Kids can say and do the most embarrassing things. Luckily for me, my most embarrassing kid story happened to my ex-husband. It all started with my daughter, her overactive imagination, and a bullying neighbour.
Back when daughter was preschool aged we had a neighbour with a daughter who was a year older. The girl didn't treat daughter well, she teased her and was often sent back home. But it was a small building and the two ended up playing together regularly. When the girl finally moved T* and I were ready to throw a party to celebrate. We celebrated too soon. Suddenly daughter had an imaginary friend named "Bad Katie".
Lots of kids have imaginary friends who are "bad" and get blamed for mischief. This friend was different. Instead she bullied and picked on daughter, pretty much the same way her previous friend teased her. This left T and I at a loss, trying to convince daughter to stand up for herself to an imaginary playmate.
Weeks went on and nothing seemed to work until one bitterly cold winter's night when T finally snapped. Nothing we said made a difference. Daughter couldn't ignore Bad Katie and telling her to stop and go away made the teasing worse. I sent Bad Katie upstairs for a timeout but she snuck back down. T stomped to the door and opened it. A blast of cold air rushed in.
"Outside now!" he snapped then looked at daughter and asked, "Is she out there?"
Daughter nodded and he slammed the door shut then locked it.
"There," he said with some satisfaction. "She's having a timeout on the patio."
"In the snow?" whispered daughter.
"In the snow," he agreed. "And she's not allowed back in ever again."
Weeks went by without a single mention of Bad Katie and we slowly relaxed. Then T headed out on the bus one afternoon with daughter and came home looking rather pale.
"I'm lucky I wasn't lynched," he said once daughter had headed upstairs. "The bus was packed to the point where we had to stand. There wasn't a single seat available. Then daughter started talking in a rather loud voice..."
"Remember that time Bad Katie was sooo bad that you made her have a timeout on our patio in the dark all alone. And it was really cold and you made her stand outside in bare feet in the snow and told her she wasn't allowed to come back inside ever again."
Complete and utter silence. T looked around and everyone was staring at him. No one looked happy.
I'll grant her good timing at least, she finished the story right before our stop so he was able to make a quick getaway.
*not my ex's real initial, just a letter I picked at random in September