Our child finally made it to a key milestone. It’s the moment every parent awaits breathlessly, keeping their eyes and ears open, hoping they’ll be around when it happens. And when it finally does, you wipe away tears because you’re suffocating on your own laughter, and will likely pop a vein in your head trying to do the “disappointed parent” face simultaneously.
Our spawn dropped the F-bomb.When my parents-in-law were babysitting her.
While my sister-in-law was on Skype.
The only way it could have gotten worse is if she had said it to the Pope. On a microphone. In a funeral hall.
The moment we heard about it, I yelled at my husband for being so callous with his stupid language and watching the f-ing John Oliver show when she’s around. But then the next morning I walked straight into the TV table and before I could stop myself, I said it. Out loud. Not in my head like all bad nuns and good parents do. With the spawn sitting on her toy plane right in front of me, munching on a piece of apple, eyes wide like two big saucers between two ponytails. And then she repeated it in her tiny, impish voice and it sounded like it was a code word for soft, squishy bunnies.
This goes to show you why having children sucks. You can’t let your favourite cuss words roll off your tongue effortlessly, like a bubbling brook. And you can’t watch John Oliver any time you want. So f-ing hard.
But on a much less important note, it also goes to show you how impressionable children are. They absorb what you say. They drink up what you do. I never realized the nuances of my own language till my daughter started talking.
Father: “I better not see your toys lying around anymore.”
Spawn: “Seriously duuude?!”
Father: “I think it’s time to take a shower”.
Spawn: “Are you kiDDin’ me?!”
Spawn: “I wanna watch Dola”.
Me (smiling): “You wanna watch DOLAAAA???”
The spawn: “Mama, don’t be nocshus.”
Apparently I call my husband “obnoxious” very frequently.
It is almost impossible to ask your children to be who you aren’t. If you don’t walk it, talk it or text it, they are not going to be it. Having a child is like walking next to a tiny, full sized mirror at all times. They show you your best assets and your biggest flaws. And you specially hate them when they point out your one white hair. And the rogue booger in your nose.
I never realized this but having a child is as much learning about them and teaching them, as it is learning about yourself. They are times when my daughter is frustrated and I see my own anger in her anger. I hear her use the phrases I do when I am impatient. I hear her use the same tone with me that I do with her when I am upset. And it’s humbling.
I f-ing hate mirrors.
And while my daughter has inherited my strengths, like my love of music, photography and nature, I am not particularly ecstatic when I see my darkest shades in her. These are things she didn’t come pre-packaged with. These are things she learnt from me.
For the spawn’s second birthday, we took her to the Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto. In one area, there is a glass tunnel surrounded by fish that kids can walk through. The spawn is particularly risk-averse and cautious (she does have two accountants for parents so that’s hardly her fault). Surprisingly though, she decided to run through the tunnel without us coercing or threatening her and had a ball doing so.
Then a little girl’s mom came up to me to ask if the spawn could hold her daughter’s hand and lead her through the tunnel because her child was scared. My daughter was a notoriously reserved child at that age. As a baby, she would have a violent reaction to strangers in the mall coo-ing at her. Even with playmates her age, she still takes her sweet ass time warming up to them.
So as I was fumbling through words trying to explain to the mom that my child will likely slap away her child’s hand and hiss back at her, I saw my daughter gently take the other child’s hand and lead her through the tunnel, not letting go till they both appeared at the other end, smiling ear-to-ear.
Here are a few reasons why this was a big deal. 1) the spawn hates new people almost as much as I do 2) she doesn’t like holding people’s hands, hugs or any other form of human affection 3) she did talk in sentences at that age but the comprehension of this entire situation, without me having to explain it to her was remarkable d) we had somehow managed to raise a sympathetic, kind child who hadn’t inherited our douche-baggery.
I looked at her fuzzy image through the glass tunnel and thought to myself “God, we taught her that”. In just two years of her life, we had somehow, through our actions, taught her kindness. How did she learn it? What did we do specifically that taught her to treat people with compassion? Was it that one time I was nice to my husband last year? That has to be it.
It was her birthday but it was the best gift to us as a reaffirmation of our parenting. We are f-ing great at this.
For the time being, no more watching Game of Thrones when she is awake. Just kidding. We’ll put noise-canceling headphones on her first.