless Banterer: When? How?
FunnyMan: How about that time you had "the talk" with me about The FriendGirl during the middle of carpool?

Mindless Banterer: And You?
PrettyPrettyPrincess: Yes. Wait - is this for your blog???
Mindless Banterer: Yes.
PrettyPrettyPrincess: Ummm...Well, you sang in the car, when we were picking up my friends. You were singing a John Mayer song. My friends thought you were did I.
Mindless Banterer: Hmmm.
PrettyPrettyPrincess: Oh also had your iPod at the store once and you were listening to it and so then you start shaking your bum-bum in public and singing along. It was so embarrassing.

See, now the funny thing is that I don't recall such said events -- or at least not the same way they do. I remember having a discussion about The FriendGirl in carpool, just not the discussion. And I am sure I was singing a John Mayer song in the car...When am I not listening to John Mayer? And besides, I don't sing that bad. Perhaps it was the drool patch that embarrassed them... And shaking my bum-bum in the store??? I have no such recollection. I plead the 5th!!!

That being said, I wonder how much my own parents were aware of the things they did that embarrassed us? Did NurseMom know that all eyes were on her during her Amateur Skating Exhibition? Maybe not. But, I am sure that MrBusDr knew that he parked in the Handicapped spot and then pretended to limp into the store (before laws were in place). I mean, how could he not have known?

I am sure that NurseMom takes great pleasure in knowing that my own children think I am embarrassing and that she - "Gram" - is cool! However, for the record... a few of FunnyMan's friends have actually told him I AM COOL! Yes - it's true - I've heard it myself. I think this also embarrasses him. He doesn't get it. But perhaps he doesn't realize just how un-cool they think their parents are - hahaha. Grass is always greener, eh?
In all actuality, looking back, NurseMom wasn't so bad. If it weren't for her individuality, I would not be the Mindless Banterer I am today.

And I definitely wouldn't have these great stories to tell - that's for sure.


Mel and Byde said...

A little embarrassment never hurt anyone...right??? I think you should borrow the rabbit fur purse just for good measure :)

EmmaP said...
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tinabean1988 said...

This is funny I love to do things that embarrass my kids.
My kids think I'm the cool mom there friends always want to hang at our house so I must not be to embarrassing.
I think our moms were friends or hung out in the same group or something because they sound an awful lot alike.

*michelle* said...
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Ruthykins said...

i don't think nursemom embarrassed me as much as she did you. and my friends all thought mrbusdr's hat was cool.

Tracy P. said...

Emma, that is HILARIOUS--the faux fur purse PINNED to her pants. I'm dying.

Thanks for coming to the fair with me. That Garrison Keillor, is a keeper, isn't he? :-) And he is the honest truth about Minnesotans.

greenolive said...

Mom didn't embarrass me as much either. I'll tell you, one of my friend's moms would walk around their house with just a bra and no shirt. So I actually thought our mom was pretty normal. Plus I got to spend time with her when she was camp director and that's when everybody knew she was really cool. She used to do SLN skits with us and play jokes.
Well, I'm sure I was embarrassed by her sometime I just don't really remember. Maybe you older ones trained her for us to save us some humiliation. So, thanks!

Puphigirl said...

How about the Gold & Green Ball our stake would put on? NurseMom would be out there dancing, doing the twist. We as her kids would be embarrassed about her shaking her booty. Others were like, wow, that woman can dance! Whose mom is that?

ann said...

my dad had that same hat he wore it all the time with the tooth pick! He keep them in the car just in case! Maybe it was a bus driver thing!

Ruthykins said...

it probably was a bus driver thing. maybe that's why it was so cool.

Megan said...

The good news is you'll be cool again later. My mom was super embarrassing for a long time. But now that I'm married she hardly ever embarrasses me.

thotlady said...

Wow. My dad wore the same hat and also had the toothpick always in his mouth.

When he died five years ago and we were at the funeral home for the viewing. I don't know if it was my brother or my sister, but one of them got a toothpick and put it in his shirt pocket, sticking out a little so all could see. I know it sounds strange, but it was weird seeing him without the toothpick, so after they put it in his pocket, it felt 'right'.

I miss him so much.

okeydokeyifine said...

To just clear up a little confusion....My rabbit pouch was not pinned to my pants, but it was hanging on the orange/brown/mustard yellow leather belt that I had around my waist. And I must admit that I still have the aforementioned rabbit pouch. The leather belt I believe got sold at a yard sale. Now when I am dead and gone and you are going through my things I hope that when you come upon the rabbit pouch that a smile comes across your face. I know I will probably be laughing at that moment when I am looking down on the situation. And by the way, do I have to give Greenolive a talk on the benefits of laughter? Good for the soul. A happy heart can heal a lot of things. Maybe on Mondays, wednesdays, and fridays she will have to lol at least once
on those days. Maybe she can think about "handcuffs" or a camp "performance". How about the time that Ruth said she came to camp to "get away from her family". Don't remember that one? Ask her. I think lol should be Love you Lots. MOM

okeydokeyifine said...

lol= Lots of Love

you know "Old People"- can't keep anything straight. hahahaha