Ever notice it's always cute when someone else's child says or does something mortifying? That if your child did the same thing, you'd gladly have a bottomless pit open up under your feet to escape the knowing laughter, or worse, the judgmental stares?
When it's not your child, but it is your responsibility - i.e., my nephews the Heathenish and Fatty Lumpkins - it doesn't make it any better.
I took them to the American Indian Heritage Festival at Meadowcroft, because the Sainted Child thought this would be a splendid idea.
Heathenish wasn't so sure. "Why can't I take my DS?" he pouted.
"Because they didn't have hand-held gaming consoles in the 17th century," I said.
"Did they have Wii?" he wanted to know.
"They didn't have electricity."
His eyes got big as dinner plates and he whimpered at the very thought. But his mother also thought it was a splendid idea, so he had to go, grumbling all the way.
I braced myself for an afternoon of grumbles, but when he realized he would be allowed to throw an actual spear, he brightened up considerably. He cheered up even more at the cooking demonstration.
"Mom," he whispered. "Mom, look at that turtle. I think they're going to eat it!"
Blood-thirsty little thing, that one is.
Fatty, meanwhile, was a lot happier weaving duckweed into decoys and making clay pots. He didn't share his brother's enthusiasm for gore, and, while watching an interpreter carve a carcass into jerky, he decided he'd had enough.
"This place is freaking me out," he declared. "Can we go home now?"
I decided that it would behoove us to visit another part of the museum, instead, especially since no convenient hole appeared to be opening under my feet.
We went to the pre-historic fishing demonstration, which the Heathenish found fascinating, especially learning that walnut husks could be used to stun and poison fish. I shudder to think what he'll do with that information.
However, Sainted Child was carrying Fatty around and cuddling him, even though I've told her a thousand times he has a healthy set of legs. I meant to tell her - for the hundredth time that day - to put him down when I realized he was actually sobbing.
We took him back to the car, and I asked him what was wrong.
"That man had a feather in his nose! It was ugly," he sniffed.
The Sainted Child, ultra-politically correct child that she is, tried to explain the cultural significance of facial piercings.
"In pre-historic times, people would have thought he looked handsome," she said.
"Not to people who use electricity," he insisted.
Luckily, we were out of earshot, but I think I still might have taken advantage of a well-placed bottomless pit.
(Wallace-Minger, The Weirton Daily Times community editor, is a Weirton resident and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)