Thursday, February 2, 2012

Role Models

Do as I say, not as I do. 
That really should be the motto of my household.  Some things are harmless.  Like, telling the kids they have to sit at the table to eat while I cannot remember my last meal that wasn’t consumed in front of the TV.  Other things, however…
I routinely surround my children with my loud, obnoxious, inappropriate (but lovable) family.  Everyone yells, everyone swears, everyone fights.  We don’t have to look far to see where I picked up my questionable habits.
I have an awful mouth.  Like, a really bad one.  I’ve had it my whole life.  You’d think that being the primary caretaker for two impressionable young children would motivate me to alter my behavior. 
It hasn’t.
One day Carter told he needed our dog Toby to get away from him.  When I asked him why he said, “Cause he’s a pain in the ass.”  Oh, ok then.  I wanted to tell him that we don't use that word, but can I really discipline him when I completely agree with his assessment of the situation?  
I really like when the phrases he picks up from me are accompanied by gestures.  It’s a nice little surprise.   We like to play charades and on Carter’s turn he started acting out holding a steering wheel.  All of a sudden he yelled "What the hell!" put his hands up for a second then went right back to driving.
Ummm...apparently I have to get my road rage in check.
Now, I know exactly where phrases like “pain in the ass” come from.  I say that on a pretty regular basis.  (Save your judgment until you have two kids, two dogs and a husband who are all huge pains in the ass!)  I own up to what he got from me.  Sometimes, though, I have absolutely no idea where he picks stuff up.
"Mama, can I say weird?"
"Yeah, Cart, I think that's an ok word to use. Like, how do you want to use it?"
I’m thinking he wants to say Grant is weird, these peas taste weird, that dude on TV is weird looking…stuff like that.  So imagine my surprise when he answered with:
"Like, that's some weird fucking crap."
Whaaaaaat???  Um, what? Some weird fucking crap?  I don’t think I’ve ever said that in my life.  Also, you think weird is the bad word in that sentence?  We have some work to do.
Phrases are not the only things that he picks up from his parents/babysitters.  Actions sometimes speak louder than words…unfortunately.
Recently Carter has taken to telling people that he’s gonna hug them “like Auntie Shelly”. 
That might sound really innocent…unless you know Auntie Shelly.  She is the least gentle person that has ever walked the face of the earth.  She can often be found telling people that she’s going to “squeeze the shit out of them”.  That’s how she expresses affection…and yes, I use her for childcare on a regular basis.  
So you can understand why both Mike and I jumped to intervene the night Carter told his great-grandmother the he was going to hug her like Auntie Shelly.  It was like one of those slow motion lunging scenes from the movies, with both of us yelling “Noooooooo!!” as we tried to stop him. We didn’t want him sent to a juvenile detention center for accidentally collapsing Oma’s lungs. 
The other inmates will wonder about the new kid till one day someone will nervously say “Oh him? That’s Carter.  Steer clear of that guy. He’ll hug ya, man.  He’ll hug ya like Auntie Shelly!”
It makes sense when he repeats behavior that he’s seen.  But it baffles us when he comes up with behavior that we are relatively sure he’s never witnessed.
One Sunday afternoon I’m in the kitchen when my husband walks in with an odd look on his face:
Mike: "Do you shoplift from Shaw's?"
Me: "What? NO! Why?"
Mike: "Cause I'm playing with Carter and he told me the game we're playing is called 'I didn't pay for my food at Shaw's and now I have to run away'..."
Of course I laughed.  What three year old plays games involving felonies?  Mine of course. 
Now THAT is some weird fucking crap!

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