Shortly after Ethan started kindergarten, he started talking about poop and pee and butts. Every day when I would pick him up from school, he would relate the latest potty talk uttered from a fellow kindergartner. "Mommy, Mark said the fish tank is filled with pee!!"
I related these awful utterances to my sister, and she said, "Well, at least he is not saying swear words because then parents would know he's talking badly because of you."
I laughed sheepishly and quickly changed the subject. My sister is absolutely right--kids learn potty talk from their peers and swear words from their parents. And on that account, I've been a bad parent. I've been telling myself I need to quit swearing in front of my kids since Ethan was 2 years old, and I'm still waiting for the day for that to happen. Swear words come out of my mouth before I even know I've uttered them. If I'm driving and I get cut off, I'm telling the driver he's an asshole even before I realize Ethan and James are in the back seat listening to every word. And even hearing Ethan say some swear words hasn't washed my mouth with soap. I know, I know--I'm a BAD parent.
And while we're on the subject of bad parenting techniques, I use the TV to entertain my boys A LOT. When they start wrestling, which will quickly turn into fighting, I say, "Time to watch Spongebob Squarepants!" I don't choose Spongebob because it's educational, I choose it because my boys are riveted to the couch when it's on. If I was a better parent, I'd be teaching Ethan and James how to ride a bike, or lovingly reading them books. But if I did that, I wouldn't have the blessed peace and quiet I CRAVE.
So imagine my surprise when I see Ethan get frustrated because his dinosaur picture didn't turn out just so, and instead of saying "shit," he says "tartar sauce." What? Tartar sauce??? I know Ethan didn't learn that swear word from me. I rack my brain trying to think of where he heard the phrase "tartar sauce." Then it hits me--Spongebob says "tartar sauce" when he's frustrated!
So maybe two wrongs--bad language and bad TV--can make a right after all!