I have become convinced there is no better/worse stage of parenthood than the one where you child is first learning how to talk. I mean, it’s amazing. Those tiny voices come out of those perfect mouths and you just rejoice with the gorgeousness of it all. Mine was and still is particularly obsessed with moving objects so “CARS MOM!”, and “BIG TRUCK MOM!” were some of the first in our little loves vocabulary. And now we’ve just progressed to all objects. Which he repeats until acknowledge his labels.
All is well and good until said child learns the power of those words. “Drink?” Is met with sippy cups, “nana?” gets a banana, “night night?” brings him his favorite blankie, and so on and so forth.
Then we have the dreaded “NO!” Still to this day every time he says no to me I pause for a moment and have to take a deep breath not to pull my hair out and scream back at him something along the lines of “I did not carry you in my body for 10 months and then have you violently cut out of me so that you could tell me NO!” Its particularly offensive to me. I literally have a scar for you kid. It’s taking a lot of patience these days because I’m hearing a lot of those “no’s”.
But the real kicker is when you hear them parroting YOU. It has made me so incredibly mindful of the power of my words as he figures out the power of his. He is learning by watching and like it or not, I’m his main teacher these days. I was absolutely horrified the first time he said “shit!”, and immediately blamed his father, of course. But let’s be honest, it was probably me! And thankfully I’m no huge potty mouth around my toddler but hearing even a slightly questionable word come out of his precious unsullied lips was horrible.
Even though he doesn’t understand all of it, it’s made me more aware of my tendency to gossip, to speak harshly or with unkindness to others if I’m having a rough day, or to just be plain mean sometimes. I mean no one is perfect, I get that but this is hard! Wait until your toddler says “ew she’s hideous” to someone, what the heck is he eavesdropping on my texts too!!?
A perfect example of my total mom fail was last week as I was doing my lesson for our women’s Bible study at church. Mase is going through an especially needy time right now and was whining and rolling on me and screaming that he wanted to “color” too, even though I was trying to take some freaking notes. I finally had enough and yelled the following: ” Mason go away and play with your toys mommy is trying to learn about Jesus!!!!” He stopped and stared at me with those eyes and said “Learn Jesus mom?” Ohhhhhh. Emmmmmm. Geeeeee. Mommy needs a lot more Jesus these days.
It was this moment that the power of my words crystallized for me. Well first it crystallized that I suck, but after I moved on from that, also that “learn Jesus” is what I want to teach this baby. This is what I want him to hear from me, truth and faith and life and grace and joy all flowing together in one big happy hug.
Of course it would be insane to think that I will never speak harshly to Mason again or he won’t ever hear me gossiping or saying I will hate Birkenstocks forever. But I am grateful for the reminder to try to let my speech be “gracious and seasoned with salt” (not sure about the salty….) but the gracious part I’m gonna work on!