Sunday, June 04, 2006

Why I'm a bad mom, part 1

I don't have any other parts planned, I just figure it's probably safer to leave this open-ended.

Okay, here's my big confession:

After watching Shrek II I don't know how many hundred million times, I thought it would be funny to teach my son Nicolas that the correct, polite thing to say after you burp is "Better out than in I always say, eh Fiona?"

Because that's what Shrek says, and Shrek's a great guy, isn't he?

Nico, always eager to please, dutifully learned this polite formula and impressed me by remembering to say it every time.

Unfortunately, Nico one day got wise to the fact that there was something fishy about what I'd taught him here and stopped doing it. I think the kids at school clued him in. It kind of annoys me that school would be undermining the lessons I'm carefully teaching him at home, but I guess every parent has to deal with that.

I figure that given my parenting skill level, I need to focus on the fundamentals like training the little guys not to bite each other or run out into the street rather than worrying about all the correct details of social convention. As my sister (who's really good at this whole mothering thing) likes to say "You choose your battles." (This isn't my glamorous Mormon diva sister, it's my other cool Mormon sister.)

Of course I've gotten some flack for my unorthodox parenting style, but I can take it. Actually, it wouldn't be that bad if it were just random people making snide comments instead of having to listen to my own husband saying things like "Sweetheart, you really shouldn't encourage him to say friggin'."

But it's just so cute when he says "Mommy, I can't find the friggin' thing." So I don't see how I could possibly answer anything other than "Okay, I'll help you find the friggin' thing."

Okay, maybe if I tried a little bit I might succeed, but I can't be totally sure about it.

Probably the worst was when I taught Nico to say "goddammit!"

This was back when I was unemployed -- with no job prospects on the horizon -- and I was at home nursing my baby Leo and busily writing a Java programming book that I was terrified would never find a publisher. Of course in the end I got my Java book published and found a job, but at the time I didn't know I would. So I feel like I had a perfectly good excuse for saying bad words and, y'know, teaching them to my then-two-year-old son and everything. That and he was so friggin' cute saying "goddammit!"

So now you know this dirty little secret.

Digging myself deeper with a lame attempt at justification, I'll have you all know that I can't possibly be the only one providing a bad example for Nico here because his skills at swearing in French are too advanced for him to have learned it from me.

And in reality, despite all the effort we've put into instructing him, he almost never uses naughty words in daily life. He'll have fun with a new one for a week or so after he learns it, then he'll get bored of it and stop saying it.

Maybe I should try freaking out and punishing him when he says a bad word. That might get him to put more effort into it.

12 comments:

Sideon said...

You and your family are abso-friggin'-lutely awesome.

Rebecca said...

SO great! You're totally my kind of mom. I feel deep, deep sadness knowing that, as a nanny, I can't employ all the funny (in MY opinion) life-lessons I would teach if I were the mom instead of the paid caregiver. For example, I can't, for my own enjoyment, put the kids' clothes on backwards and send them to school. SO unfair.

Tom C said...

You're a terrible mom. Shame shame shame. :-)

Now, onto more important things: tell me where to send the revised intro thingey to. I can't find an email addy for you anywhere.

merci`
T

Denise in Las Vegas said...

Reminds me of when I had my son saying chicken "boobs" instead of "breasts".

My favorite easy dinner was baked chicken boobs.

C.L. Hanson said...

Thanks Sideon!!! :D

Hey Rebecca!!! It's true, life is unfair... ;-)

Hey Tom thanks!!! you can email me at chanson dot exmormon at gmail dot com or just reply to one of the emails I've sent you... ;-)

LOL, Denise!!! I'll have to use that one... :D

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

WOW.. Would you be my MOM???

Matt Elggren said...

C.L., you're exactly right. By the same argument, you could send your kids off to Utah ever summer just to make sure they are never tempted to become Mormons, or join any mind-control project for that matter.

Of course, you would have to prep them with lots of fawning over how fantastic the Mormons are, and how absolutley unbearable (even inhumane and unjust) it would be to have the earthly mission of growing-up in a non-Mormon family.

C.L. Hanson said...

LOL, Cynthia!!! I'd love to help you out, but it may be a little late... ;-)

Hey Matt!!! It's true, from my LDS upbringing I've learned the importance of adversity, so I'm carefully making sure to provide some to my sweet little boys... ;-)

Actually, my parents have offered extended babysitting for my kids for any trips we want to take, which I sincerely think is very generous of them.

I'm tempted to tell Mom and Sis that when they're babysitting for me they can take my kids to Mormon church if it's inconvenient to do otherwise. I hate to repay kindness with badness, but I can't help but secretly chuckle to myself at the though of them trying to get my badly-raised little hellians to sit still through three hours worth of church... ;-)

Cynthia E. Bagley said...

oh yea... My nephew Troy (who is supposed to be a good Mormon kid) is a hellion in Sacrament meeting. I guess when he was two, he walked up to the sacrament table and ate the bread while it was being blessed. LMAO

Makurosu said...

I feel a little better now. I've felt guilty ever since teaching my son to say "goddammit," though it wasn't intentional. It's just that I'm the only one who says that, and when he threw his wooden trains on the floor one day and said it, everybody looked at me. He is really cute when he says it. He's mastered the rhythm. Anyway, thanks for the moral support.. erm.. immoral support.. erm.. goddammit.

Sister Mary Lisa said...

We like to say to our kids when they belch really loud "Nice push!"

My daughter could swear in context when she was 2. Easily. Sigh. It was when she walked by me in the living room one day and said, "Move this f*@king ball" while kicking it, that I knew we'd better get it under more control.

C.L. Hanson said...

Hey Sister Mary Lisa!!!

Sounds like you've got a similar system. ;-)

makurosu too!!! :D