Parenting: ‘Sit’ Happens

Most of the time I think I am doing a good job as a parent. Sure, there are days where I want to scream into a pillow or cry into a bowl of ice cream while binge watching serial-killer documentaries. And sure, I will openly admit that I make mistakes in my parenting decisions. Heck, I make them daily. However, in-between mouthfuls of chocolate-chip cookie dough, I assure myself that my kid is happy, healthy and living with more confidence than my husband and I combined. For that to be the case, I tell myself that I must be doing something right.

My son, who turns two this summer, is a total whirlwind of chaos. My love for him, I am certain of—it’s everything else that has me utterly confused, at times. As most parents will attest to, what is true one day for their children does not mean it’s true for the next. The blueberry sausage that my son absolutely loved to eat, last week, I was hit in the face with, this week, as he whipped it across the room last night in utter repulsion. The act of brushing his teeth can morph from mind-bursting fun into an act of torture, within seconds. It truly feels like living with that Batman villain who bases his every decision on the flip of a coin. The results will either bloat my ego or send me down a rabbit hole of self doubt. It’s truly amazing how much power this child has over my self-esteem.

These days, my little guy is becoming quite the joker (another Batman villain … Oh dear!). He has always loved attention and typically wears a big smile, most of the time. However, as he’s getting older, he is much more concerned with doing things to make others laugh. He wants to be the star, and he’s building a catalogue of material to entertain his audience. Unfortunately for me, his most-recent bit of material gives indication that I have not been on my A game when, I assure you, in this case, I have been.

The other night, at dinner, my husband and I were pleasantly surprised that the coin toss had gone in our favour and the meal had gone incredibly well. Our kiddo had even eaten his broccoli, without complaint, despite his months-long aversion to any type of green food. He had happily babbled on with us, as we all ate in familial bliss, and I was relishing in the feeling of what great parents we were when, all of a sudden, he decided it was time to share a carrot with his teddy bears. This wasn’t unusual, and I was at least satisfied with the fact that feeding his stuffed animals a carrot would not result in a big mess to clean up. Not like spaghetti has done, in the past (but that is another story altogether).

After being content that each one of his bears were well fed, my husband informed him that it was time to rejoin us at the table and finish his meal. “Come eat your dinner,” I insisted, as my husband added a “Come, sit.”

The coin toss continued to go in our favour, and our little clown came running back to the table and proceeded to climb up onto his chair to resume his meal. Only, he did so while repeating what he had been asked to do, and confidently blurted out the word, “Sit.”

Now you should know that our son has been expanding his vocabulary exponentially these last few weeks. Everyday we are ecstatic to hear the newest groups of words that he is saying. He gets such a proud look on his face when he says something new, and often looks to see how we react. It is also important to note that my husband and I have made a very conscious effort to watch what we say around the little guy, now, as he has been repeating almost everything … or at least trying to. The last thing either of us want is to be the one responsible for him saying his first cuss word. Sure, it’s funny when other people’s kids do it, but I don’t want to be the mom on the other end of that judgemental look (you know how those parents get in those scenarios). I can honestly say that we have been doing a good job of keeping our child “cuss-free.”

Except … the moment we heard him utter the word sit, we knew that no one was going to believe us anymore.

He said, “Sit.”

He did. Really.

That’s not what it sounded like, though. You, reader, know exactly what it sounded like. You can picture hearing it in your mind. You can see it, can’t you? … this innocent cherub, sitting at the dining-room table, with his teddy bear in one arm and a smile on his face, uttering what sounds exactly like the word sh*t.

Oh no!

Of course, we made the rookie mistake of laughing. It was just so unexpected; how could we not? And, of course, as a result of our laughter, he got the reaction he loves most. He knew immediately that he had done something entertaining, and that meant only one thing in his toddler mind. Do it again. Do it non-stop.

“Sit. Sit. Sit.” The whole drive to daycare the next morning was cringeworthy, as I dreaded the possible reactions from other parents. “Sit. Sit.” And because this little funny man insists on bringing his teddy bear with him in the car for drives, these days … “Bear. Sit.”

I made the pre-emptive decision to notify the daycare, the night before, that he had just learned a new word. And so far we haven’t had any comments about it. Inwardly, I hope that it has just become something that he entertains his mom and dad with. After all, I can’t exactly tell him not to say the word. As horrible as it is, coming out, he is just repeating a direction he was given. And he does know what it means. I know this because, as I watched my pride and joy make his way down a set of stairs, in a seated position, he repeated the word each and every time his little bottom touched the steps …

“Sit. Sit. Sit.”

I know this will pass. In the meantime, I am doing everything in my power to get him fixated on another, more-desirable-sounding word. I also know that while I may die inside a little bit if, and when, he decides to blurt this out in public, in the near future, that most parents will sympathize rather than judge. And at least it’ll give people a laugh—if only because it’s not happening to them.

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