The Curse of the Cherub

I saw this informative post on :

“A winter coat can impact the fit of the child’s harness on a safety seat. Nissan safety engineers recommend parents remove their child’s winter coat before securing the child in the seat. #NissanDiversity #NissanSafetySeries #ChildPassengerSafetyWeek

Check your child’s fit to his or her car seat at least once a year. 

Most car seats expire after 6 years from the date of manufacture. Expiration date can be found on the underside of the car seat. 

A child’s body temperature rises three to five times faster than an adult’s.”

I remember an incident after my three-year-old first began to independently buckle herself into her car seat. Somehow it escaped me, as I was adjusting my seatbelt to accommodate my winter coat, that her harness would also need adjusting. Although my husband and I had managed to secure ourselves, the grunts of her buckling struggles continued from the backseat. 

“Shit,” my adorable preschooler muttered under her breath.

My mouth dropped open as I shot a sideways look at my husband. We stared at each other, stunned by a word, which neither of us used, coming from our baby’s mouth. I don’t know about him, but I wasn’t expecting cuss words until late elementary school at the earliest, so I was completely blindsided.

Questions flooded my mind. 

  • Where had she heard that? 
  • Did she know what it meant? 
  • Should I discipline her for bad language? 
  • If I made a big deal out of it, would it eventually morph into a button she’d learn to push as an aggravated teen? 
  • If she didn’t already understand that some words were taboo, would raising her awareness send her searching for other forbidden words?

I had no idea how to respond.

Clank. Clank. Clank!  She continued to smack the ends of the buckle together over her winter coat. “Shit,” she snarled.

“Ummm.” I’m sure the whites of my eyes were showing. “Are you having trouble with your buckle?” 

“It won’t work,” she wailed, her face flushed.

“It’s your coat. Your coat’s in the way. Want me to help?” I looked over my shoulder to find her reexamining the buckle and her coat-covered belly.

“No, I can do it.” Bless her heart if she didn’t smooth down her jacket and successfully buckle her harness. 

“Good job.” I turned toward the front, side-eying my husband. 

He shrugged.

I shrugged. And, put the car in gear, and steered us down the driveway. Oh yeah, we’d be discussing this after beddy-bye, prepping for the next round of cussing.

You know, she never used the word again… that is, until she hit college. 

To this day we don’t know where her little self picked it up. Not that it matters. As parents we do the best we can with the time allotted, filling those moments with love and learning. We hope we’re building a foundation strong enough for them to stand up to whatever’s out there, because once they go to daycare or school, we spend the majority of their day on the sidelines. 

Choose your battles, Mom, because she’ll remember the things you repeat and/or emphasize, and she’ll forget the things you drop. If you make a big deal out of it, she’ll probably use it against you when she’s angry and frustrated. If you make like it’s no big deal, she’ll have to find another way to push your buttons.

By the way, I personally don’t swear* because of a parenting lesson I received when I was young. My Dad once told me, after overhearing me declare that I was “pissed,” that swearing was the mark of a lazy mind, and that people swear when they can’t think of anything better to say… 

You may have noticed, from my blog and books, I always think I have something better to say. 😉

Happy parenting!

*unless I’m trying to make someone laugh. Apparently it sounds funny when I cuss.

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