or, Old People Also Don't Hear Very Well, a lesson in listening.
"stinky and me" by K
(photo by L)
Last week I was snuggled in bed with K, reading the 11th (or was it the 12th?) book in the Boxcar Children series. And in the midst of this tender father-daughter tableau....
K: Daddy, you have stinky breath.
me (apparently looking taken aback): I do?
K: Yeah. But that's ok. I know old people have stinky breath.
me: Uh...so, Chapter 7....
It was, possibly, one of those "charming" moments when children are honest to a fault, and probably touching on some basic truths we don't want to hear. On the other hand, in my somewhat lame defense, I'd eaten takeout for lunch and *knew* my breath was stinky. Moreso than usual. Usual being "not stinky at all." About the whole "old people" thing... well... like I said, "basic truths" and all that.
I'd gotten enough over the sting of this by Saturday, when I mentioned to the canoe full of paddlers I was with that my daughter thinks my breath is stinky and told them all the story, which they thought satisfyingly hysterical. Because of course I'm NOT old. And don't have stinky breath.
Then, later that day or the next, while we were all in the kitchen getting ready for dinner, I told M about how I'd at least gotten a laugh out of it...
K (looking at me): What?
M&me (exchange glances): Uh
me: I was telling your mom about how I'd told the paddlers what you'd said about my breath.
me: You said it was stinky. Remember?
K (nodding, it's all cleared up now): Oh yeah. Right.
me: You said "old people have stinky breath."
K: (mumble mumble) old people (mumble mumble)
me (glancing at M): Right, old people.
K (shaking her head now): No! ALL people.
me (my turn to look at her!): What?
K: "All people." I said "all people have stinky breath sometimes."