Despite the fact that I have the mouth of a petite and beardless truck driver, I have been lucky in one thing: Jack rarely picks up on my swearing. There have been plenty of opportunities, believe me, especially with the swear words I tell myself are relatively harmless, like "crap" and "dammit." Perhaps he hears these words so frequently that they are no longer novel. Maybe he files them away with the other innocuous and banal words he has no use for, like "however" and "eventually."
Whatever the case, we've been lucky, and I'm grateful for it. But the other day, Jack did something unthinkable. He called Daddy "stupid."
John and I both froze. "We NEVER use that word," I told Jack firmly (I have a pretty scary pissed-off-mommy voice). "You apologize to Daddy right now." Jack's lower lip started to tremble and his eyes began to well with tears. He knew he was in trouble, but I'm not sure he knew why he was in trouble. Stupid is a tough concept for a three-year-old to grasp, I would guess, and I don't think he meant it literally. Still, I figured we'd better nip that one in the bud. Jack apologized to Daddy and promised to never say the word stupid again. He then proceeded to use it repeatedly, as in, "We don't say the word stupid." Le sigh.
After Jack had moved on to something else, John and I looked at each other. "Where did he learn that word?" John asked. "I have no idea," I answered, but I had my theories. "Probably from one of the many age-inappropriate movies we let him watch, like Lilo and Stitch or Cars." Yes, we told ourselves. It was our over liberal use of the television that was the problem. Blame Disney!
Yesterday, John took Jack to the dermatologist for what I suspect is a staph infection next to his mouth. I've seen these twice before and have a pretty good idea of what they look like, and I'd been treating it with the anti-bacterial cream we used on the last one. While it wasn't getting worse, it wasn't getting better, so we figured we'd better let a doctor look at it. John called me from the doctor's office to tell me that the dermatologist had declared it food-related allergies and to put him on a hypo-allergenic diet (which shouldn't include things like grapes, or coffee, because, you know, we were totally giving our three-year-old coffee).
When John got home I was livid. This was supposed to be the very best private clinic in town, and they diagnosed a localized rash on our kid's face as food allergies, then proceeded to recommend a specialized diet without doing allergy testing. Lo and behold, when I stopped using the anti-bacterial cream, the rash spread, so I'm pretty sure it IS a staph infection and the Russian cream isn't doing the trick. In my ranting to John, I uttered one very foolish sentence: "Seriously, are these people stupid?"
Jack's ears, which must have been tuned to the "stupid" channel, perked up instantly. "Mommy, you don't say the word stupid. You have to apologize to me and go on time out."
After apologizing profusely, putting myself on a time out, and offering a silent mea culpa to Disney, Jack forgave me and allowed me to return to the kitchen. Where he then proceeded to talk about how Mommy had said the word stupid, which is a very bad word indeed.