My son has always had amazing manners. He says please and thank you, always holds the door for ladies, and is generally amazing and although silly, he is polite about his shennanigans, which tends to earn him free passes. When we are out in public we have a “4 squares” or 12 feet rule. He needs to be no more than about 12 feet away, which on a city sidewalk is about 4 squares. It increases to 6 squares on neighborhood streets. He has always been great about following the rule, and will sometimes run ahead at places like museums, or on this particular date, the zoo, but always within eye and voice range.
We were enjoying the newest exhibits at the National Zoo in DC. I drive so he can sleep on the way home, and we park at the bottom, run to the top while still full of energy, then its downhill the whole way we are exploring. As we ran together up the hill, he was so awesome, yelling, “excuse me please! Beep beep please we are passing!” Got lots of smiles. On our way past the top, we detoured because they were moving the elephants along the new exercise walk they made for them. He very politely asked to move to where he could see, and about 12 different people told my husband and I how awesome he was. Yeah. We were puffed up with pride! What parent does not like to hear their kid rocks?
We moved on to the very top and stopped at an enclosure to look at a bear or something. There is a rock wall you can take a break on off to the side, so we stopped for lunch. It was pretty quiet still. Another family came along as well, and they were what my husband and I like to call a “photo-op” family. Mom and daughter, and father and son totally in matching outfits, and the kids color coordinated. Girl and mom in sun-dresses that had blue flowers that matched the blue shirts of dad and brother. So matched, mom and daughter had khaki headbands to tie in to dad and brothers shorts. Hurricane and the girl were about the same age, and started to chatter and play. How cute, we all made small talk, etc. Finally, I tell Hurricane it is time to move on to the Pandas. So he asks the girl “Excuse me, would you mind moving please?” She ignores him and keeps playing.
“Umm, excuse me, but my mommy and daddy are ready to go, and I can not get down. Could you move please?” Still no movement from the girl. “I’m sorry, but we need to go. Can you move now please?” No response. Finally, he gets loud. And I get redder than a baboons butt as he yells out “I said EXCUSE ME, bitch, could you PLEASE MOVE NOW?” I swear the entire zoo went silent. In my head I am dying. I am laughing so hard inside myself I am about to cry. Because the “photo-op” family was frozen in place. Like robots that ran out of energy. Slack-jawed. Eyes wide. I nearly died trying not to laugh. “HURRICANE! WHERE ON EARTH DID YOU LEARN SUCH A WORD?” I admonished him. Before he could pull the eye roll and ‘uhh YOU duh” move my husband silences him with a stern look and says “We just might have to march over to the bathroom son and wash that dirty mouth, now apologize please!” And the dad looks at us and mumbles something about white trash and apologies not necessary. Once they walk away so fast I think their asses grew rockets, I laugh so hard I set off the monkeys. Then Hurricane looks at us. He is upset. “Mommy, do I have to wash it out? I tried to ask nice. Like 300 times!” And I just mumbled, don’t let it happen again, and sent him on his way. And we proceeded to laugh the rest of the way through the zoo. Because as a parent, the parrots are at more than zoos and pet stores, and sometimes, you just need to get the point across. But yes. We are white trash. With an amazing son, and damn proud of it!