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Mom’s Most Embarrassing Kid Moments

October 16, 2009 Family Travel No Comments

You don’t know me. At least I hope you wouldn’t recognize me around Dana Point. It’s nothing nefarious. I’m not bouncing checks at Rite Aid or dodging speed traps at the “Senior Center.” OK, I do dodge the speed traps, but that is strictly a matter of principle. No, I hope you can’t put a name to my face because usually I am involved in some humiliating situation involving small children, namely my own.

And if all of you knew it was me, I might have to move to San Clemente and start fresh. I only tell you this, not to suffer further embarrassment, but so you will understand that there were extenuating circumstances in each and every incident, and I can explain. I hope.

The most recent transgression occurred on a simple family outing to the harbor. In hindsight, what I should have done was ditch the offspring for a quick beer at Turk’s. There would have been nuclear family fallout, but at least my face wouldn’t be immortalized on surveillance tape at a nearby gift shop.

Anyway, I want you to know straight out if you hear this story from anyone else — I categorically deny it. The shop was Hot Lava (note to shop owner: I’m really, really sorry!) which specializes in very cool tropical gifts and art and has a forgiving aloha spirit. My husband and I were distracted — I mean, very impressed — by the bamboo fountains and retro Hawaiian art and not paying enough attention to the three little adorable Payne children. I had warned them before entering the store, “We keep our hands to ourselves. No touching!” And they were being pretty good, at least good enough that my kid radar was at a low hum, so I turned my back to admire the hibiscus window stickers. Big mistake on my part. “Mama, look at me!” I turn around and see child No. 3, a toddler who shall remain anonymous to protect her from the long arm of the law and a short stint in Baby Jail, down on all fours sucking the — umm — mammary gland of a $650 wooden mermaid sculpture! I kid you not!

If you watch the tape closely, you will see me standing there, glued to the sisal rug, mouth hanging open, afraid everyone else is looking too. In her little nasal voice, she shouts triumphantly, “Look at me! I’m nursing a mermaid!” Thank God that exquisite work of art (and a great buy too!) was next to the exit. You’ve never seen a family of five make such good time to Baby Beach.

Earlier that week you may have spotted me at Ganahl’s Lumber. It was busy, mostly men. I was there with Little Angel No. 3 to buy switchplates for electrical outlets. I wasn’t sure if it was my imagination, but I seemed to be getting more than my fair share of looks from all the guys. I was really starting to like this store. Let’s face it, I’d hit the big 4-0 this year and this little bit of reassurance was welcome amid the rapid decline. It was only when I got home did I discover Stealth Cherub had stuck 47 free address labels all over the back of my shirt while I had been gabbing on the phone to my sister earlier that morning. No wonder she’d been so quiet. So to the guys at the lumber store — thanks for not bursting my bubble.

As I write this, a pattern emerges with that big-eyed child. I thank God she is so darn cute or I am sure the kind ladies at the Chocolate Soldier would have not been so accommodating about the “shoplifting” incident last year. It appeared innocent enough; baby sits in stroller while mom buys chocolate stash to sustain herself during long days home alone with small children. While mom digs for cash, Klepto-baby grabs Beanie Baby Duck in yellow raincoat and stuffs under blanket. No one suspects a thing. Baby delightedly says, “Duck!” but since she is virtually unintelligible, we all ignore what sounds like a very bad word. She waits until we get to the Pilgrim to show off her booty. It’s a long walk back to make restitution and apologize profusely. She, of course, shows no remorse at all.

So I’m grateful for many things: grateful you don’t know me, grateful I haven’t been permanently banned from local shops and very grateful I have no more room for any more humiliating stories.


Jody Payne
Mom Living Out Loud3302237677_d9d48eefdc

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