I grew up in a household where “gosh”, “butt”, and “fart” were bad words… partially due to that and partially to the fact that I’m 1/4 sailor (or at least assuming I am) I do tend to use some pretty colorful language, as do the other adults in my house. When I was younger I swore (pun intended) that I would never curse around my children… I swore a lot of things about “when I have children” because, as we all know, there’s no expert in child raising like the person who doesn’t have any. Then I had kids and realized I have a lot more important things to try and fix about myself, when I get those under control I can tackle some of the smaller stuff like my tendencies toward profanity.
Fast forward to a few days ago. Our dog Barney had done something bad and someone made the declaration that, judging by how often it’s used, should officially be the mantra of our house.
But this time instead of the traditional response of the poor mentally challenged dog drooling, tail wagging, and flopping over on his back that we’re all used to there was a tiny echo.
We all knew this day would come, and here it finally was.
Over the next few days it would occasionally crop up, usually when Verona was already talking about dogs… or when she would see Barney… or think about Barney… or sometimes seemingly out of nowhere. She would say it nonchalantly, obviously unaware that there was anything different between this word and the other 200 or so that she’s learned. I was torn between wanting to tell her to stop, not caring, and wanting to pee my pants laughing over her innocent little voice informing me “Barney @#$^%&*.”
I decided to just ignore it, I wasn’t going to make a big deal about it because I didn’t want it to become something fun and exciting to say but I also wasn’t going to repeat it back to her when she said it like I do with most words. Is this the right course of action? I have absolutly no idea. But maybe, I thought, maybe she would just forget about it.
This seemed to be working ok until we went to coffee time at church a few mornings ago. That morning it was myself and a few people spanning middle age to old who started talking about parenting and swapping funny stories from when their kids were little. So I decided to share our little situation, explaining the basics of Verona hearing this colorful word and now repeating it. They were all thoroughly amused, being far enough past this stage in their own parenting ventures to be able to find all the humor there was in it.
I had made the cardinal mistake of parenting though, assuming first off that Verona wasn’t listening when we all know that kids are ALWAYS listening (unless of course you want them to be) and secondly that by using “colorful word” in place of the word itself that she wouldn’t know what we were talking about.
She did know what we were talking about, and instead of knowing that I was intentionally avoiding the particular vocabulary in question because swearing loudly in front of the pastors and other various pillars of the church is something not even I intentionally do she assumed I just couldn’t remember the word.
As far as she could tell I couldn’t remember the word and it was causing me to tell the story wrong… but she was going to be helpful damnit! She wouldn’t stand idly by and let me mess up a story because I was forgetful! No no, mommy, I will help! Don’t worry!
Yes honey, thank you for your help. Sigh.