Mommy Wants a Timeout

In which I contemplate absurd moments in parenthood, occasionally attempt to refer to myself as a “triathlete” while keeping a straight face, and maybe post some random pictures of stuff I’m knitting

Warning: The Following Post Contains Language Unsuitable for Those Under 6 Years of Age

I’m a baby-head. And my ideas are poopy-headed. So says (or yells) my 5-year-old son, anyway.

It’s hard to keep a straight face when he’s having a tantrum and throwing out this type of insult, even though on the inside my heart is breaking a little because he’s so obviously frustrated and doesn’t know how to cope.

I blame myself. For the ridiculous vocabulary, I mean, not the tantrums themselves. (I’m pretty sure those come from my husband’s gene pool.) I have selfishly refused to use any REAL profanity in front of him (and, oh, how I’ve wanted to sometimes!) so he obviously lacks the proper terminology to truly express his anger. Heck, we’ve been referring to his posterior as his “bottom” or “booty” forever; the other day after school he had to ask me what a “butt” was. I told him, and now it’s his new favorite word. (“Mommy, check out my booty-butt!!!” “Kiddo, pull up your pants, right now!)

I don’t know why I have this hang-up about my child using certain words. I guess there’s a part of me that wants to preserve his baby-ness for as long as I can, even as he grows into a school-age boy. So in our house, it’s bottom instead of butt, toots instead of farts, and gosh-darn-it instead of…well, just about anything else you could say when you drop a book on your toe or spill a glass of milk. (Ironically, my husband and I, a physician and a nurse, have always used the proper anatomical terms for his private parts; while this ensures he’ll never need to learn the “real” word for them later, it has made for some embarrassing moments in public. Imagine a 3-year-old explaining at full volume the differences between the men and women on the magazine covers while we’re waiting in the grocery checkout line!)

So for now, angry outbursts in our house are going to be accompanied by some creative and sometimes pretty hilarious insults. My husband and I will try to hide our smiles while we show respect for his feelings, set limits on his behavior, help him learn coping strategies, and otherwise do all the “good parent” things we’re supposed to be doing. And we’ll wait until later, after he’s in bed, to laugh hysterically about his word choices; after all, that may turn out to be the one bright spot in an otherwise very trying day as parents.

A picture of "angry." Drawing his feelings actually turned out to be a pretty good alternative to yelling about them!

A picture of “Angry.” Drawing his feelings actually turned out to be a pretty good alternative to yelling about them!

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6 thoughts on “Warning: The Following Post Contains Language Unsuitable for Those Under 6 Years of Age

  1. And this shows what a good parent you are! I’ve heard so many parents yell at their kids/curse/etc and wish that more would hold their tongues like you guys. Thanks for being a good example

    • Thanks for the supportive words! My opinion on whether I’m actually a Good Parent changes at least 5 times a day, but controlling my temper is one of the things I’m pretty sure I’m doing a decent job at!

  2. Carmen on said:

    If you have any tips for how to help them deal with the anger I’d love to hear them. Kaylin had a full on melt down Friday, in front of my parents of course, and I’d love to figure out some more productive ways to help her handle things when she gets overwhelmed and life isn’t going her way.

    • Carmen, I wish I had a foolproof solution! We thought our worst tantrums would be in the past by now, but he still takes us by surprise pretty often! When I can see it starting to build up, I try distracting him, (that’s where the “Angry” picture came in yesterday) but when it’s a full-scale eruption, about the best I can do is take him to a quiet place and give him some time to calm down. We practice taking deep breaths, and sometimes when he’s in a bad mood, I suggest that he does a “mood change” thing, like make a silly face or do a crazy dance move, and when he’s done, the bad mood is gone and he can choose a good mood instead. Sort of works…sometimes. Someone told me the outbursts are because we’ve raised smart kids who are secure enough to express themselves freely. Probably just BS, but I’ll take it!

  3. I love that you find humor even in the most frustrating moments. I’m right with you – we have lots of anger here, too… and sometimes you just have to giggle.

    • I’m realizing more and more that the world is a confusing and overwhelming place for our little kids. No wonder they get so frustrated! We’re just trying to help them navigate it the best we can…Laughing about it (in private) helps!

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