You can’t really explain what “awkward” means to a child, because they just haven’t experienced it yet. Awkward doesn’t come til later in life, like maybe 6th grade when you look at yourself in the mirror. Or in high school when an 11th grade boy from your gym class you barely know, circles you like a shark at your locker and then asks you to YOUR senior prom.
Note: Believe it.
Anyway, last night I found myself in what normally would have been a very awkward situation, but since I was surrounded by innocent minds, they didn’t understand the awkwardness of it all, and for that I am grateful.
I was babysitting kids for a family down the street, so the parents could go to an open house pre-school thing for their 3 year old twins. Let me tell you a fun fact about these twins. They LOVE hand sanitizer, pretty sure it rivals Little Einsteins and maybe even high fructose corn syrup. They play with it in their hands, sniff it, inhale it, smoke it, you name it. I have even caught them rubbing it on their faces and licking it off their lips like it’s some kind of sugary frosting.
I was getting the twins ready for bed and accidentally put their pull ups on backwards. Like how am I supposed to know if Elmo is waving hello or goodbye, and if he should be on the front or the back. Apparently the girl twin thought I did it as a joke and said “Gwace funny.” To which I responded, “I know your mom can’t play favorites, but lets be real-you are the better twin.” Not really, but I was flattered a 3 year old found me funny.
I heard a door slam and their 6 year old older brother shouts, “Put your hands out guys! I GOT HAAAND SANITIZER!” Clearly, it’s not just the twins who share the same enthusiasm for the stuff. The excited twins held out their hands as if to receive the most perfect gift, but just as their brother is about to squeeze the tiny bottle, I realized what it was. All I could do was shout, “NOOOOO” Pretty sure my voice even got weird like it does in the movies during slow motion.
“Oh hunny, that is NOT hand sanitizer! Where did you get that?”
“In mom and dads room. In the drawer. By their bed. If it’s not hand sanitizer, what is it?”
“Uhh, umm. Well…umm.”
I was at a loss for words. How do you tell a kid it’s probably the reason he has a 6 month old oops-it-was-a-surprise baby sister chillen’ in the exersaucer downstairs. There was no way I could explain to them what it was, so I just grabbed the older brother by his shoulders, got down to eye level and in the most serious tone I’ve ever used said, “I can only tell you this-it will not clean your hands. I want you to go back in your parents room and put it exactly where you found it and never, ever touch it again.”
He was clearly confused by my overreaction to the stuff, but he listened and put it back. I hope that is the last time I ever see that kind of bottle in the hands of a 6 year old. Visions of the twins playing with it, smearing it on their faces, and licking it off their lips still make me shudder, they will never know what I saved them from. Probably years of therapy.