6.23.2006

Should I Be Worried?

Our very cool neighbor/friend/landlady came over a little while ago and said she was taking her youngest son (who's leaving for Princeton in a couple months) to lunch and then they're going to Costco. She wanted to know if I needed anything from Costco. Can you believe how nice? I haven't even bellyached to HER about the parking-hassle-two-kids-in-the-cart-can't-ever-find-what-I-need-when-I-need-it feelings I have about the necessary evil called Costco, and yet she thought to ask if she could pick up anything for me there, to save me a trip. I'm telling you, this is a good woman.

And THEN, she asked if it was OK for Calvin to go along with them to lunch and to Costco. That's an invitation, right? It's not pawning my child off, right? That was my first hesitation - I know that she was not thinking that AT ALL, but I worry about being a moocher...I said it was fine if he wanted to go. As if he wouldn't want to go - he practically WORSHIPS the ground the Princeton son walks on, and every time we pull into our driveway, he wants to go down to their house and "see what they are doing and talk a little while, OK, Mom?" So they took his carseat and he trotted off after them, all big-boyish and pleased with the prospect.

And all the while, I'm just worried that he will be rude or climb all over the booth at the restaurant or (gross, gross, gross) under the table, or he'll loudly shout, "That's disgusting!" at whatever they order for him, or he'll bolt away in Costco (even though he hasn't done that for some time), or he'll say a swear word or...you know, um, otherwise embarrass me?

Don't get me wrong - he is not really a bad or unruly child - in fact, we had a great trip out to the outlet mall this morning without a single incident of stress. And twice lately people have complimented me on his manners. (He spontaneously told a mom at a playdate as he was leaving, "It was very nice to meet you.") I guess it's just that I know him better than anyone and I have had lots of "moments" with him, and more than anything, a three-year-old is unpredictable.

Maybe I care too much about what other people think, or I believe that they judge my parenting by how my wild card preschooler behaves (and they really don't - it's just me), and perhaps the reality of it is that he feels secure enough with me to act like a hellion on occasion but keeps it in check with other people. I hope so. But does anyone else ever worry about this kind of thing...?

I'm biting my nails until they get back.

11 comments:

Tess said...

don't be worried - have fun with Henry! that's awfully nice of the landlady to include him and shop at costco for you.

itybtyfrog said...

I worry like that too. I just took my 5 year old to a birthday party and those kinds of thoughts ran through my mind....will she remember to say thank you and your welcome, will she ask to go to the bathroom if she needs to, will she sit shyly by with her fingers in her mouth and watch the other kids have fun, or will she play too. I actually managed not to give her the do's and don'ts of party ettiquette lecture before she left. I figure she is getting old enough, but still I worry.

Angela said...

GET! Your hand out of your mouth!!!
Children are 10 times more well behaved with others. He'll probably remind them of their manners or say something sickeningly sweet and charming and they won't want to return him. If the woman has had children, yours will not be any surprise to her, no matter what he does. Besides, Calvin's a smart cookie---if he wants in on another solo Costco trip, he'll play his cards right.

jessica said...

Oh the worrying of motherhood! I really hate letting my kids go with other people - partly because I think I'm the only one who can care for my kids (especially in the car, yikes) and partly because I worry about the trouble they'll cause (my kids, not their caregivers :) However, my kids - and probably kids in general - tend to be great for other people and only behave like slightly-demonic-little-angels when they're with their parents. Luck us, right?

Nettie said...

It's true, they generally are much better behaved for others. Well, except one of mine who wouldn't care a lick about manners and good impressions without my vigilantly getting after her. I'm sure he'll do just fine, though!

Jennifer said...

I think that we all worry about how our children's behavior reflect on us. As far as the invitation, accept the offer graciously. Think about what your life will be like when your boys are all grown up? I'll bet you will gladly entertain an energetic preschooler for a few hours. My own neighbor has two high school boys and we were chatting in her yard, and 2yo Kyle kept spotting the ripe strawberries growing and eating them! After the first two, I tried to hold him back, but she was delighted that he was enjoying them. It took me a while to really believe this.

Stephanie said...

I agree with what has been said. I think we reserve our worst behaviors and attributes for home where we feel the most comfortable letting our hair down.

Look on the bright side...he might just be an angel and she will want to take him everywhere...the prospect of that many breaks is Heaven!

Let us know how it goes!

MugwumpMom said...

I'll let you in on a little secret....our kids are always, for certain, without a doubt, absolutely, wonderful angels when they're with others...and then themselves when they're with us. Go figure! He'll be fine!

Katherine@Raising Five said...

I bet he'll come home like a little shining star. And getting to go with a cool college guy? What little guy could think of greater outing? He's probably having a ball! Enjoy your freedom!

Code Yellow Mom said...

It went great, of course...She said he was wonderful. And of course, she is so laid-back and raised five sons and a daughter - don't know why that didn't cross my mind earlier when I was worried about his behavior. She's probably seen it all.

Thanks for talking me through it - I really was fretting. Goofy, huh?

I realized today that I have it so much in my head to avoid being one of those parents who absolutely cannot see nor admit that THEIR child would ever do anything naughty that I go overboard the other direction, and brace myself for all kinds of miscreant behavior when I really need to give my boy the benefit of the doubt and not freak out until he actually does something out of line. That's the moral of this story. :)

And it is nice to know "the little secret" of kids' behavior...

Thoroughly Mormon Millie said...

Yeah... they always do better for other people. But if they don't, you'll hear about it, and you'll feel embarrassed and it'll pass and life will go on. :)