Wednesday, September 5, 2012

F.. this s...!

Yes, its what you thought. And I'm not angry and not venting. I want to write a few paragraphs on my experience with un-teaching my son those bad words. Well, one bad word in particular. The F word!

I guess my husband and I lived without children too long, both as a family and individuals before we got married. I worked in marketing and promotions, my husband was a DJ. Our primarily night-time lifestyle added its mark on the language we use. Used. Past tense.

As Santino grew and started developing his speaking skills, he now repeats everything we say. Except "thank you" and "please" of course. Well... even... okay, will tell you later.

So yes, he heard the "F" word, as we said it a few times in front of him, even though we had been very careful, trying to watch what we say. Only if something falls on your toe, you find marker all over the wall, poop falls out of the newly changed diaper, yes, you kind of sort of forget the etiquette and exclaim it with a passion. F...!!!

It only took two or three times, and here he was, my 18 months son, walking around, hitting a ball with a stick and saying.. you know what. If he tripped and fell, he said it. If he lost something under a couch or a parked car, he said it. Sometimes he would just mumble gibberish, passionately waving his arms at a wall, finishing up with the "F...". And the more he noticed how we laugh, the more he wanted to say it.

It was the time to make a change.

I realized, that saying "don't say f..." will only encourage Santino say it more and more. I noticed, there is a little bit of an actor in him. He loves attention, and if he sees how people laugh, he'll do it over and over. This is something I am trying to incorporate in our toilet training process. Well, that's another story.

First, I thought we'll just ignore him, and this word will die and fall out by itself, as nobody pays attention. That wasn't the case, Santino kept saying it, savoring every moment he got to use it. Plus, it was really hard to keep telling everybody, just not to pay attention. I gotta admit, it was funny, the way he said it.

Then I decided to turn his attention from the bad word, to something more acceptable by the society. He didn't budge. Next, I tried re-setting his mind, to thinking he is saying something else. Like right after he said it, I would say "funny", in an attempt to convince him, that that was actually the word he was trying to say.

I experimented with various words, including "fudge", which I hated. It just didn't sound ... satisfying. Wasn't right.

Finally, I found it! Fire truck! It really only took me about 5 or 6 times, after which Santino almost completely forgot THAT word, and switched his attention to fire trucks. It is his new obsession.

And by the way, for about 7 or 8 months now, every time I give Santino something I would say "thank you mama", if he does something I ask, I say "thank you Santino", I've been reminding of the "please" word multiple times per day since January as well. Did he say it? No. Not once. Only about a month ago, when after every time I heard Santino saying F... (not that often anymore, I must say), he finally started saying "please" and "thank you". Sometimes even without prompt!

Thank you, baby!