I realize the title of this post may sound quite serious, but I assure you this isn't a post about sharing or breastfeeding or moms wearing bathing suits in public. It's about the obnoxious things kids say and then pass on to another kid, all at the expense of my sanity. I've been pretty lucky on this front, I guess, since Jack's social interaction has been fairly limited. But last week after swim camp, he came back with a few, shall we say, bad habits, things I know he didn't pick up from me (I already blame myself for plenty of other annoying and inappropriate things Jack says). Here, in no particular order, are some of the phrases I wish we could all agree to banish from preschooler vocabulary forever:
1) It's not fair!
This one makes me absolutely insane. From the way Jack uses it, I can tell he has no clue what "fair" means. Like I offer to take him to the park if he cleans up his toys and he whines, "It's not fair!" You know what's not fair, kid? That there are hundreds of over-priced, brightly-colored plastic pieces strewn carelessly across the floor and I have to BRIBE you to clean up your mess. No middle class kid in America who isn't being abused in some way really has a right to claim that anything in their life is "unfair." Where does this one come from, anyway? Who started this? What makes a four-year-old think he has any right to claim injustice when he is being fed, clothed, and sheltered by loving parents? Every time I hear it an 80-year-old man's voice pipes up in my brain: "Shut your trap, whippersnapper. Life ain't fair."
2) I'm telling on you!
Jack picked this one up at camp from some little girl named Zoe. If I ever meet Zoe in a dark alley, she better run as fast as her pre-K legs can carry her. I can still hear the way kids in elementary school used to say this when I was little: "Ooooooh, I'm tellin' on yoooouuuuu!" Uuuuuggghhhhhh. Look, I get it - we all want our kids to tell a grown-up if something bad has happened. But can't we just teach children to say, "I think we could resolve this in a more productive manner if a grown-up were involved"? Or at the very least, just walk away and get a teacher without the whole I'm-telling-on-you thing? The 80-year-old man is back, and this time he's saying, "No one likes a tattletale!"
3) Anything related to butts.
We have managed to avoid potty humor in our house up until now, but someone at camp must have given Jack the impression that this kind of talk is funny, because now any time someone says "poop" or "butt," he laughs. A fake, obnoxious, little boy laugh that drives me crazy. It's times like these that I realize how unequipped I feel to raise boys. Give me a PMSing 13-year-old girl any day. At least I can relate to that! Potty humor? I don't get it. (But the 80-year-old man in my brain is giggling. Apparently he appreciates this kind of thing.)
Look, my kid is no angel, and I'm nowhere near a perfect parent. I'm sure Jack has taught other kids some annoying things, and I'm sure The LEGO Movie is responsible for half of those. But if you'll teach your kid to stop saying "I'm telling on you," I promise I'll do my best to abolish the words "hippy-dippy baloney" from Jack's lexicon.
After all, it's only fair.