Thursday, April 15, 2010

The day my kid said "Dammit."

It's a day all of us parents dread. We hope and pray it won't happen to us, but deep down, we all know it's just a matter of time.

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.


Jennifer @ The Toy Box Years said...

Any parent who has a child who doesn't let a curse word slip has got to be duct-taping their mouths shut during waking hours.

It's happened to us and it'll happen again, I'm sure!

hotpants™ said...

I remember the day my son said jackass. To this day no one knows he heard me say it in the car during rush hour traffic. Hahahaha! It happens.

Nisha said...

I have the perfect idea! We can get the girls together and Kaylee can teach Evie to use the potty and Evie can teach Kaylee to drop an F bomb! No seriously, I would love it if my child had only muttered dammit! :)

paige said...

That's funny. I'm going to start saying "rabbit" instead of "dammit." I love that.

emma said...

Had to check out some other chaos inhabitants! You got off easy but it's only a start... what's she gonna say when she is a teen?

Deb said...

i actually think you did the right thing (as if there is EVER any clear right or wrong thing to do in parenting!!) by taking the focus off the word.

and now, after reading your post, i can't help but smile and picture adorable kaylee swearing like a sailor. dammit is now officially my favorite word, dammit.

Jenners said...

Our "cover up" curse word is "Sugar Muffin Tops" and I've heard the Little One let that fly quite a few times. Cracks me up every time.

Coby said...

My twins' first cuss word was the F-bomb. They had just started to talk, and were actually saying "flag." It came out sounding like an F-bomb. We thought it was hilarious. My parents were extremely concerned and expressed this concern through pursed lips.

Not to worry, the twins now say it correctly. But now they think that crows drop F-bombs. For some reason "caw" comes out as "@#$*"

Molly said...

Cooper was watching Shrek in the car and as I'm driving I hear him yell, Jackass! Haha. Am I taking his favorite movie away from him? No freakin way. :)