I must must must remember to think before I speak. This is a lesson my parents have been trying to teach me since I was a child myself and it is one I clearly have not learnt… I consistently forget that there are little ears listening and copying everything I say. So now I have had to learn that the things toddlers say are not always the things we want them to say.
I have a very chatty almost 3 year old who is literally like a sponge and who tries on phrases and words for size each day and decides which ones he wants to really adopt and use regularly. Unfortunately this recently clashed with a bad day and mummy (me) using a word she shouldn’t.
Recently this combination led to a temporary fascination with the word f***king. I am not going to lie it had been a bad week with one thing or another and I was frantic to say the least and it seems I may have used this particular word. There was definitely an encounter with seriously bad traffic on the way to an appointment which ended up requiring an abandoning of the car and running down the road with baby in the buggy and toddler running alongside – this undoubtedly involved a swear. I really try to never say anything like this in front of the and save my sailor speak for after bedtime!
I realised just how awful it was to have said this in front of him when I asked him if he could pick up his brother’s dummy for me. He dutifully jumped down off the bed, but couldn’t immediately see it and put his little hands on his hips and said
‘ oh mummy where is that f’ing dode? (his word for dummy)’
I was and still am mortified. I just ignored what he said and carried on as I had heard somewhere this was the best thing to do. A few days later I was in the kitchen fixing lunch when I heard him say loudly to his baby brother
‘those f’ing birds just keep making such a noise, they are so loud’
I was amazed by him getting the context so very perfect for this word and then again horrified – what would I do if he said this at playgroup? what would I do if he said this for ever more and I had ruined his innocence?
So I decided I had to say something and suggested to him that he had probably meant to say clucking birds to which he replied
‘no mummy I meant f’ing birds’
By now I was entirely convinced that I had ruined him for life and sent him off on a path that would lead to the wrong crowd and a life on the run – I am nothing if not dramatic! Talking myself back in off the ledge I resolved to check myself before speaking and hope that he didn’t say it again which thankfully he hasn’t.
I breathed a sigh of relief and assumed we were in the clear and safe to return to church and attend the health visitor annual check, but no! Then I got a lesson in just how little a toddler often understands about what they say and how you just never know what will come out of their mouths no matter how careful you are.
We had a poo explosion with the little one to deal with. It was one so extensive that it required both my husband and I to attend. The body suit had to be cut in order to remove it. We are talking poonami!! The big one found this utterly hilarious and was jumping around laughing and trying to shout ‘oh no we have a situation’, but what he was actually saying was ‘ oh no we have a shituation’. How very right he was and how blissfully unaware he was about what he was saying.
I was struck by the innocence of it all. Language seems to be all about trying out new sounds and testing; what happens if I say that, what reaction do I get and it is worth saying again? So I am planning to stick with my resolution to wash my own mouth out with soap and just to enjoy all of the funny things toddlers say and his learning journey.