Welcome to my completely uncensored and random stream of thoughts which are probably not interesting at all – but you clearly have nothing else to do right now otherwise you wouldn't be here? So stay a while! xoxo
I’ve been watching my precious 2-year-old niece on and off for a few weeks. This experience has taught me that my language has gotten a little salty over the years. Thankfully, I’ve caught myself from saying anything TOO horrible, but I can’t actually promise that I’m not sending her home with a strong use of the word “Crap.” At least it’s not “Dammit!” So there’s that?
The whole concept of little kids with potty mouths – the direct result of hearing their parents spew obscenities – reminded me of my own children when they were young. A few classics significantly stand out – although let’s be real clear, there are probably way more. I have either just forgotten them, or more likely, blocked them out.
When my oldest, Abby, was around 3 years old, I had difficulty getting her to eat a variety of foods. (Note: she is now 14 and I STILL have this issue.) She is/was extremely picky and hard to please. Case in point: you know those little Gerber fruit bars? The ones that are so flimsy they break if you look directly at them? If I was to, dare say, present Abby with a broken bar, my sweet boo boo bear would lose her sh*t. Like, EPIC tantrum. There was no talking her down. And this was just when a bar, that she LOVED to eat, accidentally split in two. Same bar. Just in two. You with me? My husband Adam and I would get the worst case of nervous sweats when we realized we only had one bar left. Neither of us wanted to risk opening it for fear it would break. Being the last bar left us with no replacement, thus potentially angering the beast. Homeland style negotiations started immediately: “I’ll do the next 17 poopy diapers if you open the wrapper to the bar and give it to her.” I’m pretty sure my youngest Alex was conceived as the direct result of these negotiations. 🤷♀️
Y’all….That’s what I was dealing with, and to reemphasize, she actually LIKED the bar. So, eating a vegetable? Nope. Never going to happen. Then one day while I was watching the Today Show, they ran a segment on a cookbook for kids by Jessica Seinfeld. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? It’s titled Deceptively Delicious: Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food. Jessica tells the story of how her kids/friends’ kids would balk at healthy foods and how frustrating it was to them. She decided to figure out a way to hide the ‘healthy’ in foods she knew her kids would eat. I was intrigued. After the segment, I immediately ordered said book and, if I remember correctly, even paid for expedited shipping. This was way before Amazon Prime, but I was desperate! It worked for Jessica’s family and friends – surely it would work for my 3-year-old delightful priss pot!
As soon as the book came in, I furiously perused all the suggestions to get my child to eat something healthy without her ever knowing. The one recipe that stood out instantly was homemade chicken nuggets. Abby loved chicken nuggets. She ate the ones from Costco that were shaped like Mickey Mouse ears. She ate the ones from the grocery store that were shaped like dinosaurs. Whenever we went out to eat – nuggets were her automatic go to. Bingo!
Now Jessica’s (can I call her Jessica? Mrs. Seinfeld? Not sure what’s appropriate…) version of chicken nuggets involved chopping up spinach, almost to the point of liquid. Then you mixed the spinach fragments with the coating, and because it was so finely diced, the child would never notice it was there. Perfect plan.
So very naive on my part.
After making these little chick chicks from scratch I was ready to test them on my darling little blonde subject. Can I digress for a moment? You caught that word ‘scratch,’ right? I LOATHE cooking … and honestly, how many of you have actually made chicken nuggets from scratch!?! SCRATCH??? I dare say it’s not many. AND, the recipe states total prep time is 20 minutes. It took me close to 7 hours. 🙄😠. Anyhoo, once plated, I presented my daughter with dinner. She took one bite.
Abby then tilted her head slightly to the left and with a most innocent expression sweetly stated…
These chicken nuggets are f*cking pieces of sh*t.”
That expression, so eloquently delivered, was full of what we called “Daddy words.” So I called Daddy 😠😠😠, who happened to be out of town, to inform him of this abhorrent repeating of ‘the words.’ Adding insult to my injury, I did not get the response that I was wanting from him. Instead, he laughed and said, “Is it bad that I’m kind of proud that she strung it together correctly?”
Y’all. Please. He was REAL lucky to be out of town. REAL. Lucky.
I tried a nugget. Honestly – Abby was right. They were. They all went in the trash and I proceeded to pull out the Costo Mickey Mouse ears – sans spinach – and call it a night.
The next day, however, I had to take care of one little detail. When your precious baby starts using profanity – the chances of it being said at inopportune times are considerable. Abby was enrolled in a Mommy’s Day Out program at our local church. At morning drop off – anticipating what was to surely happen later that day, I felt I needed to give her teacher a heads up. I hesitantly told her what happened the night prior and that I was prepared for the awkward pickup where she had to tell me what horrible thing my child did at school that day. As parents, it’s one of our biggest fears at pick up….the teacher walks slowly towards you and presents the ‘look’. You know what’s coming next – and it’s never good. Anyway, I assured her if Abby chose to use poor judgement with her vocabulary – I was already aware, it was her father’s fault, and she didn’t need to be embarrassed to mention it to me.
At 2:00 pm I went to pick Abby up from school. Cautiously trying to read any non verbal cues from her teacher, I summoned up the strength and nervously asked how the day went.
“Um…..Any incidents that I need to know about?” Her teacher looked at me and started laughing and added, “No! None! And I was so disappointed. I wanted to hear her say it so I kept asking her questions all day long about how dinner was last night… what did mommy cook… if she liked it… what was her favorite thing to eat…” You get the idea.
I told the teacher she was going to hell. Lol.
For the record, Abby has never said that phrase again. At least not within earshot.
But in case you are curious and haven’t heard of Jessica’s (I’m just going to stick with calling her Jessica) book, I am including the actual recipe for the chicken nuggets at the end of this post. Go ahead. Give it a try. Especially if you have a toddler. 😉
First off, this story has nothing to do with Britney. Sorry. But you’ll see what I did here in about 90 seconds. I’d also like to preface this story with an anecdote a former boss once told me. She introduced me to the phrase “Parent Fails.” We’ve all had them. We’re not perfect and there’s no specific way to parent children. Are there guidelines? Sure. But she went on to tell me that when one of these ‘parent fails’ occurred (i.e., forgetting to put money on your kid’s lunch card – thus the accidental embarrassment in front of friends when he/she is stuck with the sad pitiful cheese sandwich) she would jokingly tell them, “There will be a time in your adult life when you are in therapy. When you and your therapist get to this story in your childhood, let me know and I’ll pay for that session. It’s on me.” 😉 Using a page out of that book, I’ve said to my own daughters (although I’ve shortened the phrase because they’ve heard the full version ad nauseam) “That session’s on me” and they know it’s my way of taking ownership for not shining my best mom light. What happened next is something that I have repeatedly told my oldest that if/when she is ever in therapy – I’m 100% paying for that session.
It was a gorgeous spring day in Texas. We have a very narrow window of beautiful spring sunshine compared to scorching summer sunshine. On days like these people will take off from work early just to go sit on a patio and enjoy the weather. The number of neighbors outside walking their dogs increases exponentially. School age children ride their bikes to school with glee. It’s fantastically idyllic. On this particular day of running errands, my daughter Abby, still 3, had rolled down her window to enjoy the warm sunshine. Absolute bliss. She used to do this cute little act when the window was down where she would talk to all the bugs outside and say, “Come on in, bugs! My window is open! Everybody’s welcome.” It was adorable. So I was used to her little conversations in the back. After her personal invitation to all the insects had finished, she got quiet as we drove past a stretch of sidewalk that we visited daily on our afternoon spring walks.
Then it happened.
Without warning, at the top of her voice, my little angel screamed out the window:
It is no exaggeration when I say I almost wrecked the car. The velocity of speed in my neck turn to face her was off the charts. And in my memory I see the immediate condemnation of what she had just said in slow motion. At the top of my voice, without pause, I screamed (hence the caps):
“WHAT ON EARTH DID YOU JUST SAY!?!?! YOU ARE NEVER ALLOWED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE TO USE THAT WORD IN CONVERSATION MUCH LESS YELL IT AT A PERSON ON THE SIDEWALK. WHERE DID YOU HEAR THIS? DID YOUR DADDY SAY THIS WORD? WAS IT A KID AT SCHOOL? YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT GROUNDED MEANS BUT YOU ARE NOW OFFICIALLY GROUNDED. AT THREE YEARS OLD!!! YOU CANNOT BEGIN TO IMAGINE HOW EXTREMELY UPSET AND THOROUGHLY DISAPPOINTED I AM. THIS. IS. NOT. OKAY. I WILL NOT HAVE A DAUGHTER THAT USES BAD WORDS. I HOPE YOU ARE SORRY AND THAT YOU FEEL REALLY REALLY BAD ABOUT WHAT YOU SAID.”
In my defense, I must note that this incident was not too far behind the now infamous chicken nugget event – so I may have been a little sensitive to the subject at hand and may, just MAY, have overreacted.
Anyhoo, I continued to drive while simultaneously trying to calm myself down and figure out what to do next. Yes, I yelled. I get it. I lost my shit. It was ugly and I immediately felt horrible about the thundering tone of my voice. But my impressionable little sponge of a 3-year-old also said something that was not appropriate. It had to be addressed.
I looked back at Abby sitting in her car seat. Her white blonde hair was blowing across her face. Her mouth was turned upside down with a slight quiver in her chin and I could tell she was trying her best not to cry. It tore my heart in pieces seeing her like that. Parenting, especially disciplining, can be hard.
Wait for it….
After a few silent minutes, in a heartbroken tiny voice Abby finally spoke.
“Mommy, I’m very very sorry (sniff sniff)… But when did bench become a bad word?”
Remember that sidewalk I mentioned that Abby and I would frequent on our daily spring walks? Guess what we also always did? Yep, take a break, watch cars pass by and wave at their occupants whilst SITTING ON A BENCH. If it is possible to literally die while not dying – I did. Died. Died. Died. I chewed the ass of a little 3-year-old muffin that had done nothing wrong, had only lovingly said goodbye to the precious bench she loved to sit on every day. IF there was ever a contest for Worst Parent – this Parent Fail would have been my talent portion. I would, for sure, have won unanimously. Clearly, year 3 was a banner year for us. 😳🙄
I can’t even. Again, when she gets there – I’m paying for that session.
This one is short and sweet – but I would be remiss to leave out my youngest one. I like to spread my Parent Fails equally. Let’s just say this though…if you are a Kindergarten teacher working on ending blends while a group of visitors involving community members, parents, and the superintendent walks in, perhaps something other than ‘-it’ should be your example. Even if you are expecting responses such as “hit” or “sit” or “bit” – leave it to my little butter bean to raise her hand and boldly bust out with “sh*t.”
I believe after the adults quit laughing, either her teacher or the superintendent said, “And that’s a teacher’s kid.” 😳😳😳
Always the voice of reason, my husband just stated, “Thank God the lesson wasn’t on ‘-uck.”
So parents, if I could leave you with one thing, it’s this: don’t beat yourself up over those fails. We all make f*cking mistakes. So just watch your d*mn mouth and go hug your little a**holes!