F-bombs and Affirmations

life-is-goodIt started with a broken dishwasher.

One week after Alida was born the little guy decided it’d had enough. One too many a poorly scraped dish or soggy jar label wreaking havoc on its miniature bits. Yes, we decided, if we had to replace it, perhaps a bigger one would be prudent. Of course, to have the space for that, we’d have to finally replace the refrigerator too. Basically a bar fridge, with no freezer and infuriating roll-out drawers that couldn’t accommodate an upright jar of pickles… Really, with a second child, a proper fridge only made sense. But then, of course, the cupboards would have to be redone, which would mean a trip to Ikea, multiple visits to the building supply centre, and removing the beast of a granite countertop. And you know, frankly, that thing was too narrow and we never really liked it… why not replace that too, while we’re at it?

And so on.

Except we didn’t conceived of the whole plan in one go, but rather over several weeks of escalating chaos. The first new dishwasher immediately fritzed out. So did the jigsaw. And we didn’t have that tool, or that part, and that was measured wrong… Meanwhile, as the kitchen monopolized every spare minute of Achim’s time, the upheaval in the apartment grew frighteningly. Old cupboards and appliances filled the hall and office… the living room floor was impassably strewn with tools and the contents of our poor, destroyed kitchen. Plus, you know, toddler and brand new baby.

This is all to say, we were a little overwhelmed. “Little” being a complete lie. A week in, I was bawling. And, um, swearing. A lot. So unfortunately, I can’t pretend I don’t know where he got it. My three year old, I mean. The kid with the sparkle in his eye who just F-bombed 14 times in a row…

What do you say when your kid copies your shitty behaviour?* I don’t know. With the feeble hope of at the very least modelling humility if not perfect self control, we tend to go with something along the lines of “Sweetie, that’s not nice, I know we do it sometimes but we shouldn’t, we are sorry that we do it, let’s all try not to do it.” And I worry about what I’m teaching him, and feel guilty and probably inadequate.

But then I’m driving, running errands with my sparkly-eyed boy and his new baby sister. She’s crying, and I’m clumsily trying to soothe her from the front street, while navigating these freakishly narrow European streets that should be one way but are not. Distractedly, I’m singing, cooing… “Alida, sweetie… honey… It’s okay my little muffin cake…” And then a little voice chimes in, in exactly my cadence.

I chuckle as I recognize my own verbatim absentminded baby soothing nonsense… “Little sweetie,” he coos, and then with hilariously unmistakable intonation…

Life  is gooooood!”  

And I think, ahh what the hell. I’m not doing that badly.


*In principle, I don’t really think swearing is the worst in certain contexts, and as long as the word isn’t discriminatory or used hurtfully… the evidence seems to back me up here. That said, I’m not sure my toddler is quite keen to the nuances, and frankly I can’t claim to have exactly modelled appropriate usage either!  😳

11 thoughts on “F-bombs and Affirmations

  1. Anna

    How is the kitchen doing now? I really can imagine it is NOT fun having your kitchen laying everywhere, with a little little one to take care of! It’s good that children know their parents make errors too, and to talk about it. That way, when a child does something it regrets, he or she knows how to deal with it.

    1. Elena

      Months have passed since your comment, but on the plus side, I can now confirm – the kitchen is working so much better! Ah, a real fridge. I thought I was being easygoing, and living simply, but really I was just making my life harder. Sometimes, you just need a frozen vegetable or two. And ice cream. something you really need ice cream. 😉

  2. Dakota Nyght

    *laugh* Have to say, Elena, if THIS is your idea of a “quickly written, short little post”…

    I can sooo sympathize with the *ahem* creativel language echoed by a sweet, innocent little voice. In my case, I explained to Munchkin that he shouldn’t use that kind of language, as only adults should use it, and in any case it’s not very nice. He seems to have accepted this, thankfully!

    1. Elena

      Lol Dakota, I knoooooow! It was less time than usual, but still isn’t exactly dashed off, I am working up (or down) to that! Have you ever heard that quote (it’s attributed to a lot of different people, voltaire, mark twain, george washington…) “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.”? Lol.

  3. Jamie

    Hey Elena. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’ve been following you on instagram for a few months and I love your artwork! It is so unique and full of soul.

    I LOVE how your little soothed his baby. Sweet little muffin cake! Those are some of the most mamahood-affirming moments, aren’t they?! My 21-month-old just did the same thing to her big brother today. He started crying and she said, “What’s wrong buddy?” just like I do. And it melted. my. heart. (Good thing, too, because I totally lost my temper at them today. I need the good to balance out my mama-fails. 😉 )

    1. Elena

      Hi Jamie! Thank you for following me back here! Your blog is lovely, I get your email updates too. It’s almost a social service or ministry you’ve got going there, honestly affirming women and this crazy thing that is momming!

      Ah, yes. Let’s just focus on, bask in these sweet moments! I like to think balance is at least 50% perspective. xoxo

  4. Danette

    I swore like a truck driving when my babies were little, a two and a half year old and a newborn, especially when I was driving.
    My oldest, Piper, started pre-school at three. Her first day there (while I sat at a nearby table with the other moms and dads quietly chatting and nursing my baby) she joined the other three year olds on the Fred Flintstone style Little Tyke cars that you get in and push around with little feet, really cute. So they are all driving in circles and bumping into each other and the parents are looking on with proud smiles, enjoying a little time to make sure their child is setting in ok. My daughter, jolts to a stop in the middle, and looks around, back and forth with her head, and yells, “Hey! What the *f-bomb* is going on around here?!”. I am now moving in slow motion, standing up, horrified look on my face, my mouth starting to form the silent scream, and the director, calmly walks over to me and gives me a smile and a little shake of the head and quietly says, “it’s ok, just let it be”.
    And so I did, and so I do, still, let so many things just be. Or I swear like a sailor and feel better after that too!!!

    1. Elena

      Lol Danette!! I am just going back through these comments, easing my way back into blogging and I love this! And like, high five to the director, man. Just let it be. Thanks so much for this story, made my day. ♥

  5. Steph

    Hey Elena,

    Here is my advice….and it might be seen as completely crazy to some people but parenting is subjective.
    Growing up my dad swore like crazy and my mom did it only in extreme sercumstance. but it was never aimed at us or anyone in a disrespectful way. it was mainly out of frustration. I always grew up knowing that it was something grown ups say but not for us kids.

    With my own kids i created a rule “when you guys graduate from highschool and start University you can start swearing. You need to learn all your important words and finish all your schooling before you should start adding these extra silly words. These are words adults use to express themselves but we know when and how to use them because they can be very powerful and offensive if used incorrectly.” It seems to be working so far…i mean really we cant live in a bubble they will hear it everywhere and we are human and it will slip out.

  6. Dayana

    Hello,Yes, before I didn’t put a link tag INSIDE my DIV which used class &l&dho;embeq_mhsrsquo;.Tue link tag was OUTSIDE the DIV, that’s why I cannot apply ‘a:hover’ style.Thanks

  7. Jerry

    I used this for years too and it was great but I got bored and started trying out others, your blog post has reminded me of how good it was so I might repurchase for the summer because it is not mosiiuritsng enough for me in winter. thanks for the post! x


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