Last year I was driving my car with my son in his carseat in the back. He dropped a toy he was playing with on the floor, and I heard from the back, “Oh Fudge.” “Only he didn’t say “Fudge.” He said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word!”. I immediately stifled my surprise and laughter, blamed his father under my breath (because I would NEVER say a bad word!), and at that moment I vowed that I was going to really be careful about the things I said around him.
My family just recently took a cross-Atlantic flight, which for me means cramped seats, bad airplane food, and figuring out how to entertain my increasingly mobile 10-month-old for seven hours. For my three-year-old, it is heaven. It means seven hours of pure, uninterrupted, unmitigated television watching. Until, somewhere over Greenland, he turned to me laughing and said, “Do you want to make out???”
My son frequently tells people I am his girlfriend, but this was too much!
He was watching a cartoon that I wasn’t familiar with, but was on the kids channel on the plane. A channel that I thought was perfectly “safe” for him to watch for the duration of the flight. And I looked at the show myself (which was otherwise pretty innocuous) and confirmed that it was, indeed, the source of this newfound expression. But how on earth can we as parents control what filters through into our children’s ever eager little ears?
I have found that most of the time it’s obvious where the statements come from. Nothing holds a sometimes unflattering mirror up to yourself quite like a preschooler. And I have gotten much better about cursing around the kids, but watching my son put his hands on his hips and yell, “You are all driving me crazy!” has highlighted to me some of my less proud moments. So when my son asked me if I wanted to make out, I tried to explain to him that it is not appropriate to ask people that, and that making out is something married people do (yes, I am more old-fashioned in parenting than I was in my former life). But this morning we were standing in line at a coffee shop, and he turned to me and once again asked, “Do you want to make out?” “He didn’t learn that from me,” was the only thing I could manage by way of explanation to the amused/bewildered barista. Had he said the F-bomb again, now that would be a different story.
How do you deal with inappropriate things that your children say? Are you most of the time able to ascertain where the statements came from?