You really don’t need iPhones and cameras when you’re parent.
You’ve got your children to document everything for you. Sure, it’s through the lens of whatever age they’re at, but still it’s a lens.
I was talking to my boys last week about YouTube, the pros and the cons. I reminded them (they’re six and twelve) that they cannot be in a room alone with the computer and that they cannot watch a channel I don’t approve first.
“Why?” asked Liam, the six year old, because that’s what kids his age do.
“Because there might be bad language,” I said, “and I don’t want you hearing that.”
“Like the eight times that you said #$&*?” Liam said. His older brother started laughing but immediately closed his mouth when he got the stink eye from me.
“I don’t say that,” I said. There is nothing so comforting as denial, really. It’s better than a warm blanket, a tub of Ben and Jerry’s, or a nap alone.
“Yes, you do. You said it when we went to that hair place and we were driving home.”
“I don’t know. You had a reason I just don’t know what.”
“When else?” I asked. I was out to prove this kid wrong.
“When the car almost hit us, when we were walking the dogs, when I accidentally shot you in the face with the microwave.” I stopped him there.
“When you shot me in the face with the microwave?” I questioned. What the heck?
“You know that thing that we used to clean up the glass when the front door broke?”
“The shop vac,” I reminded him.
“Yeah, the shop vac. I thought it was on suck but it was on blow and I shot you in the face with all the glass. Then you said it.”
Oh, I remembered. Who doesn’t remember a face full of glass?
“Well, I think it was called for then,” I said. “That really hurt. When else?”
“I don’t remember. Lots of times.” Liam was ready to move on from this conversation I could tell. His brother, on the other hand, was ready to keep it going. He looked downright gleeful.
“Oh, yeah. You say it all the time,” Spencer smugly said.
“Well, I had no idea that you found my language so offensive,” I told my boys.
My girls had wandered in by this point and added to the conversation and shared some of their favorite foul-language moments. I was starting to feel a little bad.
“I think it’s funny, Mom.” Kiley said. Of course the oldest child would side with me.
“Well, I think it’s crude and people who use language like that lack imagination,” Laurel said. Of course my second born would not side with me.
We sat in silence for a few moments, marinating in memories of my best expletive moments.
Finally I spoke.
“Well, if that’s the worst of it, that’s not too bad,” I said.
They spoke at the same time.
“Oh, no. That’s not the worst.”
“There’ve been LOTS of others.”
“That time you called that guy in the other car…”
“You said #$%^ too. I remember that.”
I looked at my brood, my own personal mistake keepers, little recorders disguised as humans. I realized I was never going to win the battle I had begun.
“Well, what the #@*#? Who wants to go out for lunch?”