Today I would like to talk about something highly dignified: how I came to complete the better part of a 5K bike ride with my daughter's hands in the back of my pants.
It seems so simple in my mind. It was cool out, but not freezing. We wore our sweatshirts and pants to keep warm, and I decided at the last minute to leave my gloves behind, because it felt just that pleasant out. I buckled Tiny E into the seat on the back of my bike, and we rode off.
Maybe a quarter mile in, I realized I wished I had brought my gloves after all. I commented, "Oh, I wish I hadn't left my gloves at home." And Tiny E said, "I wish I had my min-tens. My hands awe cold." And I thought "Oh, how sweet. We are so alike. Biking with my baby is so fun."
Then I heard, "I want to keep my hands warm in your butt!" And I felt a pair of little hands suddenly slip into the top of my track pants and nestle against my butt.
I said, "No! Get your hands out of my butt--I mean my pants!"
She said, "No! Your butt is warm! My hands need to be nice & cozy!"
On and on we went as I mulled my options. I could stop and give her a talking-to and hold firm to the boundary. Or I could bike on and pray that I would be immune to any judgmental stares from passers-by. The truth was that my clothes were tucked in such a way that the only thing exposed was the bottom of my shirt. And stopping would only prolong the time until I could warm my own hands, so I pulled my jacket a little lower and kept going.
Which would have been fine had Ms Curious not inquired, "What kind of underpants you wearin', Mom?" and attempted to find out. It was there that I drew the boundary. I swatted her hands away and told her that NO ONE wanted to see my underpants, and maybe she could stick her hands up my jacket instead to keep them nice & cozy. She agreed for, like, 3 seconds, but eventually the little hands found their way back down to my pants and settled in for the duration, and I kept the topic of conversation away from things that would result in curious and/or wiggling hands.
Thankfully, that was the extent of things. Her hands remained warm & cozy, and as far as I know I didn't expose any skin or under-things, so there was minimal awkwardness for anyone who happened to look our way. But there was still a small part of me that wondered, as we rode along, "How did I get here, to this place, riding my bike with someone else's hands nestled against my butt? And should it bother me more?"
I decided that cavemen probably had to resort to far more awkward situations to keep warm, and that I would consider gloves and mittens the next time, just to be safe. Still, things like this always remind me to be very aware of what I'm saying to people. What seems like a benign sharing of information could, in fact, sound like an invitation to others.
So the next time you leave your gloves home, choose carefully what you share with your friends. You just might end up with someone else's hands in the back of your pants...