Earlier this week my preschooler effectively tossed my parenting “skills” into the toilet.
By using the F-word at school.
He used it appropriately, in the sense that he was angry and the word was placed grammatically correctly in the sentence.
But I was mortified.
Sure, he’s heard that word before – both at home and out in the real world. But we’ve always placed importance on using kind and respectful language.
I remember my father telling me that people who use vulgar language “lack creativity”. He’s right.
I rarely use profanity, and I’m not easily offended. It’s just that cursing is not my style.
I totally get the need for strong language, or minimally a damnit-ouch-crap! when one slams a hammer into one’s thumb, or drops a tray of dishes that smash to pieces on one’s kitchen floor. However, in every day type of situations, I don’t see the need to swear, as they say, like a sailor.
So I was pretty darn upset when I learned that my son told one of his friends to “get his effin’ foot out of the basket!”
I have no idea what basket to which he was referring. And he didn’t say “effin'”.
We talked about language for the next couple of days. I think our message resonated with him, especially as he observes his younger brother struggling to find his words and learning more and more of them as the days go by.
Tonight I was singing something in the kitchen as I served the evening meal.
“Um, mama? I prefer that just the professionals sing. Not you.”
“Yeah, you know like the professional singers who sing Lukin and Sweet Caroline.”
I remind myself that he is exploring the ways in which he communicates, and the responses he receives to his observations and questions. He made his preference known using a quiet and calm voice. I didn’t take it personally that he prefers their voice to my own, but I did proceed to turn up the volume to Beyoncé’s Single Ladies, Janis Joplin’s Piece of My Heart, then a few ballads by Elizabeth Mitchell (mamas-to-be and moms of newborns, you should definitely check her out).
Alone in a sea of grown and tiny men (and male dog), I had to find a female with whom I could identify.
But I realize it’s a little embarrassing that I still like “Conga” by Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine (circa 1985), so I’m taking suggestions for new rockin’ female singers this week.
Help a woman out.
Because sometimes there’s just too much testosterone at my house.