This weekend was by far the most earth-shatteringly cringeworthy one of my fledgling parental career.
My little lad Seth has developed an incredible talent for embarrassing me at every opportune moment that we are in public. And to his credit, he’s executing it with a high level of success. If it was an Olympic sport he’d be first name on the team sheet for the national team.
He’s like the Tom Daley of embarrassment.
This would be something to be proud of if there’d been a last minute decision to include the sport of Parental Embarrassment in the upcoming Olympics in Rio. Astonishingly(!), it’s been omitted. So there’ll be no gold medal, prime-time TV show or lucrative sponsorship endorsements heading his way.
Now, if you’ve been reading the blog you will know about cake-gate the other week, but quite amazingly, the latest shenanigans of one Seth Ziggy Williams involves embarrassment on an even larger scale than his previous efforts.
It all revolves around a trip to our local park and a game of Pooh Sticks. Inspired by Winnie The Pooh, you just pick up a stick from the ground and chuck it into a stream, then watch it float away. It’s the perfect game if your little one is susceptible to the odd bout of boredom during a family walk and has the attention span of a goldfish.
Our friends introduced us to the idea as their little boy who is also nearly 2 absolutely loves it.
Here are the rules, in full, for the purpose of clarity:
1. Pick up a stick.
2. Throw stick.
3. Pick up another stick.
4. Throw stick.
It works a treat!
Just look at the excitement on the little guy’s face!
(At this point I need to break off from the story for a brief moment to say something to my wife. Yes, I know Seth has a runny nose in this picture. No, we won’t be judged for this.)
To start with Seth was playing Pooh Sticks quietly. He meticulously selected the stick he wanted to grab hold of then delicately trundled over towards the stream to throw it in.
All going well. Nothing to see here folks!
The problem occurred when Seth became more vocal in his enjoyment of the game and started to shout the word STICK whenever he picked one up.
Bless him, he’s not even two yet and still learning to speak properly, so not all of his words come out as he intends for them to.
The sound ‘ST’ is of particular difficulty.
He can’t say it.
With most words the odd bit of mispronunciation is fairly cute. He often calls his milk (or milky) ‘micky’, his toy tractor is know as ‘tacter’ and yoghurts are referred to as ‘nogurts’. But, and it’s a big BUT, his inability to say the sound ‘ST’ is not so endearing.
Have a think about the sound you would least like your child to replace ‘ST’ with whilst walking through a public space where many other passers by might hear it?
Yep, it’s that one.
But if you’re not quite there yet…
How about if I told you that if Seth was to say the word ‘Still’ he’d actually say ‘Dill’.
Can you see how this might cause a problem…?!
It wasn’t just that he kept saying it, more the triumphant nature in which he’d pick up his chosen object and shout out loudly and proudly;
The last one was a particularly uncomfortable moment for all involved.
Why couldn’t his mispronunciation have turned a ‘ST’ into a ‘G’, maybe a ‘M’ or quite frankly ANYTHING OTHER THAN A BLOODY ‘D’?!
Seth smiled. My cheeks started to turn red. Onlookers looked on, aghast.
I know he’s not yet two but does he know what he’s doing? Is this some kind of big joke that he’s mischievously the architect of?
We finished in the park and returned to the car, Seth as smiley and happy as he had been throughout.
As for me?
I left feeling like a total… stick.
#lad2dad lesson If you go down to the woods today, you’re sure for a big surprise…
(Please feel free to leave any similar stories of your own below)