As a first-time mom, I wanted to be prepared. So when a seasoned mom mentioned “valuable advice”, I leaned in.
“There’s a phrase you’ll need in your mental back pocket,” she said. “Because you never know when you’ll need it next. Memorize this: I’m so sorry, we’re Still Working On Our Manners.”
I couldn’t imagine my precious sweetness ever being offensive. Then again, he wasn’t really talking much yet, so things might change. Possibly. Lacking conviction, I repeated the words to myself several times, just in case.
My, how things can change. Just a few months later we practically collided into a man exiting the restroom at Chik-Fil-A. Still tucking in his shirt, he unsuccessfully tried to cover his large belly. My now loquacious toddler rudely blurted:
“Whatcha doin’ hidin’ that big ole’ tummy under there?”
My cheeks burned. Oh for a trap door! But I managed to regurgitate my rehearsed line on cue.
“I’m so sorry, we’re Still Working On Our Manners.” Phew! Onward, forward.
The following spring, my husband transformed our dilapidated wrap-around porch, replacing the railings and painting the doors a cheery red. We hung baskets of impatiens and lined the steps with potted annuals.
Our cousins stayed with us for a week that summer and we passed long, pleasant hours on the porch. Their vacation regretfully over, we gathered for our goodbyes. As they backed down the driveway, I heard a trickling sound.
Glancing down, I spied bare cheeks peeking from under a Thomas-the-Tank-Engine t-shirt, Superman underoos pooled around two little bare feet. A stream was arcing off the porch into a pot of red geraniums.
“WHAT…..are you DOING?” I gasped, a phony smile plastered on my face as I continued waving (weakly) to our guests. Their car inched slowly forward, the passengers absorbing the porch scene with interest.
“Just watering the flowers, Mommy.”
Fifteen years plus three more boys later, and we’re Still Working On Our Manners.
(And we may be for some time.)
Another laugh: Every Time a Bell Rings
I remember him during that “water the flowers” stage, couldn’t help but giggle looking back! Bet he loves hearing about it now! Lol
I didn’t exactly announce this post to him…. and he hasn’t mentioned it….:) XO
Aunt Pinkie says
Love it! And what a wise friend you made years ago to give you the Working on our manners’!
Linda Jenkins says
Boy, do I wish I had memorized that phrase as my own three children were beginning to navigate the world. I’ve memorized it now for use with my youngest grandchildren ( 3 and 2 yrs. old). I have a feeling I will be using it frequently. I’ll be certain to pass this handy quote on to Jenny. I am still giggling imagining the scene as you were making the trip to bathroom at the fast food place. I would have been so mortified.
Funny!! Oh boy, I sure wish I had a similar line prepared when my 3 boys were little. Especially when one of them pointed at an adolescent boy with severe acne and shouted, “mama look at that boy he has chicken pops!” Yikes! I’ll pass that line on for sure. ?
You just never know what kids will say Tracy. And the interesting thing is, you never know what adults will say or do either. I’ve seen/heard some pretty crazy things over the years…I know you have too!
Nancy Hammett says
Enjoyed your post . Smiled thing back to when our boys was little and we were working on manners. One time were at a restaurant eating and male waiter was waiting us and Scott said daddy is he sissy. Skeeter told Scott no son. We told the waiter we where sorry, Scott told us a friend had told him that. Scott was about six then. Through the years we had a lot working on manners with the Boys. Always love your post
Oh Nancy, that’s kind of funny. I wonder what the waiter thought. Thanks for your kind words…I love to write stories here. XO
Susie Mandel says
Oh, I just love your stories! I have one to tell about Julia next to a rather large-bellied man at the Lowe’s paint counter many years ago, but it’s better told in person, so we really need to make it up to New England soon. 😉
Carina Spring says
Haha! “We are still working on our manners.” That line would have come in handy more than once when my son was little. 🙂 Great story. Take care.
Laura Cook says
Every mama of boys can tell a similarly “spraying story”, though not as eloquently and smile-producing as you!