I went out to lunch today with Kate. I should have just stayed home and made mac and cheese. And not the Spongebob Squarepants kind either.
I take Kate on occasional lunch dates. She does very well at restaurants when it is just us two. We chit chat about whatever her little 3 year old mind is thinking about. I will hear it all over lunch – who her best friend is at preschool, what her favorite color is and an announcement whenever she farts.
Kate and I walked into Panera Bread. The place was packed. We ordered our soup and sat down. I helped Kate take her coat off and get settled into her seat. Two older ladies were sitting next to us. They smiled. One winked at Kate. I smiled back, thinking to myself that they must be wondering if this blonde-haired kid is mine.
“I sure do miss having little ones around. She is pretty. And that pink pea coat! Oh, just darling.”
“Aw, Thank you. Kate can you say thank you.”
My buzzer goes off and I get up to get our food. I come back and sit down in front of Kate.
“MOMMY YOU’RE STUPID!”
My mouth dropped in complete horror. The people around us stopped talking and stared. I heard someone drop a plate in the back. Our half of the room went silent. The two women next to us avoided eye contact. I could feel the eyes of the room judging my parenting. I wanted to grab Kate and run out with our coats covering our faces. Instead, I lowered my head closer to Kate.
Kate. That was not a nice thing to say. Where did you hear that? Emma?
No, not Emma.
Well, I don’t say that. Did daddy say that?
No, not daddy.
Where did you hear that?
That little yellow effer.
I’ve always considered myself a laid-back mom. We don’t have a lot of “rules” in this house. The kids are free to play with whatever they want. We blast music and have dance parties. I let the kids paint their nails and put on my makeup. They jump off the couches for my camera to see themselves “flying”. If it’s nice outside, you can bet we are running around at the park down the road. We invite friends over for playdates just to bake cookies. I make sure my kids are entertained and having fun. My house is not the cleanest on the block.
I am a hands-on mom but come on – I don’t have super hero kid energy. I work from the house most days. I will change the TV from the music channel to Nickelodeon if I need a break from the kids. Somehow I missed Spongebob whispering the sweet words of “you’re stupid” to my 3 year old.
Why Nickelodeon, why?? You’re a kids network. Parents trust you. I understand my kids will overhear worse words than “you’re stupid” from the outside world. Crap, they overhear worse words from their own parents – Damnit. Effer. Shit. My kids have never said these words. Maybe because they have never gotten as frustrated as Scott and me. They have no need to scream “DAMNIT” at the TV when K-State loses in the first round of the NCAA tourney. I have no doubt my kids will grow up one day and cuss the world out when they’re having a bad day. I’m ok with that.
But I’m not ok with my 3 year old shouting “you’re stupid!” in a public place where I’m sure at least a few parents were offended. I guarantee Kate has no idea what “stupid” means. Believe me, I would have been less embarrassed if she said damnit. My parenting lesson is learned. A new rule of the house has been added. At least for a few years until Kate understands the meaning of her word choices.
1. No screaming.
2. No Spongebob Squarepants.