Written July 2008
I knew it would happen. I just never imagined it would happen so soon. My son has begun to repeat what he hears. Just today, my sixteen month old son, Rafe, parroted at least three different words; “puppy, please,” and much to my chagrin, “poopy”.
It’s funny to me how my perspective has changed in terms of language. Words that I never considered particularly ugly before, I cringe with dread when I think of hearing from my baby’s mouth. I’m terrified when I imagine what he may one day hear at school, but I know what he hears at home will have more impact on him. Rafe watches and listens very carefully, and mimics us. It’s a mighty burden and a powerful chance to shape him properly. My five year old nephew told me a motto he learned in Sunday School last week, which went like this, “Watch your ways, and control what you say.” That’s a lesson most parents would do well to remember, myself included, particularly when your children begin to pick up your words and phrases.
We live in a really old house, in which the floors aren’t exactly level, to put it mildly. Therefore, doors tend to close by themselves. I grasped just what a sponge our boy had become when he pushed open a door yesterday, then shouted, “Day!” translation, “Stay!” I had heard my husband give the same command to the doors of the entertainment center the night before.
I dread the day, and the day will come, when one of my "slips" slips out of his mouth at church. We must try our very best as parents to “watch our ways, and control what we say.” The happy flipside of the teeth gnashing “poopy” moments is when we’re so proud of something copied. At meals or bedtime, when Rafe folds his baby hands, unprompted, in preparation for prayer, I think, just maybe, we’re doing a few things worthy of imitation.