Enforcing Good Behavior... While Keeping a Straight Face.

We obviously all have words that we want our kids to say – “please” and “thank you” for example – and words we wish they wouldn’t say.  My toddler is quite the sponge these days, repeating just about everything he hears in direct earshot.  It’s great in a lot of ways; his ability to hold a conversation has improved tenfold in the last few months.  Some of the things that come out of his mouth absolutely amaze me, usually in a good way but sometimes not…

Recently Junior was acquainted with the word “fart.”  I know it’s been said a zillion times in his presence, but on that particular day he must have been super alert because he immediately connected the word to his posterior noise-maker.  I remember it happening like this:  Junior toots per usual, someone laughs and makes reference to his “fart”, he repeats the word “fart”, everyone around him laughs again, and the link is forever set in stone.

There is nothing funnier than hearing my angelic-voiced toddler say “fart” after he toots.  But I know that word isn’t appropriate and I don’t want him to be the reason all the other toddlers in his daycare class start saying it.  But trying to change course is next to impossible when I can’t keep a straight face.

Tonight at dinner he shared his typical post-meal flatulence.  My husband and I looked at each other over our plates and tried not to acknowledge his slip.  But I eventually made eye contact with him, and as if I silently asked for an explanation, he looked at me with big, innocent blue eyes and said “fart mommy.”   I immediately said “no Junior, that was a toot.”

“Fart.”

“Toot Junior.”

My chin starts to quiver.  My husband tries to pitch in by giving him the option of saying “poot.”

“Fart.”

I’m now talking directly into my napkin to cover my face.  But he knows I’m laughing.

“FART MOMMY!  Hahahahahaha!”

“Junior, no, that word is not nice!  You say TOOT!”  Teaching good manners is hard when you can’t stop laughing.

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