I don't know about all of you, but watching A Christmas Story has been one of our family's Christmas-season traditions. Man, what a classic. But this year, I've wondered at my possible poor judgment in allowing this tradition to be so. Maybe it's his age, maybe it's his being a boy, or maybe it's just his being Camp, but Camp always seems to be the one to pick up the aspects of movies that I'd rather he just leave alone.
This year (or I guess it was last year) was the year that Camp figured out what the F-word is. The F dash dash dash word. In previous years, he didn't understand that part, but this year he managed to piece together little morsels of experience and knowledge with the car trouble part of the movie. He let me know that he now understood what word was being implied. I was thrilled, of course. Thankfully, (and miraculously) he has not used that word yet. And do me a favor in joining me in constant prayers that he never does. I've had a hard enough time adjusting to a husband who says damn and hell all the time. I couldn't survive a son who used the f-bomb.
And that's not the worst of it. The other day while we were at story time at the library, there was apparently a little girl who was kinda whining in an annoying voice. (What am I talking about? Is whining ever NOT annoying?) And so Camp said to her: "You better stop that crying or I'm going to give you something to cry about!" Despite the fact that I was sitting close by, I was oblivious to the situation. Lucky for me (please understand my sarcasm) another mother took the opportunity to kinda freak out and scold Camp. At that point, I asked what had happened and she recited the appalling thing Camp had just said to the little girl (who was incidentally not this woman's daughter) in response to the little girl's crying. I was embarrassed and ashamed and felt completely overwhelmed at yet another situation involving my children's misbehavior--especially because I had been totally unaware of any interaction at all between Camp and this little girl. I called Camp over to me and asked why on earth he had said that to the little girl. He had no good answer, and I insisted he go and apologize. Being that Camp and the other little boys had already been scolded several times (by me and by others) for playing too roughly in the library, my emotional energy tank was in the red zone. Therefore, I had the kids gather up their things and we promptly left. On our way outside, I desperately asked Camp where he had learned to say something like that (his comment to the little girl) and he frankly replied, "A Christmas Story." And then he rehearsed to me the part of the movie where the family is eating and Randy is whining about having to eat his dinner. Camp was only reciting the line Randy's dad gave him in that situation. At that point--despite my still being disappointed at Camp's having said the WRONG thing at the WRONG time--I must say, I was a little relieved. Camp's comment really hadn't been out of malice--just a result of poor judgment. He simply had heard the girl's whining, been reminded of Randy and his potatoes, and completed the scenario the way he had seen it in the movie. My anger and frustration diminishing, I explained to Camp the inappropriateness of his action and reflected a few moments on how annoying Randy really was at that dinner table. :)
Finally, the other day, I walked into the kitchen in the middle of a conversation my kids were having while they were at the counter with a snack. I was just in time to hear Janey say to Camp, "I triple-dog-dare you to jump on Mom's bed when it's made!" Yikes. That's the scariest dare she could come up with? I need help. Seriously. What have I done to my kids?
Anyway, I might just be rethinking our Christmas move list next year. I don't even want to think about what my kids will soon be acting out from Home Alone. Heaven help me.