Friday, April 20, 2012

Children Raised in the Wild

Babies imitate everything at this age. It's crazy what they pick up on that we don't notice or take for granted. The freakiest and most overwhelming realization I've had is that we create their entire reality and that is a big responsibility.

I've done a good job at cleaning up my language and being aware of what I say for the most part because now Baby Lawns can understand pretty much everything and she repeats an awful lot. My sister and I (though not my mom but more on that later) have done a good job at not cussing too much around the babies, who are the same age. Yes, if you didn't know, my sister and I had babies together and they are both girls.

What my sister and I didn't count on was the influence the family pets would have on the little ones.

Sure, we knew that pets were healthy for children, that kids with animals grow up to be more active, more compassionate and less afraid. They also have fewer allergies according to some research, but what we didn't count on was that our children would, well, become pets.

The babies are growing up bilingual. They speak English and Dog. My sister has a dog and the babies love her beyond all good reason and the dog is extremely patient with them. The dog should be sainted for the number of times the babies have poked her butthole alone.

At first we didn't realize what they were doing. My sister's daughter started it first and Baby Lawns copied her. One day, my sister noticed that her child was standing at the door making small yelping noises, but babies make all kinds of sounds at this age so she didn't think much of it. Then she noticed that whenever someone would pass by the house or come to the door, the baby would stand at the front door and bark with the dog. Then my daughter started it too. Now all three of them, babies and dog play in the backyard and as soon as the dog starts yipping the babies do too. The other day the pack of them barked a squirrel right up a telephone pole. I kid you not.

My daughter idolizes our cat. The feeling isn't mutual. Last week I noticed Baby Lawns had decided to stop eating with her hands like a human being and was planting her face right down in her plate inhaling her food. Why? She'd seen the cat eat like this. God help me. She also refused to eat peas until she saw the cat happily gobbling them up (my cat is weird) and now Baby Lawns, you guessed it, loves peas. Can't get enough of them.

I don't know how we're going to civilize these children.

My mother isn't much of a help with her potty mouth. If my mother's mouth is open, she's cussing. Cussing is so much a part of who she is that I fear if she stopped she'd have worse withdrawals than she did from smoking. If only they made a language equivalent of the Nicorette for her.

Yesterday we took the whole family out to lunch for my sister's birthday and Baby Lawns, who is prone to acting up in restaurants anyway, was in rare form because she has had a mild case of croup all week and is in a mood that puts her in danger of being put up for adoption. I dropped some pasta on the floor and my mother said "SHIT!" Without missing a beat, Baby Lawns repeats it "SHIT!" Lovely.

After we got home Baby Lawns went to get a toy under the coffee stable and somehow got her leg stuck under the couch.

"SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!" she yelled until I rescued her.

So she understands context now too apparently.

This isn't good. I can't have a child who barks like a dog and swears like a trucker. We need solutions around here and one solution is for the adults to commit to nicer language.

My poor mom.

I've decided to start a cuss jar. I'm just telling you now that I'm going to make a fortune. I could probably make double my teaching salary off of this, but that means it's not going to work. I think my mom would be OK with paying a fine for a few shits and fucks. Speaking without curses, to her, is like a meal without salt and butter, and without salt and butter, why even bother eating period?

There has to be incentive for this to work, but what could that be? A cuss jar isn't effective if you don't mind shelling out and my mom doesn't. If I said it was a vacation fund or for baby clothes she'd stuff hundreds in it just to be nice and continue spewing profanity with gusto.

Then, last night, I got it. I'm a genius.

No one, other than save my grandmother, hates Barack Obama more than my mother. She's passionately anti-Democrat, which is weird because she's totally in denial of how liberal she actually is, but that's another post. My mom's not a Santorum style conservative though. She's something entirely of her own creation: a tea partying, Ron Paul loving, Prison Planet reading, conspiracy theorist who wants the government out of her shit and right now. Whatever, I don't get into politics with my family. Until now.

All funds from the cuss jar will be donated directly to the Obama 2012 campaign.

It'll work like a charm. We'll have my mother speaking as prim and proper as a church lady in minutes.


Jenny @ Fondant is Gross said...

Hahahahahaaa!! I can just see the dog and two babies yipping at the door! For some reason, I keep picturing them in my aunt's house....

Also, that's a genius cuss jar idea! :D

Anonymous said...

Apparently, I used to say "sheep ship" all the time because I misheard my Dad when I was little. You could always bring a toy ship with you wherever you go and whip it out when someone says "Shit" and say "That lady is so silly. Always talking about SHIPS."


Books & BS said...

That's too funny. When I was a kid, my younger brother imitated our dog a lot. So much that he started pooping in the backyard. When my mom asked him why, he said, "well the doggie does it..."

kerry said...

Ok, the mental picture of both little girls barking with the dog made me laugh. My brother imprinted on things instead of words when he learned language. A cat wasn't a cat, it was a "meow." He had to have speech therapy, but it worked and once he got past a couple of years old he's been fine.

Your cat eats peas? Huh.

rosie-b said...

Ha ha ha! Too cute. Yeah, it's really scary what they pick up sometimes. At that age if one of my kids repeated a cuss-word I'd act all confused like I couldn't understand them and say stuff like " Oh, you mean sit? Was it shape?" ect. until they gave up on the word.

Melanie said...

I heard a story not too long ago about a woman who gave her sister several thousand dollars for safekeeping, with these instructions: If I ever smoke again, I want you to donate this money to the Ku Klux Klan. It worked. She quit smoking cold turkey, and years later was still smoke-free. So, I think your genius idea for cleaning up your mom's language will work wonders! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

When my sister was little and we would remind her to say 'please' she would bark like the dog because thats what the dog had to do to get a treat! I thought it was hilarious and encouraged it to no end while my mother was furious. Love your writing and cant wait for the first book!

Nana said...

I asked my daughter what she and the dog had been doing...standing at the back fence and "arfing" at the neighbors. One mid-size dog and one nekkid kid (but she insisted on wearing shoes) ... I sometimes wondered what the neighbor thought.

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