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Everything I Learned About Parenting, I Learned from Pretty Woman

Candy's Column

Everything I Learned About Parenting, I Learned from Pretty Woman

Skye was on tap to bring a “special treat” for her class at preschool, her teacher informed me.  Upon hearing this, Skye looked up at me and offered her two cents’ with her trademark patience.


“Wait — are you saying you would like to buy the special treat now?” I asked, unclear.

“Yes.  Please and thank you,” she responded, this time at a decibel level that did not shatter glass.

Mr. Candy has hammered home that Skye always needs to say “please and thank you,” so Skye now thinks they are one phrase.  “Skylar have apple juice?  Please and thank you!”   Yes, Skye prefers an efficient approach to politeness, getting all the boring pleasantries out of the way in one fell swoop.

So we swung by the grocery store on the way home and I loaded the kids into the double stroller, a feat that takes — just an estimate here — seven-hundred years.  I grabbed a couple bags of Hershey’s Kisses (“Kisses?” Skye repeated, then proceeded to kiss the bag, demonstrating why two-year-olds are awesome) and parked our traveling zoo in the long checkout line.  I braced myself.  Because there is nothing more fun than waiting in a long, unmoving line with a hungry and tired six-month-old and a two-year-old who can go from “Kisses?” to tantrum in one second flat, especially at the end of the day.  The double stroller also makes us a target for people who want to ogle and coo at the kids, and make conversation with me about the kids in between ogling and cooing at them.  This is nice, I know — except when you have two fussy kids at the end of the day.  This time we were approached by a sweet old lady who sensed our weakness, as we were stuck there in between holiday cookie displays with no place to escape.  Us:  prey.  Her:  conversation predator.  She swept in and made her move.

“Aren’t they cute?” she exclaimed.  “I have grandchildren of my own, but they’re all over the country…et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.”

I’m paraphrasing here, of course, but that’s what I remember her saying as I dutifully smiled and nodded and batted Skye’s hands away from tearing open the bag of Kisses.

“Would you please stop that?” I asked Skye.

“No, thank you,” she replied.

My daughter is also polite about her rudeness.

This invariably turned the sweet old lady’s attention to Skye.  Once again I braced myself because conversing with strangers isn’t exactly Skye’s strongest suit.

“What do you have there?” the sweet old lady asked.


“What do you have, Skylar?  Chocolate?” I prompted in my best “Mom Voice.”

“Yes,” Skye practically whispered, shyly cocking her head and looking down.

“Is Santa going to come to your house?” the sweet old lady asked.


“Is Santa coming to our house, Skylar?” I prompted once again, wondering if our line was ever going to move.

“Yes,” Skye practically whispered.

You’d think the poor old lady would give up, but no…!  She continued to pelt my shy daughter with questions, I continued to prompt my shy daughter, and my shy daughter continued to give the sweet old lady’s hearing aid a serious workout.

And then it happened.

In the middle of another question about Christmas or chocolate or Kim Jong-il (I may have tuned out at that point), Skye licked her finger and yelled at the top of her lungs:


The sweet old lady looked at me, wondering if she’d heard what she thought she heard.  Skye proceeded to laugh at herself, a trait she may or may not have picked up from her mother.  As for me, I desperately wracked my brain for a way to handle the awkwardness when it hit me:  this was my Pretty Woman moment.  You know, when the old lady asks Julia Roberts if she enjoyed the opera and Julia says, “It was so good, I almost peed my pants!” and Richard Gere smoothly glosses it over by telling the old lady that Julia actually said, “She liked it better than Pirates of Penzance”…?

This was it.  I was Richard Gere.  I put on my most cocky, charming smile and exclaimed:

“She said she eats burger!”

The old lady nodded, relieved.  My chest swelled with pride at my own cleverness, when —

“No, Mommy — BOOGER!  SKYLAR EAT BOOGER!” Skye corrected.  Loudly.  And clearly.

*Sigh*  This is why Edward Lewis brought a hooker instead of a two-year-old to the opera.

Because sharing is caring, as I tell my kids. (Except my wine. Never my wine.)
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Candy Kirby is the founder of The Laughing Stork and a professional fun-maker who will never stop chasing her lifelong dream: to find the Pomeranian or porn star after whom her parents must have named her. A humor columnist for Disney, Nickelodeon, Scary Mommy, Reductress and Redbook, she also used to be a staff writer for the soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, where she penned many scripts featuring prolonged heated stares and countless “Who’s the Daddy?” story lines. Candy lives in Los Angeles with her husband, two young kids and three rescue Persian cats, the latter of whom are the real brains behind this operation (so send all complaints to them).

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