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May 08, 2003

Testing the Limits My daughter,

Testing the Limits

My daughter, The Bug, is a little over 2 years old. Much has been written about the “terrible 2’s” but so far we have been spared most of the horror stories we hear from other parents. That said, she is beginning to test the limits of what she can and cannot do. Thankfully, most of it, while sometimes irritating, is so frickin’ funny that you can’t help but laugh at it.

We try to be careful what we say in front of her, but sometimes words slip out without the normal censoring that should be done. My wife, unprovoked for sure, has a habit of telling me to “shut up” on a regular basis. The Bug, not one to let things pass, quickly picked up on this and has begun to use this phrase with some regularity. She will not say it at someone (i.e., “Shut up, Bigwig”), instead preferring to walk into a room just repeating it time after time (i.e., “Shut up, shut up, shut up"). Realizing that this is not something we want her to consistently throw out to everyone she meets, we have told her that we do not say that to people because it isn’t very nice…………which apparently in a two year old’s language means, “Say it when you can and watch the reactions you get.”

It is typical for her to wake up in the mornings and call out for her mother or me. Normally, I will go into her room, crawl into her bed and try to steal another 15 minutes of sleep before the day really gets going. The other day I did the same thing and turned away from her to close my eyes. I was dozing in and out and felt her roll over close to me, right next to my back. In the sweetest voice she began to whisper, “Shut up”……pause……..”Shut up”……more pausing…..”Shut up.” She obviously thought that I was asleep and was dying to use her new favorite slogan. I turned over and started laughing. I realize that this doesn’t do much to encourage her to stop saying it, but I couldn't help it.

A day or so later she was in the car for the 3+ hour drive to the beach when my wife heard her begin to whisper again from the backseat. She proceeded to say, “Shut………down. Shut………down. Shut……….up.” Eventually getting up enough courage to leave out the pause and repeatedly rattle off “Shut up” a number of times.

You have to pick what is important and what isn’t as a parent, and decide what really needs to be corrected and what doesn’t. No, I don’t wish for her to walk up to her grandparents and constantly say “Shut up” in front of them (anymore than it has already happened), but I also realize that saying this doesn’t make her a trouble maker and isn’t such a big deal. Surprisingly, she has not yet picked up on the other words we let slip, especially “Shit,” a common knee-jerk reaction to something gone wrong. The funny thing is that my wife is worse about saying this in front of her than I am, which is somewhat of a surprise to even me. Perhaps I finally am maturing…………but I doubt it.

I like watching her try out her new independence, and really don’t want her to be afraid to do these things for fear of punishment. I know more testing of limits will take place, but so far, the 2’s aren’t terrible. Instead they just provide a never-ending supply of funny things to blog about or share with others who have children and understand how hilarious this stuff can be.

Posted by Woundwort at May 8, 2003 11:35 AM | TrackBack
Postscript:
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