Have you ever wondered why parents just love to mortify their kids? I have. No matter where we are, mine are especially adept at it. I wouldn’t consider myself easily embarrassed, and that just presents my parents with an added challenge. One they attack with a vengeance. Here’s some ways they’ve managed to embarrass me and my brothers over the years.
Honey, Let’s Swing It!
This is a fairly common occurrence in our family. Let’s set the stage: Dad has taken us all out for a nice dinner at a sit-down restaurant. We are seated, and begin to look at the menu. Everything is perfect, we are a typical happy family out for dinner, laughing and enjoying ourselves in the lovely atmosphere the restaurant provides.
The illusion suddenly falls to the ground with a horrific crash as Mom smiles widely at Dad. “Ooooo!!! We could swing to this tune!” The kids exchange mortified glances as Dad takes Mom’s hand. “Honey, let’s swing it!” He pulls her out to the middle of the restaurant as waiters stare, and they begin to dance. Gabe and Elisha slide to where they’re almost invisible beneath the table. Ezra covers his face in a napkin, groaning. I hide behind my menu, hoping no one realizes that I’m related to any of them.
The song ends and our parents come back to their seats smiling and laughing. The boys and I exchange little looks that say “Dear God please, don’t let this happen EVER again.” But it will, a fact we know all too well.
Cabbages And Condoms
Parents, nothing says “I love you kids!” more than taking them to a safe-sex restaurant. Once you’re there, show your youngest child the statues of Santa Claus and Captain Condom. When he/she guesses what they’re made of, watch as the oldest children magically vanish into thin air. “Hannah’s hairbows? Are they plastic bags Mom? Oh, I know! They’re balloons!” Then give them “the talk” gesturing wildly at the condoms so that everyone on the street knows what you’re talking about, whether or not they speak English.
When your oldest children reappear, take them all inside for lunch. If you want to make them vanish again, there are a few very effective ways to do it. First of all, have the youngest wear his napkin like a hat for the first half of the meal. Second of all, thoroughly explain the AIDS situation in Thailand and the importance of safe-sex. Trade corny sex jokes with your husband in stage whispers, laughing loudly at each other. Your kids are guaranteed to shrink while turning an unbelievable shade of red as they try to become invisible.
Announcing My Birthday In A Restaurant
Why do parents always chose restaurants as the best places to mortify you in? Maybe it’s because there are plenty of people just waiting for a show to go along with their dinner. Or maybe it’s because you rarely run into someone you know (in which case, I am extremely grateful!). Or perhaps it’s because there are usually waiters ready to sing annoying songs in earsplitting tones on command. All it takes is for one overly zealous parent (thank you mom) to announce it’s your birthday.
The waitress raises her eyebrows and scuttles to the kitchens. Within minutes, half a dozen fly out like penguins on the run towards your table. You see them coming, and duck your head closer to your plate, hoping they’ll target the table next to yours instead. No such luck. With incredible accuracy they stop directly in front of you, fix their predatory eyes on you and launch into a badly rhymed tune congratulating you on your birthday.
You sink lower in your seat as almost every eye in the restaurant turns to look at you accusingly. “Why?” they must be thinking. “Why did you bring this down upon us all?” You suffer together, but none so much as yourself. Soon, it’s over and you mollify yourself with the slice of free cake offered as a token of apology from the cook.