Kids are like sponges. From the minute they emerge from the womb they are taking in the world around them. Memorizing important things and trying to mimic behaviors they observe. I constantly check myself to make sure I am teaching non-terrible things that if brought out in public, would not make me cringe.
Kids listen to what you say. I am convinced that they don’t even have to be awake to hear things. If you don’t believe me, try to open a bag of chips while they are all asleep on a long car ride. One of my kids smelled a Snickers from the back of a minivan and woke out of a near-coma. Drool flicked off her lip as she said with bleary eyes, “What’s that smell? Is it chocolate?” How do they do that? I couldn’t even smell it yet and it was in my hand.
The tape recorder is always running in that little brain. Recording everything for playback later. Then they will pull it out when you least expect it.
Most things they do as babies are adorable. They stumble around like little drunken otters and do “human” things with their hands. When Jane was around two years old she would watch Supermom get ready in the morning. Every day she would stand in the doorway to the bathroom and just watch the routine. Hair, makeup, purse, jewelry, and go.
One morning we were all getting ready to spend the day out and about. Jane had been dressed by Supermom and her hair was up in bows. (She got the word hair-bow mixed around and called them “ho-bears” instead.) Jane had disappear to her room while Supermom worked to get herself ready. A few minutes later, Jane emerges from her room with a purse over her shoulder, a bracelet on her wrist and was running her fingers through her hair. She walks up to Supermom and says, “I ready to go. I got my purse. I got my ho-bear.” She touches one hand to her purse and one to her hair and smiles. It was really adorable and we realized just how observant she had been the whole time.
On another day we learned a different lesson about what kids will emulate. Our household is always an affectionate place. We believe in hugs and kisses and saying “I Love You” as normal everyday things to do. Apparently, I have other affectionate habits towards my wife that are more routine than I realized.
Supermom and I are in the kitchen with Jane and we are cleaning. I am at the sink. Jane is standing in the floor behind me and Supermom is to my left, loading the dishwasher. I rinse off a spoon and hand it to Supermom who bends over to place the spoon in the bottom rack. Anticipating my next move, Jane steps up and slaps her mother’s butt cheek with an open palm and says, “Wooo”.
Great. I have turned my child into a drunken businessman at a strip club. I hoped against hope that she wouldn’t smack her teacher’s ass in Sunday school or some random person looking for a candy bar on the bottom shelf in the grocery store.
Luckily there have been no reports to date but who knows?
If you accidentally teach your kid inappropriate things or you burp and they say “Nice one dad”, then this article is for you. You’re welcome.
-Underdaddy to the rescue.