Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I Learned Shut Up

The way a child acquires language is a mystery to me. I always thought that the spoken words would be only a little behind the receptive words but apparently I am wrong. Dagny can say about three words: "uh-oh", "Deddy" (teddy or Daddy, depending), "Ah-ya" (Annika). She also appears to understand the word "no" though she doesn't obey it.

As I was dressing Annika for bed last night and putting on her lotion, Dagny was getting in the way (and the lotion) and was holding one of Annika's shoes. So, I asked her "could you please put Annika's shoes in the closet". She moved in that direction, so I repeated myself - more than three times because it was keeping her out of the lotion. But she did it. She put the shoes in the closet. We clapped and praised her and exchanged high-fives. The child is one - I had no idea she actually understood what I was saying when I said "yes, that is your shoe" "shoes go on your feet" "Annika's shoe" or some other inanity during diaper changing, dressing or preparations to leave the house.

Which makes it all the worse that I told her to shut up yesterday morning. She was screaming, as she is wont to do in the post-dressing, pre-breakfast moments and I was trying to get Annika's breakfast together because she was starving (see previous post about not eating any dinner). At the same time, I was trying to get her bottle made and I lost my marbles, just a little bit. I promised myself I wouldn't be like this - this screaming freak-out mother. I'd like to blame it on the working or on the messy kitchen or on the too much to worry about, but really it's just that I'm not doing such a good job sometimes. This morning was much better, by the way, no screaming from anyone.

But that doesn't negate the fact that I told my sweet child to shut up. And Annika saw it. I confessed to Doug as I was relating the shoes in the closet tale and his eyes grew large with horror (and this is a man who says "fuck" in front of the kids). Better to say fuck in front of them than to say the bad stuff TO THEM.

Just so you know I'm not a big plagarist, I'm continuing the song lyric/title/play on either of these as the title of each of my posts. I Learned Shut Up is the title of a 5*8 album. They are the first band I ever saw in college, at the Downstairs, opening up for Roosevelt and they are the least appreciated really great band I've ever heard. They are still in heavy rotation on our i-pods.


Dogwood Girl said...

Weird 5/8 theme in my life lately. How odd that it show up here also.

Don't sweat the "shut up." We all slip every once in a while. I have done the same kind of thing in front of Rollie. If I do something like that, we usually make a big to-do of going through the apology process, etc.

You won't do it often, because now you know how crappy it makes you feel. But you are not scarring them for life or anything. YOu are a great mom.

Nat said...

FYI: Titles are not copyrighted, so need to worry about plagarism.

Ditto on that you are super mom.