My daughter has always had a knack for eavesdropping and repeating anything and everything she hears. Toddlers are good at eavesdropping. They are quite stealth actually – there they sit, minding their own business, deep in play but all the while listening for any new word or catch phase they can use as their own. You go along with your conversation, taking note that the kids are minding you no attention what-so-ever – so you may drop a few swear words to make your point clear or describe the “idiot” who didn’t help you one bit at work. Needless to say, my daughter has been heard saying “did Sebastien shit his diapers again?” or “damn it” while dropping something not just once but several times. These are not phrases I am proud of but they are phrases of life so be it. I don’t think they will offend anyone too terribly.
Alas, there is one phrase that has stuck that I am afraid will offend someone and indeed it already has. My husband is always calling the tigers at the zoo “stuffed” as they rarely ever move and seem to be in the same lounging position no matter what season or time of day you go to view them. Maya picked up on this quite quickly and recently came home to say that the stuffed tigers were sleeping…again. Apparently she mentioned this aloud while watching said sleeping tigers and made the boy next to her cry. He apparently knew what “stuffed” meant and didn’t seem to find the humor in my husband’s animal description.
But there are good things that come from paying attention to the words swirling around you – they pick up on the good ones too. You will hear my daughter say “please” and “thank you” appropriately and willingly which makes my heart burst every time. Having good manners and respecting other people is on the top of my “to teach my children” list and I am happy to say that it is a lot easier than I had anticipated. Monkey see, monkey do.