Mom seeks aid from Princess Camp to get manners back on track

  • Thursday, July 18, 2013

I just dropped Sadie and Emma, my 4-year-old and 7-year-old off at for a “Princess Camp” at the Delta School of Etiquette. My friend Michelle was kind enough to invite them to attend and since they are technically girls and adore all things pink and princess, they were excited to attend. Michelle was excited to have them and I was excited to think that somebody else is finally going to be backing me up on this whole manners thing.

Over the last few months I’ve realized that maybe, just possibly, our “around the house” manners aren’t quite up to par with our “being out in public” manners. I suppose this is true of most kids. I have friends who swear their children are the devil incarnate at home, but mind their p’s and q’s just fine at my house. Likewise, while my children often act like heathens at home, their teachers and Sunday School teachers scold me for exaggerating their behavior in my columns. (Trust me — that is so not necessary.)

The problem has many layers:

1) I am vastly outnumbered, with a husband who travels and three kids, I can’t correct every slip up that occurs. There is not enough time in the day.

2) I am tired. (See above.)

3) It’s funny to me when one of my girls hops off a barstool and accidentally burps like a grown man. I realize I should scold and not laugh, but I’m obviously not mature enough for such things.

4) Everybody has gas.

I mean, what are they gonna do? Hold it in? Implode?

Sounds dangerous.

I can’t keep a straight face while talking to them about burping specifically, because I can hear the words coming out of my mouth and I sound ridiculous.

“Don’t be so happy about it when you burp.”

“At least pretend to be embarrassed.”

“Don’t open your mouth as wide as it will make it louder. Close your mouth and let it blow out your nose. I know it burns, but being polite is hard.”

“Don’t yell to everyone in the room that you tooted. We heard it. We smell it. We know. Say, ‘Excuse me.’ Quit laughing.”

“Say, ‘Excuse me,’ like you mean it. That means quit laughing before you say it.”

I’ve tried to get serious and angry-ish at my kids when they gleefully pass gas. As I tucked Sadie and her sweet little friend into bed, during one of her first sleepovers, Sadie ripped a toot so loud the windows in the room vibrated. Instead of saying ‘Excuse me,’ she shreiked with laughter. I gave her the Momma Evil Eye and told her to apologize to her friend and to please, for the love of all that is holy, to please, say, ‘Excuse me.’

I walked to the kitchen and picked up my iPhone, scanning Facebook while I waited to make sure the two 4-year-old’s were settled. That’s when I saw the update for the Delta School of Etiquette “Princess Camp” and contacted Michelle.

I’m pretty sure her idea of etiquette is more of the “When to use your salad fork versus your dinner fork,” instead of “Don’t dutch-oven your best friend on her first sleepover,” but at this point, I’ll take all the help I can get.

*Dutch-oven: passing gas under the sheets.

(Don’t bother emailing me hate mail over this column. I’ll just go ahead and say I’m sorry now.)

Robin O’Bryant is an author, humorist and speaker. Her latest book is “Ketchup is a Vegetable and Other Lies Moms Tell Themselves.” Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter and visit her blog at www.robinschicks.com.

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