Public Humiliation

Since the kids woke up a bit early this morning, I decided to take them out for breakfast. As we made our orders at McDonald’s, Xuân kept yelling, “Daddy, you are stupid. You are stupid daddy.” The cashier’s mouth dropped. She looked at him and told him not to say that. I heard him, but I pretend I didn’t hear him. So I kept asking Đán, “What do you want to eat?”

When another cashier came up, they both spoke in Spanish and laughed. I don’t have to understand Spanish to know what they were talking about. I took the humiliation like a stupid fucking dad. What can I do? I swear I want to slap his face every time he calls me stupid, but I simply can’t. That’s child abuse in America.

This issue when he turned two. He probably picked up from his older brothers. His mom and I have tried everything to tell him not to say it, but it doesn’t seem to register. I give him a benefit of a doubt that he doesn’t know what it means, but he keeps calling us that every time he gets angry. So he does seem to understand the notion of it.

After dropping him off at daycare, I asked one of his teachers if he uses that word in class and she said no. She said that he is mostly quiet, nice, and respectful. So he understands home versus school environment.

He’s more than two and a half now and it is time to be firm with him. I love my sons, but I hate a fucking disrespectful kid.