Saturday night, we met my Mom and brother at Rusty’s BBQ. It’s the only place we ever meet them, because it’s halfway between our houses and is exactly what you want in a good, off-the-path Southern BBQ place: without pretense, containing random kitsch (I especially like their license plate map of the United States), booths as old as the grill, and some indescribably fantastic food. It’s where you can imagine seeing Guy Fieri or Anthony Bourdain in the next booth, happily in their element.

When we’re meeting my parents (or in this case my Mom and brother, since my Dad was out of town), we don’t even discuss it – we assume. Rusty’s it is.

As part of its character, Rusty’s draws an interesting crowd. It can be locals, foreigners, suburbanites on the hunt for genuine bar-b-que, Indy Car racers from the racetrack down the road, super rural folk, or shoppers having just left The Outlet Mall. Eclectic dining at its best.

On that particular night, there were a few different dining types in attendance. There were some teenagers in the corner, our table featuring grandkids enjoying their Grandmother’s attention, and an older couple sitting directly behind me, within 18 inches of my ear.

The couple looked to be of the rural variety – he was wearing overalls and a John Deere hat, and she was wearing what appeared to be a homemade muumuu.

(Which, by the way, I had to Google and there may be more ways to spell “muumuu” than any other item of clothing in the Northern Hemisphere. So if you prefer mu’umu’u or muu-muu or mumuu or even moo moo, please forgive me because I just had to pick one and go with it.)

We enjoyed our dinner, the kids blissfully in the company of their grandmother, and Chris and I basking in the relaxation of having other adult backup that happens to be more interesting than us.

As we finished our meal, Ali wanted to get bubblegum out of the candy stand. This is a new thing for her – I personally despise bubblegum so don’t keep it around, and she’s never been too interested. But apparently, some KID in her Sunday School class has developed a proficiency for bubble blowing. And Ali feels the need to learn so that she can keep up with the societal pressures by which she is being smothered.

So she’s been practicing with candy stand bubblegum balls, which isn’t exactly the best bubble-blowing material. And she’s not exactly successful in her efforts. But, alas, she keeps trying. And that night was especially promising, since she had an expert-teacher Grandmother on hand, who was most likely still running on the high of potty-training my son.

Fortunately, they had a sour candy machine right next to the gumball machine, so I told Ali to buy her brother some candy.

Except that Noah, as soon as he saw the fun contortions that Ali and Gramamma were going through to try and create a bubble, wanted to be like them.

Bubblegum Training

“I want bubbleGUMMM!!”

Not gonna happen, kid.

“But whyyyyyyyy?”

And I said in my most ominous Movie Trailer voice, “Because. Eet’s DANGEROUS.”

And, of course, it worked, thanks to the genetic coding that runs deeply through Chris and I which allows us to breed especially risk-averse humans.

But I did not realize the horror of which my words would create.

Mrs. Muumuu gasped loudly. And in her most southern drawl, nearly yelled at Mr. Overalls,

“Did you HEEE-YAR that?? That lady just told that little girl a LIE!”

He answered. “We-yell, maybe she could choke on it.”

“Well. I think it’s just TERRIBLE to lie to children!!”

Mr. Overalls could sense me listening, and quickly changed the subject. “Isn’t this food delicious?”

I giggled to myself, answering her – but only in my head.

First of all, he’s a boy – not a girl. I know he’s adorable and all, but he’s still pretty boyish looking – I think? Second of all, I will admit to lying to my kids from time to time. That whole 110% honesty-with-your-kids thing doesn’t really play out in real life – at least for those of us who are honest about it. After all, 110% isn’t actually a real number. (Okay it is but not when it comes to effort or honesty.) HOWEVER. I was not, in this case, lying to my son that you called a girl. Bubblegum is absolutely dangerous when in the hands (or mouth but it won’t stay there long) of a three-year-old. It is dangerous to his hair (heck it’s dangerous to my hair and probably yours too, considering how close you’re sitting), it’s dangerous to his shirt. It’s dangerous to his pants, his shoes, his socks (assuming he’s wearing any which is a generous assumption), my car, my carpet, his bed, and any animals that happen to walk by at an inopportune time. Because have you ever tried to remove bubblegum from an animal’s tail? If not, I wouldn’t wish it on you, but I promise you they’re not keen on the peanut butter treatment plan. So yes, yes, indeed YES. BUBBLEGUM IS DANGEROUS.

…But thanks anyway for planting yet another doubt in his little head.


20 thoughts on “Bubblegum Lies.

  1. I think anyone who has ever had to try to get gum out of a small child’s hair while they scream bloody murder would agree with you wholeheartedly.

  2. Bubblegum is dangerous – no doubt about it. I also agree with lies to kids in certain instances. And in no way does Noah look like a girl. Apologies for Mr. and Mrs. Overalls, but as you said, the clientele is eclectic. As always, thank you for choosing Rusty’s BBQ as your meet-up spot of choice. Our whole family loves your blog. (Seriously, your ears may have been burning on Saturday night because we were talking about how awesome it is.) Thank you for your friendship and your business!

    1. Oh, don’t apologize for The Overalls!! They made my night ten times better – I thrive off of running into eclectic people. I might even go places where I could, perhaps, leave with a bloggable story. They made my dreams come true.

      We had a great night and always enjoy Rusty’s. Chris raved about his ribs all weekend!

  3. That look on Noah’s face is PRICELESS!! That boy is the king of deep expressions!

    P.S. I had to scroll up quick to see if this one was filed under awkwardly intense busy body club., because I thought it sounded like a good candidate. Maybe she was the mother of the Michael’s lady. :-)

  4. I completely agree. My oldest is six and has just discovered it thanks to our neighbor. I found a chewed up piece right outside the car door where the kids where very likely to step in it and stick it throughout the vehicle. He insists it was the neighbor’s kid and he’s probably right, but I am still going to do my best to keep it away from my kids for as long as possible.

  5. Thank goodness for TMJ!! I often wondered as a child why chewing those honking pieces of Dubble Bubble made my jaws ache for days… day at the orthodontist gave me the answer…..I can’t stand to chew ANY gum at all and never really have. Fortunately, my daughter inherited my TMJ so she doesn’t chew it either. I think gum in the mouth of any child less than 10 is absurd….they chew it for five seconds, get the sugar out and swallow it…..much less the gumball kind….it’s usually larger than large and COULD very well choke them and hard as a rock.

    I remember when my daughter was probably 4 or 5, I took a peppermint disk and broke it in half and then proceeded to break it again two more times, giving her the smallest piece….YEP!!! She choked on it! Nothing like doing the Heimlich on your child while in church!!!

    Anyway, waiting on gum or never having it all will not hurt him one bit!!! Glad you got the potty training thing conquered!!!

    Loving the pics!! Keep it up!

  6. Sounds like a pretty fun place! I so wish we could come to Birmingham in June but we’ve looked at ticket prices and it is $1100 to fly into Birmingham (per person!!!) and only about $450 to Atlanta. I must be weird…first the Playdoh and now gum. I’ve always loved gum and my kids do too. We chew it at least twice a day (usually after lunch and dinner, which helps me not eat dessert) and they chew it just fine for over an hour and then spit it out in the garbage. We’ve never had it stuck in hair or anywhere else. I have found a piece on the floor a few times (usually near the garbage), and the counter another time, and they just lose their gum privileges for a day or two and it doesn’t happen again. We love gum!

    1. Sad! But not surprising. Atlanta is just a bigger airport. But it’s only 2 hours away….. :-D

      And it’s good that we have a few differences. That’s how we know we’re not the same person.

  7. Bubblegum is also dangerous for 14 year olds, especially when they leave it in the pocket of their jeans, throw said jeans in the laundry, and allow Mom to wash said jeans in her brand new washer and dry said jeans in her brand new dryer. Then Mom must attempt to scrub said bubblegum from the wall of her brand new dryer. Four years later, burnt remnants of bubblegum still remain. Fortunately for him, the 14 year old remains, too.

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