Hearing this wouldn’t be shocking. Except it was from the mouth of my 3-year-old foster daughter.
I freaked out when I first heard her say it. I gently reprimanded. I talked about good words and bad words until I was blue in the face. Nothing worked.
“Just ignore it,” counseled my mother. “It will go away.”
“I can’t wait for it to go away! We’re monitored by social workers and case workers. She has a visit with her birthmom in just a week. If she says that in front of her they’ll take her away from us. We’ll be labeled unfit parents. We’ll NEVER get to adopt!”
I was clearly distraught. To me, this slip of the tongue, this bad mommy moment that this angelic toddler had heard and was now emulating, was catastrophic. This behavior had to stop and it had to stop NOW.
So, I continued with my reprimands, my explanations and peppered in a few time-outs.
To no avail.
Running into the grocery store for a few things, I was in a terrible rush. Her older sister was still at school and I was due in the carpool line soon. Time was limited. Trying to get Julia out of the carseat, her foot got tangled in the straps.
“Damn it!” she said.
I froze. I didn’t have time for explanations. I didn’t have time for reprimands. And I certainly didn’t have time for time-outs.
Searching my face for a reaction, she said it again more emphatically, “Damn it, Mommy!”
I remembered my mother’s words of wisdom. In desperation, I decided to take her, although ill-advised, advice. So, I simply scooped her up, placed her in the shopping cart and said, “We just need milk, carrots and eggs. And then, we have to hurry over to the school to pick up your sister.”
We shopped. We dashed to the school (well within speed limits, of course) and we went home. I made dinner. We read stories and played. We bathed before bed. We went to bed. We woke the next morning and started our daily routine.
Twenty four hours. Forty eight hours. A week.
All passed by without incident.
I never heard “Damn it!” from those sweet little lips again.
I hate it when Mom is right.