Parker often begins a conversation with the phrase, "did you notice" instead of "did you know." I thought it was so cute and couldn't wait to hear what fun fact he wished to share or what story he would regurgitate in his own special way. Little did I know this was a loaded question...
Earlier this week we invited a fourteen year old neighbor to come to our house for a sort of informal babysitting interview. We wanted her to meet the kids and to become familiar with the house. She was lovely. Very polite, very pretty. Parker took to her immediately. He offered to show her the toy room. I followed them up the stairs, chuckling to myself as he talked a mile a minute, anxious to share with his new friend.
When he began his question, "Did you notice...." I smiled, waiting to hear some adorable preschool truth. But then he ended it with "...no one is allowed to touch my private parts?"
My smile froze. Her eyes widened. Were it not for Parker's incessant chatter, I'm sure you could have heard a pin drop.
For a moment I caught a glimpse of how that nonchalantly spoken question must come across to a "normal" person. I imagined she was thinking, get me out of here. Oh my gosh, what has happened to this kid? Why is he telling me this? This is not normal!
I hastily informed her of my background (as a counselor for abused children), explaining that discussions of private parts and boundaries were commonplace in our home. Given her nervous expression, I not sure my explanation did much to alleviate her discomfort. For the moment I was just glad he said "private parts" and not "penis" for once.
Parker stopped talking and looked at me. Could he tell I felt awkward? I praised him, and confirmed that he was correct. However, in my head, I was secretly hoping that when he begins preschool in the fall he will not feel it necessary to share that bit of unsolicited information with every stranger he meets.
I can just hear the call from the director now: "Mrs. Rausch, Parker has been informing the other children they may not touch his penis..."
Can hardly wait.