For instance, when we dropped LO off at Sunday school this past Sunday, BB (who is too young by a good 13 months for the three-year-old class, let alone LO's K/1 class) followed the group into the classroom, pulled out a chair to sit, and looked up as if to say, "All right, what are we learning today?"
In addition to wanting a jump start on his Jewish education, BB also wants to know if there is anything better available wardrobe-wise than the clothes he happens to be wearing at the time. The way he generally indicates a preference for a different outfit is to remove all of his clothes and bring me the new ones to help him make a new sartorial statement.
I explain all this in order to tell you why and how BB was the center of the most embarrassing incident that has ever happened to me.
Here is, officially, what happened:
J and I signed up to purchase back-to-school clothes for a child at Lafayette Transitional Housing. Because of our unparalleled skill with planning, we had yet to buy the clothes as of the night before we needed to drop them off.
Since we wanted the boys to be involved in this small bit of tzedakah, we piled everyone in the car after dinner and told LO and BB that we were shopping for clothes for a little boy. (LO called the little boy, whom we have not and will not meet, a "friend." LO calls anyone under the age of 10 a friend, whether or not he knows them. As in, "that friend over there has a Thomas train. I want to play with it.")
When we got to Target, we immediately spread out among the boys' clothing section. I was distracted by a Darth Vader sweatshirt with an actual cape and the overwhelming sense of unfairness in realizing that it would never come in my size. J was doing the responsible adult thing of comparing prices of jeans vs. khakis. LO was running around like a maniac, excited to see some of his favorite licensed characters™ on toys that we. are. not. taking. home, so stop asking.
I was bringing the world's greatest sweatshirt over to show J when I realized I'd lost track of BB.
LO then said three words that did not strike as much fear in my heart as they should have.
He said, "Where's BB's shirt?"
Here is why those words did not strike fear in my heart. He neglected to add "and his pants and his diaper?"
Yes, my youngest was standing stark naked in front of a display of tee-shirts, reaching for a yellow shirt sporting an astronaut on the front.
(Upon looking back on the situation, I now understand why LO only asked about his brother's shirt. The pants and diaper were bunched around BB's ankles, well within LO's view. It was only the shirt that LO had lost track of--never mind the unorthodox way in which BB was adorned in said pants and diaper.)
That would have been bad enough. But in addition to my naked child, there was a grandmotherly type standing right by him keeping an eye out for the terrible mother who allowed her toddler to strip naked in the middle of Target.
"I thought his mom had to be nearby," she told me, as I wondered why sinkholes are never around when you need them.
"Mrrp," I said to the kindly lady while hurriedly pulling the child's pants up, wondering if embarrassment could still be considered a fatality in one's 30s.
"I thought maybe he had to use the potty," she added, trying to be nice.
Perhaps stomping on the floor could get that sinkhole going, I thought.
As it turned out, the grandmotherly type actually was a grandmother, and she couldn't have been kinder or more gracious. She told me her grandson was only a little older than BB. (She did not mention if he had ever taken down his skivvies in a major big box retailer, which makes me think the answer is no.)
Throughout, BB just kept looking at the display of shirts, wondering why Mommy's face was so durn red.
We successfully completed our trip with no further nudity. And I have had some time to think through my embarrassment and realize that it's just a part of life.
So my darling child, I want you to know something.
Someday, you will no longer be my exuberant little guy.
You will be a teenager.
You will know more about the world than Mom and Dad possibly ever could, and you will be embarrassed by everything we do.
You will wish for a sinkhole any time I start my exuberant public singing or your father wears his gardening clothes to run errands.
Most of all, someday you will be horrified and embarrassed when we meet the object of your affection.
And on that day, my sweet dear child, you will learn just how deep a mother's feelings are for her beloved son.
I'll tell your date this story.