So this week Liam hit us with a barrage of new and interesting words. I knew this day would come because it only takes so long before your child comes into contact with other children (and adults) who were not raised the way I have tried to raise Liam and Hannah – and not in a bad way – just differently. So whereas some words like stupid, shut up and cry-baby are acceptable in some homes, I have tried to steer away from words, which if used in the wrong context, could hurt or offend another little darling. I don’t know about you, but if I was two years old and someone called me stupid, I’d want to cry big crocodile tears .. in fact, if someone called me stupid now, I’d probably also burst into tears! Yes, there are times when his Dad and I are having a laugh and being silly and I call my hubby stupid, or I tell him to shut it when I ask if my bum looks big in this and he laughs..so this context is different, but because explaining contexts to a two year old is like explaining the JSE to me, we just try and avoid these sorts of words altogether at home.
Everyone says I should ignore him when he uses these words, and perhaps I will learn to contain my outrage and ignore him now that I have heard these horrible words spill from the mouth of my saintly (not) two year old. But when I heard him say it this weekend, I almost choked on my saliva. I can’t even remember what he said, or what he was referring to; we were driving in the car and he was talking compulsively and without taking a breath as usual, and I was giving the obligatory, “yes, ooooh, wow my baby” but not really listening to what he was on about, when I heard him slip in a “stupid.” The hubby and I were mortified, I asked Liam what he had just said, and he said it again – unashamedly . In his defence, I don’t believe he knew it was a bad word, he’d probably just picked it up, but I do think he was well aware of the hoo-hah it caused, every time he said it. So I explained to him that that word wasn’t nice, and that he shouldn’t ever, EVER say it again, and he said ok and carried on with his soliloquy. So far, he hasn’t used the word again, or rather I haven’t heard him say the word again.
Later in the day, I heard him tell Hannah to GET OUT OF MY FACE.. what? Again, I had to step in with the “that’s not nice” speech. I asked him where he had learned to talk like that and he said “nowhere”. Charming. My pulse goes into overdrive and my palms feel sweaty when I think of him using words like these in public, or worse, at church! What will they think of ME, the parent? I don’t want people to think that we’re ok with it, and I most definitely don’t want Liam to be THAT kid who always says nasty things – the kid who other parents tell their kids to stay away from! Ah, this parenting thing doesn’t get any easier, does it?
So for now, I’m going to play it cool with the bad words. What I have learned through this toddler phase, is that alot of what they do, is to see what sort of of reaction they can get out of me. If I go off my head every time they tip the dirty washing out of the laundry basket, they think it’s hilarious and must be done again and again. If I walk in and laugh and suggest we all clean up together, they think it’s boring and leave it alone, and move onto something else that will shatter Mom’s world. Kids hey, such GEMS.
So, my tactic goes as follows: acknowledge that he has used a bad word, ignore it, if I can tell he is using it more for my reaction than anything else, and lastly wash his mouth out with soap, and feed him chillies. Ok, I wouldn’t do that, relax.