Etiquette Anxiety

My son is missing a day of school and riding on a charter bus to his state Destination Imagination competition today. He’ll be staying in a hotel room without us. It’s a lot of responsibility to hand a third grade boy. He’s very excited and I’m happy for him, but also just a little bit anxious about his behavior. After all, he’s very excited and that doesn’t usually bode well.

So this morning when I walked by as he ate his cereal and I saw him wipe the milk off his chin with the top edge of his T-shirt, I had a mild parental etiquette explosion.

“Daryl! DO NOT wipe your mouth with your shirt!”


“I mean it! Please, please do not wipe your mouth with your shirt today. Please don’t do anything that will embarrass me.”

“It was just some water.”

“It was not water. You don’t have any water. It was milk and it doesn’t matter. You should always use a napkin. Do not wipe your mouth with your shirt!”

Daddy added in, “That’s with an exclamation point.”

“Yes, with an exclamation point. Two exclamation points. And all caps, bolded, with an underline. And highlighted. I mean it,” I said.

“And a question mark,” Daddy said.

“NO! No question mark! This is not in doubt. DON’T do it!”

My husband walked away laughing and said he was going to send the team coach a text asking her to write down all the times that Daryl did something that embarrassed me. Dads have such a higher tolerance for the foibles of nine year old boys. I guess they’ve been there.