Potty Mouth

You’d think we lived in a nudist colony…

…because my children hate clothes with the fire of a thousand suns.

The moment they come home the clothes are left in a heap on the floor and they run and dance, in the buff, around the house. Peanut even does science experiments au natural.

The nudity low point may have been when I had to photoshop clothes onto Peanut in order to be able to blog about this.

What is new, however, is Peanut’s sense of modesty when someone comes to the door. Or so I learned one day a few weeks ago.

I wasn’t surprised when Peanut was wearing nothing but a smile that day after school. We were dancing in the kitchen when I heard the front door open. I knew it was my husband; Peanut didn’t. Assuming it was a stranger about to see her naked, Peanut’s eyes widened in fear as she spun on her heel and ran out of the kitchen yelling,

Shit!  Shit!  Shit!”

My husband heard the whole thing and saw our five year old streak across the hallway into the privacy of her playroom. He walked into the kitchen and said, “Did she just say what I think she just said?”

It was one of those moments that you know is coming but still happens when you least expect it. 

With my potty mouth, I knew the day was coming when one of the kids would pick up one of the, uh, less desirable words in my vocabulary.  And here it was. I walked into the playroom, passing my husband and his smug I-told-you-this-would-happen look on the way. I asked Peanut to sit down with me so we could talk.

Me: I heard you yell something as you ran into the playroom.  What word were you saying?

Her:  I was saying Shit!  SHIT!  SHIIITTT!!!!

Me: Huh.  And what does that word mean to you, Peanut?

Her: I don’t know.  I just hear you say it all the time when something bad happens.

Me: ….

<this is the moment when I realize that this whole situation really is all my damn fault.  Whoops?  There I go again.>

Me:  Peanut, honey, let’s talk about that word.  That word is a bad word for poop.  Sometimes people use bad words, even Mommy, but it really isn’t a good choice.  It makes your mouth sound dirty.

Peanut:  Oh.  So shit is a bad word?

Me:  Yes. Sometimes it’s fun to say bad words but you can get in trouble for saying them to grown ups or at school.  We probably shouldn’t use that word anymore.  But let’s say it ten times before we put that word away.  Ok?

Peanut: Ok.

Me and Peanut at a whisper:  shit  shit shit <peals of giggles from Peanut>

(louder now):  SHIT.  SHIT.  SHIT.

(chanted at a full yell):  SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!

(the grand finale):  SSSSSSHHHHHHIIIIIIIITTTTTT!!!!!!!

<Enter husband looking less-than-amused and completely disarmed.>

Me:  I’ve got this, honey.  We’ll be right out.

Husband: <Shaking his head as he closes the door>

Me:  So Peanut, can you help me remember that that word is a bad word?

Peanut: Sure.  But what happens if you say that word?

Me:  Tell you what.  If you hear me say that word, I will put a quarter in our coin jar.  Sound good?

Peanut:  Sure.

 

Aaaaaaaaaaaand scene.

 

She's got a voice and a lot to say.

I have no idea if I did the right thing here.  My goal was to disarm the word of its power while still explaining that Peanut will be reprimanded for using bad language in the real world (whether or not its allowed in our house).

Since then, I haven’t heard Peanut use that word once.  I have seen her take in a shocked breath when she hears grown ups out and about say it.  Then she looks at me wide-eyed and soundlessly mouths “They just said a baaaad word!”  We laugh about it and move on.

Words can be used to hurt or to heal.  Our turn of phrase can connect us with others or sever ties.  The lesson I want my children to learn is that choosing our words is important.  But the words themselves don’t have power; it’s the way we use them that matters.

Oh and the other lesson?  I’m going to be running out of quarters.  Any day now.

Shit.

..

——————————-

Your comments are better than a well-place expletive.

Please leave one below!

——————————

.

24 comments
Tara
Tara

I love how you handled this!

Skwishee
Skwishee

I think you did a fabulous job. I think that it does kids good to see that parents can be less than perfect too, and even better when they see us try and fix it. I'm not the one with the potty mouth - it's MY mum that I have to watch out for. The first time Beege said "shit", it was after a sleepover at Grandma's ;)

Jamie
Jamie

hehehe this had me giggling. You did the right thing i think, handled it beautifully! Setting a good precedent for all the other 4 letter words to come

Missy | Literal Mom
Missy | Literal Mom

Shit. I loved the way you handled this shit. It may or may not work, but you gave it the old college try. :) I now have my oldest point out to my youngest "Mom just said shit" when I say shit. Now that's some detterance! (How do you spell deterrance?)

Linda
Linda

I only wish that was the low point . I have done much worse.

Linda
Linda

You made me laugh out loud. We were riding in the car one day - I have a "potty" mouth - my husband does not . Two kids in the car seat - my one year old screaming in hers - my 2 and a half year old in his. Looks over at her and says "GOD DAM IT REBECCA SHUT UP" husband just looks over at me :(

Eve
Eve

Dude you dealt with this like a freaking pro! So, when is your parenting book coming out? I'll be first in line.

The Woven Moments
The Woven Moments

My parenting book will come out right after YOUR cookbook, my friend. ;)

Leslie Shakespeare
Leslie Shakespeare

This is so awesome. Really wish I had been so creative while I had the chance years ago!!

Shannon Coleman
Shannon Coleman

First let me say that Peanut was fully clothed and no potty language when I came over. Second, if shit is the worst word H picks up from me then a miracle has occurred. My thought is that I am saving for psychiatry not college. At least neither of us will blame the other for what our kids say :-)

The Woven Moments
The Woven Moments

I will never hold you accountable for H's language. You have my word, friend.

Kelly O'Sullivan (HILWD)
Kelly O'Sullivan (HILWD)

Fabulous post. First, the first question out of my young son's mouth when he gets up in the morning is "Are we going anywhere?" which is his way of determining not WHAT to wear but determining if he need get dressed at all. Pants are always optional in his world, though we have convinced him they are a necessity when we leave the house. Second, I think you handled the language discussion beautifully.

The Woven Moments
The Woven Moments

I figure the "clothing optional" approach while we are at home instills body awareness and confidence. At least, that's what I tell myself when my girls dance naked to Lady Gaga in the kitchen. :)

hollow tree ventures
hollow tree ventures

Bravo! There's no way on Earth I'd have thought of dealing with it that way, but I think that's perfect! I laughed so hard at you two chanting it together, too. :)

The Woven Moments
The Woven Moments

It was only in the retelling of this story (to 2 work friends) that I realized this story was even blogworthy. I'm fumbling through this parenting gig, one obscenity at a time!

Reno
Reno

I'm not sure how you figured out the best way to handle difficult parenting situations. Was this a Cosby show I missed? Is there a book called parenting for ninjas? Lord knows your solution is better than the wash her mouth out with soap bit. Happy F***ing Monday :)

The Woven Moments
The Woven Moments

I've just spent 15 minutes wondering which Cosby characters my kids would be. Pumpkin would DEFINITELY be Rudy. Those two may be sisters of another mother. I think Peanut would be the oldest one (you know the hippy who started "Different World"). Was that Vanessa? Oh and Brian? Definitely Cosby. Have you seen his dance moves? ;)

Amy B.
Amy B.

Love this! My oldest son used a phrase in school the other day that contained a REALLY bad word. I love your solution to it, I may have to use it. Especially since I am usually the guilty party. (I couldn't do the swear jam, I would totally be broke!)

The Woven Moments
The Woven Moments

Methinks I"m going to be very very broke too. And I'll probably swear about it. Lol.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Oh sh*t, the baby feels warm.  Maybe it’s not really a fever and she will wake up okay… [...]