Kids are like parrots. They’re smart, and they’re watching and listening to everything you do. Think you can fool them for a second? Think again!
I rarely order Margo around.. .In fact, I never make Margo do chores… I don’t see the point, because if she’s in the mood, she’ll run around the house at my heels, and at the best of her ability, she will be right alongside me, doing the laundry, washing the dishes, moping the floor, vacuuming, taking out the garbage when it’s full and even checking to see if her baby sister’s nappy is wet!
As for learning language, kids are onto that one like white on rice. Margo’s been going through this very annoying (yet understandably necessary) phase of asking me to repeat myself every time I say something. I’m pretty sure it’s because she’s very much wanting to hear every syllable that I utter, so that she may refine her language skills more and more.
They copy everything you do, and they pretty much repeat everything you say… every phrase… your intonations… your speech style and your accent Margo’s accent is sort of a mix of Aussie and American).
My mother used to say, ‘It’s ok to swear, but only if you stub your toe’… or something to that effect. Of course, as a teenager and young adult, I’m pretty sure I used to swear like a sailor… and well, I WAS the captain of my sailing team at uni, so maybe that was why?
These days, I rarely swear. It’s not that I think swearing is overly bad, or wrong… It’s just not a very uplifting thing to do, it brings down the energy a bit, and in my mind, indicates a bit of lack of awareness. Anyway, I still do it occasionally, when things get a bit dicey. I would say, on average, I might say the ‘S’ word about once a week or less. And, for me to say it in front of children, is far far less than that. For me to say the ‘S’ word, something slightly disastrous has to have happened. The F-bomb very very rarely slips across these lips and I don’t think it’s every happened in front of the kids.
Since I rarely swear, my kids rarely hear me swear, so they really don’t know what it means. I’m pretty sure that Margo would have been swearing by now if she heard us doing it on even as much as an occasional basis.
Well, today was her first swear-attempt. And, it was HILARIOUS! It was late and Goldie was already asleep and Art was working on the computer next to us. Margo was asking me to read her book after book after book. And, I was absolutely glued to the recliner and couldn’t be bothered getting up to brush her teeth so that we could go to bed. Lucky for her… so she just kept bringing me book after book after book to read. We have a sort of children’s library going on, we have that many books… I can recite almost every single word to every single book, so actually we don’t have enough books. She was going to get that ‘one more book’, and Art and I heard this huge crash of books landing on the floor followed by a short paused, concluded with a hushed, ‘SHOUT!!!’.
I looked at Art. Art looked at me.
Art said, ‘Was that supposed to be something like, S-H-I-T?’.
‘I think so!’ I started laughing.
Art started laughing. We were laughing so hard. Then, Margo started saying, ‘SHOUT! SHOUT! SHOUT!’.
Oh… it was so very cute. It was so cute because
1) because I felt relieved that she didn’t know how to say the real swear world
2) because if she’s already 3 and just realizing that I say something when things drop or spill, then we’re probably not off to a bad start… I know some toddlers who have an atrocious potty mouth.
3) because it was a little reminder to me to be EXTRA vigilant in watching what words leave my mouth, but that it wasn’t too late because she hadn’t exactly picked up on what I had been saying in the first place.
We all had a very good laugh, and Margo thought she had done something cute (which she sort of had). Now, off to make sure it doesn’t happen again!