I am THAT mom – the one who has the kids who will seemingly be the “bad influence” on the younger, more impressionable children at our preschool; the one who has the kids that other moms will secretly tell their kids not to listen to or hang around, lest their kids learn naughty things from mine.
Last year, I was the mom telling my kids to ignore the naughty, wild kids who obviously made my children uncomfortable (because deep down, children generally know what’s (in)appropriate). Eventually, however, my words would poof into thin air, as my children became more exposed to what kids will inevitably become exposed to – dirty words, jokes, and actions that are childish and slightly raunchy. Eventually I gave up on telling my kids to avoid those kids, and figured that it’s just part of growing up.
Once I accepted that learning these things are a part of growing up, I shifted my focus towards teaching my kids what is acceptable and appropriate to share with others. After all, my children find farts, burps and anything related to being naked as THE FUNNIEST THINGS EVER and are more than happy to talk about it. My daughter will often walk into my room and announce, “I have the stinkiest farts IN THE WORLD…” and turn her butt towards me as she uses her hand to fan her methane emissions in my direction. My son will chug his cup of water/juice/milk, open his mouth and let out a belch that would impress a seasoned beer-drinker. Occasionally, they will stick their fingers into their own (or each other’s) noses and pull their lower eyelids into monster faces as they stick their tongues out and make odd noises that cause them to drool.
I am continually repeating the following phrase, “There is a time and place for everything…” and for the most part, they understand what I mean. As a result, farts, burps, and naked booty dances are mostly reserved for the privacy of our own home (and I’m OK with that).
Sometimes, I have to intervene with something more strict than a warning or a reminder…like the time that my daughter taught a classmate of hers the word, “poopyhead” and I caught the two of them labeling the boys in class that they thought are “poopyheads.” Harmless enough, but I took it as my cue to issue the first lesson on “bullying” and on the implications of labeling others as something mean.
I thought we were in the clear on how not to be a bad influence on other children until a few weeks ago when I went to go pick my kids up at camp. I snuck up on my daughter, deep in concentration doing a “box-stitch” craft while she chatted mindlessly with her friends. Mostly, they chatted about cute stuff like unicorns, toys, and other things that are important to 4 year olds, and so I didn’t fully pay attention as I collected my kids’ wet and dirty belongings that were strewn all over the place. Then I heard a familiar voice say this:
“My mom has a furry bum…” as the rest of the girls laughed and chimed in the their moms did too.
SERIOUSLY??!!! (SIGH) I give up.
Excuse me while I go crawl under the covers and pray that the other kids don’t repeat what they heard at home…