I Have Sacrificed One Out-of-the-Blanket Leg to the Monsters, But the Rest of Me is Completely Under the Covers
Has anyone else’s kid ever described a nightmare so well that it’s left you awake for hours after?
Because I’m not going to lie - Dictator’s description of “the angry girl under the dining room table” has definitely left me laying here picturing the girl from The Sixth Sense who pushes the videotape towards Haley Joel Osment’s character, telling myself I don’t have to pee so I won’t have to walk through the dining room on my way to the bathroom.
“You swear around your kid? No wonder she's a "sassy" brat.”
There’s the judgmental anon I know and love!
Yes, I do swear around Dictator. Not excessively, but swear words are definitely part of my vernacular (and the Husband’s), so she hears a ripe word or two now and then.
But you know what? My kid does not swear. I doubt she’d really heard the word “asshole” until last night, and she was just trying it out, just like she’s tried out “fuck” and “shit” before. And every time, we tell her that those are grownup words and that she can use them when she’s a grownup.
She knows that coffee is for grownups, alcohol is for grownups, driving is for grownups, hookers are for grownups, etc., and she seems to accept that. When that changes, we’ll deal with it according to the situation at that time.
Kids need to know that certain things are off-limits simply because they’re kids, and we don’t shelter her from “bad” things - we want her to be exposed to them so that we can explain them appropriately.
Besides, it’s a bloody swear word. Who cares? That’s certainly not the parenting hill I’m going to die on.
I must be a horrible mother because all I can think of is how I can’t WAIT until my kid can go to camp. Preferably sleep away camp. For 8 weeks. (But maybe it’s because I have a wild 2 year old dude who never stops tearing shit up.)
Oh, I totally reserve the right to whine on both sides of this particular fence. I am equal parts “please stop growing up!” and “where do I sign you up for more things so I can drink my coffee in peace and quiet?”.
Also: At two, I’d have invested good money in an 8-week sleepaway camp for Dictator. At four, she’s proving to be a much more reasonable (and therefore fun) person.
Dictator has this habit of putting her hands on my breasts. Just… putting her hands on them and holding them there. She doesn’t do it as often as she used to, but every time she does, we have a little talk about the private parts of our bodies, yadda yadda.
Today, she was sitting on my lap, and put one of her hands on my boob. I gave the usual speech, ending with “…this is my private area, and it’s only for me to touch.”
It’s an important lesson, but let me tell you: This is a difficult speech to make with a straight face when your husband is standing behind your child, pointing at himself, making honking gestures with his hands, and mouthing, “me! I get to touch them, too!”
My in-laws have a pool, and because Dictator often pulls the “ohmygodIhavetopeerightthissecond” card when she’s doing anything fun (especially when she’s swimming), we’ve been letting her pee in a weedy corner of the yard so as to minimize accidents and the amount of water tracked into the house. No muss, no fuss, just drop trou and pee.
I love the Katie Makkai quote that’s making the rounds again:
“This is about my own someday daughter, when you approach me already stung stained with insecurity begging, ‘Mom, will I be pretty?’… I will wipe that question from your mouth like cheap lipstick and answer, ‘No! The word pretty is unworthy of everything you will be and no child of mine will be contained in five letters. You will be pretty intelligent, pretty creative, pretty amazing, but you will never be merely pretty.’ ”
If you haven’t seen her perform, please take a few minutes and watch this. Her already powerful words are so much more incredible in her own voice.