This story is about six-year-old Elli, my eldest daughter, and the naughty word she learned and my inability to cope. It isn’t necessarily a recent story since Elli is now seven-years-old. It’s still a good one.
I have always heard that when your child says their first bad word not to laugh so they won’t repeat their new hilarious joke, although, I have never heard what you’re actually supposed to do. What’s the rule? I thought I had more time to prepare for this! I obviously don’t know what I’m doing.
Zack hears her say it the first time. She casually asks him, “What the hell is going on?” As if she’s just making idle conversation.
“Uhh, what did you just say?”
“I said ‘What the hell is going on, Daddy?”
Strike number 1 for you, Zack. He just sits there trying his hardest not to laugh. Typical dad response, I’m sure. Did I mention that he’s weirdly proud of her? I don’t get that. Which is probably a typical mom response.
A few days later on a windy day, a plastic bag flies into our back yard. There Elli sits at the window watching it blow around with a look of stern disapproval on her face. She turns to me and demands, “Mommy. What the hell is this trash doing in our back yard.” Another “what did you just say?” from me and another “I saaaaaid ‘what the hell…'” Strike 2 is on me. I don’t know what to do so I just stare with an open mouth for a good minute or so until the plastic bag is all but forgotten. I definitely don’t handle it very well, do I?
Quite some time passes by, so much so that I’m hoping that the word is a lost, never to plague our household again. Until the day Elli gets a present in the mail from her great grandma. It’s a Spirograph and as we take it out of the box and put it together, she gets to looking at it with her eyebrows knit tightly together on her forehead. Then, as one eyebrow begins rising slowly upward, she says to no one in particular, “What the hell is this thing?”
I freeze. This is it – my moment to be a mother and finally address the issue here and now. I stare at her. She stares back waiting for my answer,unbeknownst of the foul phrase that just escaped her lips.
I take a deep breath as I prepare to let her know the truth about the terrible situation we are facing.
Here I go…
“This is called a Spirograph, darling.”
I drop the ball. No. I didn’t just drop it, I threw it so far in the opposite direction that there’s no way I can pick it back up and recover now.
The kids all nod at the new information I have given them and continue examining the Spirograph, all while I sit here feeling like I seriously don’t have any clue what I’m doing as a mom.
Another strike for me.
And that’s it. That’s the story of how I continually allowed Elli to unknowingly curse. Are you wondering if I ever did the right thing and talk to my daughter? We did, thank goodness, finally address it because it was only a matter of time before she said it in front of our pastor or one of her grandparents. What a lovely encounter that would’ve been too.
Until my next post!