It's the day our child says their first cuss word. You swear up and down you'll watch your mouth around your child and you will not be THAT parent, the one whose child says bad words.You vow to be a better parent than that. You will always set a good example. That's what you tell yourself.
But, really - that's probably what you told yourself. Before you had kids. Because before we have kids we all swear there are certain things that we'll never allow, but then we end up allowing them anyway, because you learn to pick your battles, and you learn that while Barney may inspire you to chuck things through your picture window, he can also be your best ally when it comes to taking a shower or getting 30 minutes of quiet time to yourself when you're standing on the brink of insanity.
So, some months ago, one of us opened the hall closet only to find that a crayon had been shoved under the door such that when we opened said door, the crayon scraped a huge streak of color across our lovely hardwood floors. The adult in question uttered, "Dammit!" upon seeing the bright red streak on the floor. Pretty much immediately, Kaylee said it, too. Plain as day. Great.
Dennis tried to fool her into thinking it was "rabbit" and not "dammit" that actually came out.
Then came an oh-so-innocent sounding string of, "Dammit! Rabbit. Dammit. Dammit. Rabbit. RABBIT!"
Not exactly a redemption there, folks.
At first we really reacted to it. "No, Kaylee! We don't say that!" and on and on. We tried to correct her, but we found it actually made the situation even worse. She loved the reaction, and she'd just cock her head to the side, turn up the cuteness by about 76 notches, smile that irresistible smile and then whisper it..."Dammit?"
So, we changed gears. We consciously made the choice to become terrible parents by actually deciding to ignore her when she said it. I know! Despicable, right? If you want to take away my nomination for Mother of the Year, I'm sorry to tell you you're too late. I'm pretty sure I lost it on January 1st (dammit).
Anyway, ignoring it has seemed to work best. But, we can definitely tell when Kaylee's about to say it. She'll say, "That's a bad word! Don't say that!" And then we know a tiny little "dammit" is just around the corner.
Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not writing about this because I'm all proud of my child's newly expanded vocabulary.
I'm writing about this because I'm not perfect. Dennis isn't perfect, and we don't have a perfect child. We're just doing the best we can, and if that means that our nearly-two-year-old sometimes utters "dammit" (always in perfect context, by the way...), then oh well.
We feed her. We love her. We bathe her. We play with her. We do the best we can.
And that's good enough for me.
This post is loosely based on writing prompt #4 from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop, going on all day long over at Mama's Losin' It.