I know every parent has these kind of days, and, frankly, I am on the fence.
I LOVE when things like this happen, but at the same time, I wish I could be the fly on the wall observing them and laughing hysterically vs the blushing parent taking responsibility for the faux paux.
A little background: My daughter experiences Autism and with that diagnosis comes significant speech and social delays. We are in therapy 4 out of 5 days a week to learn skills necessary to be functional.
That being said, my daughter is academically smart and has a great memory. However, applying the information that is stored in her amazing brain, in an appropriate way, is a constant struggle for her.
In addition to speech, she also has difficulty understanding emotions. She "practices" emotions in the mirror.
Yesterday, I caught her making herself cry to the point that I was really seriously concerned. I kept asking her "Why are you crying?" (Of course I know my daughter can't answer "why" questions yet, but what is a mama to do?). After a while, she wiped her face and said "It's ok, my sads are gone" ....soooo... was she just "experimenting" with an emotion she has seen but doesn't quite understand???
Figuring out my child and solving the puzzle has become my life's work. There are days it can be mentally exhausting and then there are days where the mystery brings me so much joy!!
This past week has been a fun and joyful week... I'll share a few of the scenarios that made it so.
A few nights ago we were at an establishment waiting to pay for our purchases. A gentlemen wearing a hat and walking with his friend approached the register.
Kylie said (in a 5 year old version of an indoor voice--aka: LOUD) "Dad! There's a cowboy!!"
Dan and I exchanged a nervous glance and looked at the man to see how he would respond to that declaration. A small smile was birthed on his lips telling us he somewhat enjoyed the attention (his friend was laughing out loud).
So, my husband played along and said "Kylie what do cowboys say?" and Kylie, stepping into her best "Jessie" from Toy Story 2 role exclaimed "Yee Haw!!!" (again in that lovely "indoor voice" that we are working on)
My husband and I smiled mischievously to each other and the man's smile spread from his lips to his eyes.
Kylie then surprised us all by asking "Where's his horse?" (by now, the man's friend is doubled over in laughter - evidently he has told his friend that his appearance is rather "cowboyish" and this little 5 year old totally authenticated it)
As our child waited for an explanation as to the horse's obvious absence, Dan and I quickly spun some dramatic, but equally believeable, yarn about how we were sure the cowboy left his horse at home in the cozy warm barn. Then we quickly spun her on her spurs and headed for the door.
Our cheeks were just a shade of flaming red, but we laughed for hours about that encounter and how our 5 year old's mind created such a scenario (somewhat appropriately too).
Yes, we are stepping up the etiquette training.
How I wish this were the end... but then we have yesterday's event...
A little back story: Kylie is very familiar and comfortable with individuals from other countries and cultures as my husband and I work with international students at our local university. On a daily basis, our paths will cross with Malaysians, Chinese, Indian, African, Canadian, South American, Middle Eastern and other diverse cultures.
Yesterday, we took Kylie to her bi-annual endocrine doctor's appointment. The nurse who greeted us was of Asian heritage (though I don't know what country).
Kylie got along with our nurse very well and even though her command of the English language was a bit rough, Kylie had no issues and allowed the nurse to weigh her, measure her height, take her temp and obtain her blood pressure. (things that, on many occasions, American nurses are not able to obtain from our girl)
At the end of our appointment, Dan and I were at the checkout desk setting up our next appointment when our nurse walked past us down the hall. To my horror, Kylie shouted after our nurse in an attempt to gain her attention "Hey China! Hey China!"
I spend much of my life educating Americans on what is appropriate vs inappropriate behavior to use when connecting with Internationals and here my daughter is SHOUTING "Hey China!!"
Thank goodness our nurse (mercifully) did not hear Kylie's bellows. However, when I turned back to the receptionist (with my hand placed firmly over my daughter's loose lips), she was laughing so hard she had tears running down her face and amidst her gulps for air, she informed me she was half Vietnamese and thought Kylie's outburst and our parental horror stricken faces were hilarious!!
Floor, please open up and swallow me whole....
Oh the things God uses to humble me in my parenthood!