Embarrassing My Children

I’ve been concerned lately about respecting the privacy of my kids. I don’t mean privacy as in knowing what’s in their rooms or checking my daughter’s text message history. I’ve got no problem with that. What I mean is whether their lives are open books to the world, i.e., blog fodder. See, almost daily, something happens with one of them that makes me think, “that’s going on the blog,” but as you see from my infrequent posts never actually makes it here. What happens is that before I get it on paper (and a few times even after) I think, “hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t post that.”

Case in point: Let’s use Boy Genius (a.k.a. the 9-year-old) because, honestly, he’s the one that ‘makes me go hmmm’ (or just laugh) sometimes second by second. He’s now cognizant about what others say about him. He also pays attention to things I tell others about him. What if I embarrass him? I mean, I’m sure it won’t be long before he thinks calling him “Boy Genius” is embarrassing, like maybe he’s too old for that. I’ll have to start calling him Professor (after all, that’s what his great-grandmother’s been calling him since he could talk).

But seriously, should I really use my kids’ lives as blog material?  Yes, my kids are funny and, yes, if I don’t what about them, I wonder what else I’ll write about sometimes. But blogs are public and public is forever. Boy Genius has started talking to me about “stuff” and I want to encourage him to keep talking to me; so I certainly don’t want to break his confidence or make him feel like I’m making fun or sharing his secrets. So while there may be (and always is) poignant or funny moments in those talks, that’s not what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about the other silly things he says when he’s not trying to be funny or the inappropriate comments he makes though in totally innocent ways. (I’ve been saying since he could talk that he’s going to get me beat up one day because he will just randomly refer to people within earshot by some identifying characteristic (like gender, race, size, etc.) that may not be politically correct. He’s not being rude or insensitive; he’ll just be making an observation which is almost always followed by me blushing and saying “hush.” So, see once he knows I’ve told this, will he be embarrassed? Or will he not care at all?

Of course, there’s still plenty of things he does purely for effect – purely for that attention or entertainment factor. Last Sunday, he had a guitar recital. He’s been taking biweekly guitar lessons for a few months now. At the recital, he came out on stage and sat alone in a chair under a single spotlight. He played an excerpt of White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army. When he finished, the “crowd” of parents and other family members of recital participants clapped. As the clapping died down, he just continued to sit there looking out at the crowd. I watched nervously. Bryan said later that he could practically here me thinking, “Okay, buddy, that’s good. You’re done now. Go on.” After what seemed like longer silence than necessary, he stood quickly, shoved his hand in the air in a horn’s gesture and shouted “Rock -n- roll,” to which the crowd roared. Afterwards, on the way home, he said he did it because “two applauses are better than one.” So now I think he was sitting there in the silence thinking, “Wait for it … wait .. for .. it.”

Yeah, I guess I really shouldn’t worry about embarrassing him.

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