Mom and Dad are coming up today. While they occupy the kids, or while the kids occupy them—I’m not sure which way that actually goes—David and I are going to lock ourselves into this kitchen and get some serious work done. I hope.
An unfortunate byproduct of the renovation: Linus’s burgeoning repertoire of colorful language. He doesn’t repeat things to be naughty. He has no idea that certain words are “not nice.” I think it’s true what they say of becoming a parent: You are forced to become a more decent, responsible person. At least one hopes this may be the case. We all fail regularly, but since becoming a mom, for instance, I always buckle up. And interestingly enough, this is more out of a “What would they do without me?” rationale than a self-preservation one. And you start to act like a better, more adult individual once you realize that little eyes are constantly upon you, guaging your actions and reactions, looking for inconsistencies, studying every phrase and move you make, just waiting to mimic it. It’s slightly unnerving, actually.
But, I can tell you one thing: You snap into the role pretty quickly after you hear your sweet, innocent, two-year old little girl smile and say, “Shit!” at the dinner table. (After the grace, of course.) The parental reaction at this point is quite important. It is suicide to laugh. If the urge to laugh is uncontrollable, you must fake a cough or a sneeze, go to the bathroom. Anything to NOT let them see you laughing at them. And this urge is very strong. To hear such a word coming from a very small child—in complete innocence—is hysterical. But laughing at them will only encourage more of the same undesirable language.
The best approach is a calm yet stern reprimand, and then a serious “Get it together!” talk with yourself or your spouse, later. Because there’s really only one person to blame in most cases.
The other night, Linus, catching on to this whole foul language business, actually asked permission to quasi-swear. (Yes, Linus is already and annoyingly a word-worm. I can’t think of where he got that, but he intently studies the written or spoken word in order to utilize this powerful medium to his advantage. Or so I think.) Playing with legos at the table the other night, he asked David, “Dad, can I say ‘darn it’?” To which David graciously assented. Linus’s rejoinder: “Darn it. My window’s crooked!”
It’s a start.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite pictures. I took this by our house two years ago right after Eliza was born—after the first, less-severe ice-storm. Followed by The Mother of All Ice Storms that took place less than a week after—which left us and a lot of people out of power for a week. (some a lot longer)
Not the ideal situation in which to take care of a newborn and a two year old, but actually, it forced me to just be with Eliza. And since there were no bottles to worry about, it was quite easy, actually. (Yes, another shameless plug for breastfeeding.) I’m rambling…