Back in May we had the unique opportunity to visit King’s Island Amusement Park in Cincinnati.  The rainy day was brightened by the non-existent lines and the brothers’ ability to ride every roller coaster in the park as many times as they wanted.  To mark the occasion, Dave and I departed from our No Souvenirs Policy for the millionth time and permitted the boys to choose a t-shirt that would allow for ample bragging rights when they returned to school.

Chase immediately chose one that had a checklist of all the King’s Island Coasters on it.  Noah was more deliberative, but after weighing the options chose a unique shirt that bore one of the signs that was displayed at the entrance to every coaster, indicating the height requirement for the ride.  Both shirts were fun and different.  I especially liked Noah’s choice because it was a reminder of a time when he was too little to ride anything that went over 10 mph.  It was sweet.

Or so I thought.

Fast forward to last weekend when Noah wore his King’s Island t-shirt to ride the coasters at Hershey Park here in Pennsylvania.  While waiting in line, a random woman told him that he shouldn’t be wearing “a shirt like that.”  Neither Dave or I was with him at the time, and he was confused.  He asked her if she meant that it wasn’t appropriate because it was a King’s Island shirt and he was at Hershey Park.  She replied, “No – I mean something MUCH different.”  And she walked away.

Dear MoB readers, most of you know me by now  — and you know that I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday.  I am the queen of dirty jokes.  I can play “that’s what she said” with the best of them.  And as a teacher, Dave is extremely sensitive to what might get a kid sent home from school to change his clothes.

But could this one have gone right over our heads?

After recovering from my initial horror of this possibility, (not the possibility that Noah offended someone, but the possibility that Dave and I aren’t nearly as hip as we thought), a calmer mind prevailed and I considered the following:

1)      The shirt does indeed replicate the signs at the park.

2)      The shirt came in smaller sizes meant for little kids.

3)      If the shirt intended to send a sexual message, it would be one that promoted pedophilia because the height restriction on the shirt is about 3 feet tall.  I hardly think the management of King’s Island would approve this message. Do you?

The above rationale raised my comfort level of our purchasing decision to 80 percent but the incident left me pensive.  One would think that as your child ages, the range of appropriate language and humor becomes broader – but in this case, it became narrower.  The woman at the park would never have reprimanded a 5 year old wearing the same shirt.  But because Noah is a teenager, he MUST have wanted to send another message.  I guess that means he can no longer wear shirts that say “HOME RUN” or “HE SHOOTS, HE SCORES”

Noah was wise (and cool) enough to know to what she was referring in her remark and remain unfazed.  But I still feel there was a loss of innocence that took place during this exchange.  Maybe it was mine.   So I, for one, want to reclaim it on behalf of both my kid and myself.

A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste by projecting it on children.  I like a good laugh as much as the next person but this woman should have kept her thoughts to herself.  Noah’s shirt wasn’t inappropriate, but her behavior was and I’m sorry I wasn’t there to tell her so.

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