Children really do repeat everything that they hear their parents say: the good, the bad, and everything in between-but you can pretty much bet your ass they are going to repeat any and every single bad thing that comes out of your mouth.
When my Mini Me was one and a half, he and I went to Kroger. Of course that was not this was an isolated trip to Kroger-not the first, nor the last, but if you know me at all, you know that I hate grocery shopping, period. I don’t even like to have to stop at the store when I am alone. You can imagine how much I might despise to go to the store with one (or possibly more than one) little kid? That, my friend, is on my “worst nightmare” list. Also, it did not help that Mini Me was an especially heinous grocery store shopping companion. I cannot even begin to tell you how many hundreds of extra dollars I have spent at the grocery store, simply because he would pull things off the shelves and throw them into the buggy when I was not watching! Usually, it was shit nobody at our house would even eat-like Kraft Mac and cheese, but it would have some cartoon character on it, so he wanted it and grabbed it and threw it in when I was looking at something else.
Parents and children learn, very early, that the bakery at the grocery store will give them a free cookie. This is supposed to make the shopping experience more enjoyable for both parent and child. Mini Me had been talking about that cookie since we pulled into the parking lot. In retrospect, I should have gone straight to the damn bakery and gotten the cookie over with at the very beginning, but I was new at this. I was going to make him work for the cookie. I was going to make this one and a half year old earn his cookie by behaving himself in the grocery store. It is laughable now-how stupid and naive I was back then….first time parent that I was.
I was looking at the Lean Cuisine’s. Mini Me had been asking for that cookie every 5 minutes. When Mommy is finished with the shopping, I would say back to him. While I was standing there, trying to decide between Salisbury Steak and Lemon Chicken, Mini Me stood up in the seat of the shopping cart (they didn’t all have seat belts 19 years ago, People). He clenched his little fists and he screamed at the top of his lungs, “I SAID I WANT A GOD DAMMIT COOKIE!!!”
I turned around and immediately clapped my hand over his mouth and sat him back down in the seat. I was beyond horrified. There were only one or two other people on the aisle, but Mini Me was so loud, I am quite sure that the entire store heard him as if they were being notified of a Blue Light Special at K-Mart.
I had a buggy full of groceries. I was not exactly sure what I should do. Should I pick his little ass up and leave the groceries and get the hell out of there? I really did not want to do that! The thought of having to go back to the grocery store at another time was enough to keep me from doing that. Should I scold him? Should I go to the bakery immediately and get the cookie? I was at a loss. I knew my cheeks were red because I could feel them burning. It was not as if I did not know exactly where Mini Me had heard those words. Yes, I will admit, I am sure I had said them in front of him, BUT, in my defense, he had mostly heard those particular words from his father. My personal favorite bad word happens to start with the letter F.
I told Mini Me that he should not ever say that again, and especially not at the top of his lungs at Kroger. As I was trying to get my wits about me, I looked up and there was a section of serve-yourself Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Mini Me said he would much rather have a chocolate covered doughnut with sprinkles than a cookie, so I got him one. We checked out and left, and never darkened the doors of that particular Kroger again. In fact, I tried, very hard, not to ever take Mini Me with me to the grocery store again.