A few weeks ago, I was buckling the kids in the car. Jackson picked up some card, then said, "this is a pain in the f-ing a-." I said, "what did you say?" and he repeated his previous statement. His statement was so random, so deliberate, and said in such a way that I knew he was trying the new words out, testing my parenting, and aware that he said something that just maybe was outside his current boundaries--something that I as a parent couldn't just let slide and hope it would go away. I took a deep breathe, snapped Jonah's buckle, and started my quickly conceived speech about that not being a nice thing to say. I was told, "well, Daddy thinks it's a nice thing to say"
So great, he ratted his daddy out. Of course he had learned this from daddy. I don't use this kind of language in front of my child and even if it had come from me, I leave the f- out of this particular phrase. Then there's the dilema of how to punish him. My stern lecture would only go so far, time out was insufficient and uninforcible since I clearly wasn't going back inside for 3 minutes on the stair. I couldn't see any other recourse besides the threat of soap.
I told him again that it wasn't a nice thing to say, not for little boys and not for mommy or daddy either. I told him those were dirty words and the only solution was to clean his mouth up by washing it with soap (trying to convince myself that it was a real connection and very reasonable punishment). I told him if mommy or daddy said it to remind us that it wasn't a nice thing to say and we would be in trouble too. Then I got in the car myself, hoped my speech was impressionative, and wondered how to break the news to my husband in a way that would serve to put him on notice as well.
A few days later, Jackson was bouncing around the house, and told me he might "fall and break his f-ing head." I repeated my speech and again listened to his arguement that daddy thought it was a nice thing to say. I repeated my speech with emphasis on the soap. 30 minutes later, Jack was jumping on the bed chanting about falling and "breaking his f-ing head".
I put Jonah down and let out a deep sigh of disbelief. Disbelief of what I was hearing from my 3 1/2 year old, disbelief that I was really going to have to get the soap out, disbelief that my husband hadn't tempered his own language. Visions of that scene from "The Christmas Story" flashed through my mind as I picked up my sweet baby boy and carried him into the bathroom, his fate sealed. I gave him a longer speech. He was unphased. I showed him a bar of soap, then had to explain just what it was since we use a body wash with the kids and liquid soap at the sink. I had to hold him down to attempt to put it in his mouth. He grimmaced, and I touched the tiniest bit to his tooth. He ran away complaining, but did not repeat his chant. I took the next opportunity to again chastise my husband. Jason has since been moping around, wearing his 'worst father in the world' medallion.
Those of you who know my Jackson know he loves to play with my iTouch. He calls it "mine game". If I take it to work, I come home hearing "mom, do you know where mine game is?" in the most pleading little voice. I have it loaded up with toddler aps. He plays them all, but mostly he plays Pocket God. I recognize that torturing pygmies is a little mature of a theme. I'm a little embarrassed that when we visited Utah, he showed everyone as he said, "see the zombies eat the kidneys brains and that makes more zombies". I rationalize that playing Pocket God is good for him because he has to take multi-sequenced steps to a given reaction, it's bigger than just cause and effect.
He also uses the YouTube ap to watch videos of his own giggling self, muppets singing 'Ma Nama Na', or Donald Duck shorts. He saved a video of someone playing a Roger Rabbit video game to the YouTube favorites. I saw him watching it a couple times, and it was boring so I tuned it out after a few seconds. Normally I let him use the iTouch on his own. He likes to play it when he's "boring" because I'm cooking or taking care of Jonah or whatever. A few nights ago, he was sitting next to me playing with the iTouch. He turned on the Roger Rabbit video. About 3 seconds beyond the point I'd been tuning out, the narrator said, "This right here is a pain in the f-ing a-". I think a "fall and break my f-ing head" might've been in the upcoming dialogue. Instead of waiting to listen for that, I snatched the itouch from Jackson's protesting fingers and erased the link from the memory.
Jason is relieved that he's no longer the worst parent in the world. He handed that title to me for letting my sweet little boy have unsupervised access to the Internet. YouTube. What was I thinking?! It could've been much worse, right?! So now we're both on notice, paying a little more attention to our language and to our little parrot's viewing habits. This parenting thing is gonna be a long looong road, sigh.
2 years ago