Friday, January 10, 2014

Can I Get a Do-Over?

I've had to be an active practitioner of self-editing--the verbal variety--for years, ever since my professional days working in a school setting amongst the rampaging herds of miniature, innocent-eared people. (Yes, "students"). Very early on, it became second nature to refrain from, say, cursing, lest one be overheard (and possibly tattled on...and made to sit in the corner during recess, which no one wants, right?) This ingrained habit of curbing my tongue continued to serve me well when I became a parent, and had to expand my censorship to include anything that might be the slightest bit...inappropriate...around the kiddos. (You know: upsetting news stories, shocking celebrity behavior..."S-E-X"...) But...sigh...every once in a while, something slips out that I wish I could snatch back--maybe not immediately, but after I've had a proper chance to be horrified that I actually said XYZ in front of my beloved, sheltered children. (Okay, just let me cling to that illusion...I know better, but reaaallly don't wanna think about it...)

Anyway, I was in my room chatting with Riley, when Derek came sauntering in, freshly showered and dressed for bed. I glanced over at him and noticed that the boy who normally chooses the loudest colors in his wardrobe, then purposely mixes them for the most obnoxious effect possible...had (gasp) matched his attire. I mean, the socks brought out the subtle turquoise stripes in his lounge pants perfectly--it was so...unexpected...and well-done...(and quite possibly accidental) But then, without a moment's hesitation to consider the possible repercussions of what I was about to say, I remarked, "Derek, the fact that your footwear matches your pajama bottoms is very metrosexual of you." (I know, right? Where did THAT come from? I remember seeing the term in magazines a few years back, but now I'm thinking: I have no idea if it's even an acceptable word or not. I mean, it just sounds like the kind of expression that would offend....someone...doesn't it? And if that's the case, allow me right now to sincerely apologize and promise it will never happen again...)

Meanwhile, though, it was almost worth it, for the priceless looks on my boys' faces. They both sat staring at me, their mouths wide open and eyebrows somewhere up in their hairlines. (I admit I savored this for a pause...) Then Derek managed to gasp, "What the HECK?" And Riley, his demeanor suddenly guarded, asked in a small voice, "Are we talking about something I'm not going to learn until my Family Life Unit in the Spring?" Before I could stop chuckling and address that, he added in a thoughtful tone, "And...I don't think 'Metros', you know..."

Soooo, it was time for...damage control? I elaborated on the unfamiliar word for them: 'a fashionable man, who is very particular about his outfit and accessories, and how they are all tied together'. Thinking it best to include an illustration, I used one of their friends as an example--who at one point was dressing for school by not only choosing his shirt and trousers, but also coordinating his belt and watch. (Oh, and he was 8 or 9 at the time...) Although these concepts are as foreign to my children as, say, speaking Swahili would be, when they pictured their buddy they both lit up with comprehension and exclaimed, "Oh, we get it!"

Whew! Let's just move right along, and leave that topic well enough alone, shall we? Not my finest Mom Moment, to be sure. I can only hope there are no unforeseen consequences...well, beyond the fact that all of this has made me a bit nostalgic for some old episodes of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy...I'll be downstairs, quietly watching Bravo...and hopefully staying out of trouble!

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