Thursday, September 1, 2011

My Most Embarrassing Moment Ever

Okay, I wrote this about two weeks ago, and have been debating about actually posting it. You know, because it was My Most Embarrassing Moment Ever.

[8/20/2011] We were at the grocery store today, a rare excursion with just me and Monkeyman. Shane stayed home with Bug while he was napping. As I mentioned before, Monkeyman has been in this defiant, mouthy phase, and I have been struggling with figuring out how to deal with it. I thought getting some alone time with Mom and having some one-on-one attention would be a special treat, but our "just the two of us" trip did not end well. At all. We were in the aisle at the grocery store, and he was asking for some cookies. I told him to pick one kind, but that we weren't getting both. Then... it happened. He said a very, very bad word. He dropped the F-bomb. Not only that, but he used it correctly in a sentence. He said "What the F--- is wrong with you?" My jaw dropped open. Right at that moment, an elderly lady was passing us in the aisle, and she released an audible, long drawn-out gasp of shock and horror. I was mortified. My brain froze for a moment as I tried to figure out how to respond. Then I grabbed his arm, dragged him close to me, knelt down so we were eye-to-eye, and very sternly told him that I had better never hear that word come out of his mouth again. This was his one warning, and if he ever did it again, I would smack his mouth. He could tell I was serious, and livid. I decided at that point to scrap the rest of the shopping list, and headed straight for the checkout. I thought about just abandoning the cart and leaving, but it was pretty full and it didn't seem fair for some poor employee to have to go around putting my stuff back just because of my kid's bad behavior. Then, as we were standing in line, he kept saying, "I'll listen to you, if you don't hurt me." (referencing my threat to smack his mouth - we are generally not a corporal punishment family). I'm sure the other customers in the store probably thought I was some kind of horrible abusive mother or something. I just wanted to crawl in a hole - couldn't get out of there fast enough.

I'm not gonna lie, I have been known to swear like a sailor at times (although I have NEVER said the above phrase to him), like when I've stubbed my toe, or gotten cut off in traffic, or when something about the world really pisses me off. In general, bad words don't really bother me - I mean, they're just words, and I'm kind of a "sticks & stones" girl I guess. Usually if I slip and swear in front of him, he will reprimand me, "BAD WORD MOMMY!" and I will say, "You're right, I shouldn't have said that, I'm sorry." He does this even if I say darn or shucks, so it was quite a shock to hear him say what he said. It is quite clear to me now that I need to step up my efforts of leading by example in the vocabulary department. Thank goodness he didn't say it at a homeschooling gathering. I don't know what I'd do - I don't think I could ever go back. One more thing to be anxious about...


  1. The two instructions we gave our son before attending our first homeschool gathering: be nice and DON'T SWEAR.

    It's really hard to teach one way when one or both parents model the opposite, esp. because kids don't understand context. What's fine in one situation is FORBIDDEN in others.

    My husband is like the dad from A Christmas Story:
    "In the heat of battle my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan."

    (It's all the more fitting as we live about an hour's drive from Lake Michigan).

    However, I hear George Carlin (my alter ego) talking about how there are no "bad" words--it's people who are bad.

    So when I hear my son spout another gem --and as I correct him--I also cringe at the thought of him proclaiming "god dammit!" in the middle of our new Christian homeschool group.

  2. Oh boy...I don't think that scenario could have gotten any worse for you! It makes me cringe, just thinking how mortified I would be if it happened to me. It sounds like you handled it very well, and hopefully Max gets the idea.

  3. @ Jennifer: Exactly. I know I reacted so strongly because a) I had an audience at the store and for some reason I felt like I was expected to react strongly, and b) because I was instantly horrified by the thought of him using that kind of language at a homeschool group function. But in the grand scheme of things I really agree with Carlin - they're only words. But I know I have to do better because I really try not to be a "do as I say, not as I do" kind of parent. (BTW I love Carlin too - it makes me sad that he's gone from the world)

    @Stacy: Thanks. Just wait till Addy starts talking - you never know what's gonna come out of kids' mouths! :)

  4. Oops! Why do these things always happen in public instead of at home? My daughter's first question about the "facts of life" happened (very loudly) in line at the grocery store.

    Sorry there was an easily offended person passing by when it happened--most people wouldn't have overreacted like that. If it had been me, I would have given you one of those "don't worry, I've been there" smiles!


I like comments even more than chocolate... so leave me some!