Monday, April 14, 2014

Cursing Toddlers

One of the most exciting and stressful parts of living with a two year-old, I've found, is their tendency to accurately mimic the things you say. My big kids love that Terza is a little parrot; it allows them to effortlessly manipulate her for their enjoyment.

"Terza, can you say, "You know I'm bad! I'm bad! You know it!"

"I bad! I bad! You KNOW IT!" she obliges, with gusto.

Peals of laugher. I laugh, too. I won't deny it. It's riotous. And then, once I've busted a gut or two, I intervene:

"OK, that's enough now. Can't we have her say how GOOD she is, how helpful and obedient?"

Seconda, too, feeds her lines of dialogue:

"Terza, can you say, "Oppa gangam style?"

"Oppa gaaaya tiewa!"

Explosive, thunderous cackles. And Terza loves it, of course. She thinks she is the bee's knees. So everyone wins. 

But she also repeats stuff you don't want her to repeat.

The other day, my grandmother was babysitting and when I picked Terza up, Nonny informed me that she might have learned a new and colorful bit of language.

"I tink I taught her to say 'shit,'" Nonny confessed.

"Nonny!" I exclaimed, with chagrined indignation, "Please try to CONTROL yourself!"

As if I'd never used the word "shit" in front of the kid.

The thing is, at first kids are babies and when they're babies, you really have carte blanche languege-wise, because shit, they don't know what the hell they're hearing. Then, slowly, so slowly you don't even realize it's happening, they become toddlers, and still, they're really not talking, and when they do, you can't understand what they're saying, anyway, so really, you've got a cushion, when it comes to cursing. And then, one day, they're talking in complete sentences and voicing all sorts of complicated sentiments and observations like, "The doggie is loud and he's gonna lick me and I'm scared Mommy! Please help me!" and you're like, "FUCK. This kid is WITH it now, I have to stop cursing."

And you try, you really do, but it's a hard habit to break, particularly in the hectic strum and drang of raising three precocious, demanding children while trying to work at the same time. So you find yourself slipping, And when you do, there's a little parrot right beside you, at the ready to repeat it all. Weird part is, half the stuff she says is incomprehensible, but when she says swear words, she's got impeccable articulation. Clear as a bell.

"Jesus CHRIST!"




"Oh shit!"

Thankfully, we haven't been treated to our two year-old tossing around the F bomb yet. So, I guess, if you're a silver-linings kind of person, you'd say things are looking up.
We shall see . . .