Saturday, 2 August 2008

Toddler Tourette’s

There is a point in every parent’s life when they realise that their child’s speech is improving. Mumbles become clearer words and they find it easier to communicate their needs.

I reached this point when the 4 year old was 2.

We were getting ready to go out and she was struggling to put her shoes on. I was busy stuffing the baby into his car seat and suddenly heard ‘fookinell’ fall out of the 2 year olds mouth. As I was wondering if I’d heard right I heard it again.

My life flashed before me and a memory of a road rage incident came flooding back. An elderly man had stepped out in front of the car causing me to perform an emergency brake and almost bring my lunch back up. The force made the 2 year old hurl her raisins in the air which was an ordeal in itself. My response had been “F*cking hell you stupid old bugger” as he stumbled off.

I have been known to swear, but nearly almost never in front of the children and usually at my husband. I remembered a Supernanny moment ‘Ignore the swearing, attention will make it worse’. So I ignored the toddler tourette’s.

With relief we continued without incident until we were in the changing rooms at the swimming pool. The 2 year old couldn’t get her costume back in her bag. ‘Fookinell’ she said and carried on tugging at the bag and shoving at the wet costume. I felt like a rabbit caught in the headlights and thrust her out of the door.

Purchasing a gag wasn’t an option so I rode it out with a red face. We had a ’fookinell’ outside pre-school in the presence of parents and play leader alike, a ‘fookinell’ in front of the neighbours and 2 further ‘fookinells’ in the supermarket. People always looked at her, then back at me, puzzled. As if they weren’t quite sure if they’d heard right … and if they had why was I not washing her mouth out with soap and water.

I remember feeling a little proud that at least she was using her new phrase in context and not just punctuating her sentences willy nilly with it. It lasted 2 weeks before she moved onto something more acceptable. The only positive during those 2 weeks was that he never added the “stupid old bugger” on the end.

No comments: