Yesterday, after a class the kids are in with their friends, we took A. to Trader Joe's with us on our way home for a playdate.
In the car, I reminded the kids that we would be in a store with other people shopping, and that they therefore needed to be quiet and polite and to stop the Pokemon talking they were doing back and forth with each other. Are you familiar with this? The characters can only say their names, and they have squeekey voices and repeat the same name over and over. The kids are all very good at it and did a dead on impression of Pikachu. "Pee-kuh-CHOO!!!"
The kids were great. They left their uncanny impressions of Pikachu in the car and went with me into the store. After the first few aisles, they asked if they could please go look for Bubba, the killer whale plush toy that is hidden on the shelves somewhere. If you find him, you can get a treat from a box and then you get to hide the toy for some other kid to find. My kids love doing this, and so does A.
As they went off on their hunt, a little old woman noticed the kids gleefully going on this quest, and she said to me "No school today?" OK other homeschoolers, I know you've gotten this question at some point. I always tighten up a little bit, even though I know it is an innocent question. There's no judgment in it, and yet, I always feel a little defensive, because I will explain that we're homeschoolers, and you just never know how people will react to that... I answered, "We're in school all the time--we're homeschoolers." I hate my response, and feel I should practice another one so I'm more relaxed and less smarmy--We're in school all the time...lame.
Any way, the woman responded enthusiastically and said "Oh good for you!" It was right then, that I could hear from 2 aisles over squeals of delight and excitement and so I quickly explained to the little old woman that the lesson we were working on right now was how to be quiet in stores, and it was one that we had to learn over and over. She laughed and smiled and obviously loved kids. I found the kids and quickly reminded them that they had to be quiet and that I could hear them from another part of the store and then I congratulated them on their victorious quest--they had found Bubba!! They were quiet for the rest of the time in the store and were happily chomping on their granola bars as we went to the check out.
I think even sounds of happiness are not accepted in public spaces, small indoor public spaces especially. Yet, kids being happy would be nice if acceptable, but it's usually not. So, we try to be quiet in a shared space.
My daughter had a star sticker right in the middle of her forehead and I had one on the back of my hand because I had joined her astronomy club (I had the choice of Astronomy, Micro-Biology, as in, the gross stuff our bodies produce, or Biology). So we were in the club and the nice bagger noticed the stickers and I explained the club and he asked if we knew who invented the telescope. My son and he said at the same time, "Galileo." And then my son continued, "Actually, the telescope was already invented and tourists would use it, but Galileo refined it and made it much stronger." The bagger was impressed and laughingly said that he knew he'd be shown up!
On the way to the car, my son said that he should have added that it's Galileo Galilei.
You always think of what you should have said after, don't ya?