It was only a matter of time.
I went to pick up the Little Pirate from daycare today and her teacher said, “Can I talk to you?” She pulled me aside and said that the Pirate got in trouble today for saying a bad word.
My brain reeled. All I could think was, “Fuck! The Pirate taught the kids to say something like ass or shit or mom’s go-to favorite word – FUCK!” I was mortified. I started formulating my apology and my excuse about how things have been busy and stressful at home with work and the house being renovated and how we haven’t been watching our language. Well, that was how I intended for it to go anyway. Instead, I just played dumb and asked what happened.
The teacher was very hush hush, and I thought that this was really going to be bad. She said, “Well, we were on the playground and the Little Pirate said it, then some other kids were saying it, and I have to talk to their parents too.” I asked who started it. She said it wasn’t the Little Pirate, it was actually another kid and she still had to talk to their parents when they arrived. Phew. Disaster averted.
I looked back toward the playground to see who was left. All the Pirate’s little posse including her boyfriend, still on the playground innocently, merrily playing, unaware that the scales of justice were about to tip against them when Mom and or Dad arrived.
The teacher didn’t apparently want to repeat said word, but as another parent arrived, she pulled her aside too. The parent looked at me and said, “What’s happening?” I said, “Oh, I think we’re in trouble.”
The teacher continued explaining to us both now that there was a word said on the playground, and that both our kids got a time-out for it, but that it was started by another kid whose parents will be spoken to. She didn’t want to repeat the word because she didn’t want to remind the kids. And then, there it was. Out in the open. My curiosity finally satisfied, courtesy of my own Little Pirate:
“STUPID BABY STUPID BABY STUPID BABY!!!”
The teacher said “No, we don’t say that.” Then the other kid started saying it. Then his mom yelled at him pretty forcefully about it. I wanted to laugh but I knew I shouldn’t. I wanted to laugh because it wasn’t my kid who started it. I wanted to laugh because this could have been much much worse. I wanted to laugh because it wasn’t the F-word. I wanted to laugh because this was probably the first of many times, many hundreds of times, I will hear from a teacher “Can I talk to you for a minute?” While the Pirate chanted on “Stupid Baby Stupid Baby” and her teacher was saying no, I just said, “Okay okay, that’s enough, ready to go home?” Anyone with 7 seconds of experience in a two year old’s presence knows that they are like parrots. And if you tell them not to do something, it’s like a license to do it more. I said that I wasn’t sure I wanted to correct her because it will just encourage her to keep saying it.
Then I sort of wanted to know who the kid was who started it because that little boy or girl is probably hearing that at home. And that made me sad.
The Pirate just had her bath, having a week’s worth of Monkey Shirt and blue pants washed off her, finally, and she came running out of the bathroom with her towel around her and started screaming “STUPID BABY STUPID BABY.” I ignored her. Cool Dad said, “Didn’t you get in trouble for saying that today?” She giggled and said it about 10 more times. It’s not easy but I’m just going to ignore her when she says it. Doing anything else that’s even a remote acknowledgement is just suicide.