Cooking, cleaning and reciting the Cat in The Hat from memory, I'm finishing up dinner and the phone begins to ring. Look at my little one holding his book and stemming happily. I hate interruptions when the mood is so peaceful. I turned to make a mad dash for the phone, rounded the corner of the breakfast bar and banged my big toe into the bar stool. In a moment of mind numbing pain I blurted out the “s” word and began hopping round the room. A few minutes passed when I noticed that my son stopped stemming and was looking at me with great wonder. Until that moment I had been very good about keeping my potty mouth clean. But, it’s okay, my little guy begins to giggle and all is forgotten. Little giggles always take the pain away.
A few days later, we met with our new speech therapists. She was much nicer than the previous therapist and seemed to be very passionate about working with autistic kids. Our meeting went exceptionally well and Pooty was very excited about his new therapist. After the meeting, we moved into the kitchen for snacks and leisurely conversation. Pooty comes in and utters a word that sounds a lot like milk. In my haste I turned to grab Pooty’s sippy cup and clipped my finger on the cabinet door. Did I mention I can be a bit clumsy at times? This time I managed to be mindful not to say the “s” word. Instead I quietly said “shoot”. Of course, in true Pooty fashion, he tapped me on the leg, looked up at me with that devilish little grin and said, in a very clear voice, “No mama, shit…shit.” This was one of those classic moments when I didn’t know if I should crawl into a hole and hide or jump for joy because my child corrected me.
Have I corrupted my child? Such a smart little boy, why would he choose to master this word? Could it have been the entertaining element of my hopped around after shouting the “s” word into the atmosphere? Who would have thought…all the effort it took to get my son to utter any audible word and it comes down to only a matter of seconds for him to master the “s” word.
Word to the wise, my fellow patrons of parenthood…never take a child’s speech delay for granted, or else you too may find your little one staring into the bathroom mirror, practicing the “s” word…not to mention, with great emphasis on the “t”.
Oh what a mother’s plight may be.
And so she kisses her child goodnight.
Thinking of all the fun things planned,
Hoping and wondering if she can,
Prepare him for all of life’s demands.
Sit up straight; don’t play with your food,
Be a good boy, try never to be rude.
What have I done that I’ve taught him this thing,
Hearing the “s” word and feeling the sting.
Will he ever know how hard I try?
Always teaching and preaching to reach for the sky.
I wish I’d never said that naughty word.
Instead I will work harder to be,
The example my son needs to see.
I will be more selective with my words,
To be sure they are thoughtful, encouraging and good.
In the meantime I will pray,
That my wee one tries not to say,
The new word mommy taught him that day.
And know that everything will be okay.