This year, I think I will skip the Valentine’s Day card with the recordable message.
That was my brilliant idea for last year: let the kids record their own Valentine’s message and give it to their mom. It seemed like a nice way to avoid the off-the-shelf sentimentalism of most cards. That was the plan, at least. After multiple takes, here’s the best that I could record:
All three kids, in unison: Happy Valentine’s Day, Mommy!
First Born & Third Born: We love you!
Second Born: If you were a booger, I’d pick you first!
This is typical of Second Born. And while I often get blamed for introducing him to the sophomoric arts, I contend it is something more inborn–a certain Lenny Bruce gene that constantly inspires him to transgress. Case in point: several years back, when Second Born was in kindergarten, he was invited to a birthday party with a “safety” theme. I know, a little weird: the arts-and-crafts event for the party involved kids painting their very own “Children at Play” signs to post around their neighborhoods. The grand finale was a special visit from one of our town’s local police officers to discuss safety. As the policeman walked into the party, all of the other children shouted “A policeman is here! A policeman is here!”
My boy hit the deck and hid underneath the table.
By no means is he a bad kid–in fact, there’s an argument to be made that he’s the most sensitive and considerate of the three. It’s simply the fact that his M.O. routinely involves finding the boundary of propriety, and then testing its outer edges. Another example from not too long ago:
Mom in Minivan: Enough already! With all your noise I almost had an accident!
Second Born: You mean…. In your pants?
There’s only two ways to respond to this: refer the matter to Assistant District Attorney Richard Kuh, or laugh.
And that’s where I get called a bad influence for reinforcing him with laughter. Truth be told, though–my wife is just as guilty at laughing at his humor (including the accident-in-your-pants bit). His music teacher at school, however: not so much. He recently came home with all A’s, and one “Needs Improvement”–for conduct in music class. When we asked him what was going on in music class, his response was:
I dunno. Maybe she doesn’t like my singing voice?
Or: maybe it’s because he likes to change the lyrics of songs now and then from the words on the page to something a bit more, um, rollicking?
I suppose I could try to teach Second Born that there is a time and a place for everything, but then again isn’t that already his gift–knowing that there’s a time and a place for everything, and then lobbing the exactly right comment at exactly the wrong (and therefore perfect) time?
My guess is, there’s probably going to be a few more disgruntled adults in Second Born’s future who will disapprove of his brand of humor. And I bet I will be one of them at one point or another. But I say let the boy play the edge for all its worth. Sometimes you have to color outside the lines, and sometimes you have to draw a mustache on the Mona Lisa.
And every once in a while, you just have to draw stink lines coming up from her backside.