The moment I feared finally happened. I knew this day would come; I just didn't realize it would be this soon.
I picked Little Miss up from daycare yesterday, and she was in great spirits - must have been the two hours she spent outside with her playmates. It has been cold and dreary the past few days so the clear blue skies and 70-degree weather felt glorious - even Grumpy the dwarf would be smiling on a day like this.
In the car, Little Miss Chatterbox was having animated conversations with herself (or an imaginary friend - you never know). She was also enthusiastic about pointing and naming things - "Duck!"(Truck) "Dhee!"(Tree) "Dah!"(Car). Her enunciation’s not quite there but at least I could understand her (for the most part, as long as there was context. Had she pointed at a feathered creature waddling across a pond and said "Duck!" I would've guessed she didn't mean truck. I’m a genius).
Often, in our 10-minute car ride home, if we weren't blasting a Lady Gaga tune from the radio (at her request, in case you're frowning at me - I would have gone with Phoenix), I’d go through a string of words and she’d repeat them back to me, a game/lesson she adored. She mispronounced words in her tot-like fashion, but the gusto with which she said them, so happy to finally be able to communicate and so proud of herself, prevented me from correcting her - usually because I was too busy laughing. Occasionally, her synapses would misfire (more specifically, in the opposite direction) because yesterday when I said "Cup", she said, "Puck!" That made me laugh, which sent her into a giggling frenzy, completely unaware that she has flipped the consonants. Then, channeling her daddy's juvenile energy, a lightbulb went off and I said, "Little Miss, say Cuff!"
And I waited. And waited. Nothing.
Oh well, I tried. That would've been HI-larious. Yes, not quite the high point of my parenting career, but I was certain her daddy would have been proud I came up with that all on my own.
By then, we were getting close to our neighborhood. I accelerated to change lanes only to narrowly miss the car that appeared from my blind side. I didn't even realize I cleared it until this car-that-wasn’t-there appeared in my rearview mirror and startled me. I gasped and yelled, "Shit!" and immediately, as if we were still playing her favorite game, my daughter yelled back, "She!"
I almost veered off the road. That was a bigger shock than the near accident.
Was that really -? No... It couldn't be... But I think it was. Wasn't it? Her first naughty word? At 18 months??! Oh no. What have I done?!
OK, so it wasn't intentional, and she didn't know what she was saying, but it was definitely a great reminder to really watch my words around her these days. My 2010 new year's resolution to swear like the Brits worked as well as most weight loss plans do that time of the year, as in it didn’t. Perhaps, I should go with the tried and true method of washing my mouth with soap (ala A Christmas Story) every time I utter a naughty word. Seems a little drastic, but soon enough, she’ll master this whole talking thing; I will no longer have to trick her to say these words, and I’ll be in deep she, which means the joke's on me. Except it won’t be so funny then.
I guess it's time to whip out that bar of soap... Cuff!
image source: http://www.achristmasstoryhouse.com/images/ralphiesoap.jpg