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Don't Do As I Say or As I Do

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Here they are: "12 Things I Need to Stop Doing in Front of My Child"

kid watch dad play video games

Paul Starke: Luke is at the age where he's starting to imitate our behavior a little bit. He'll pick up my cell phone and start trying to talk into it, before putting it in his mouth and slobbering on it. I don't do the latter, so he must have gotten that from my wife. But he's also starting to repeat words and phrases, like "hello" and "I do." This is all terrific, except as Melissa pointed out the other night, there are now certain things I can no longer do in front of my 15-month-old, or else he may repeat them. Here they are, "12 Things I Need to Stop Doing in Front of My Child": 

1) Swearing  One of my favorite things to say is "S**tballs." Don't ask why, it's just a great word. And probably fun for a kid to say, too. F**k it, I'm scratching this one off the list.

2) Watching TV with my hand down my pants
  This is one of those "guy cliches" that happens to be true. I don't know why we do it -- we're not really doing anything down there, we just need a place to keep our hands. Still, I don't want Luke doing that in Pre-K. 

3) Walking around the house pantsless
  You know those charming relationship quirks, like where the couple calls each other shmoopie? My wife and I moon each other for no apparent reason. It's just as gross and unfunny as it sounds.

4) Getting into fights with strangers
  See my post from last week.

5) Eating really, really fast
  Speed eaters are my heroes. Even though nobody is timing me and nobody cares, I get a certain thrill when I can eat a tuna sandwich in 40 seconds. Probably not the best thing to teach my son. At least until he turns 2.

6) Eating stuff off the floor   When I'm feeding Luke, he tends to throw a bunch of food on the ground. Instead of vacuuming, which would take time, I usually just pick it up off the floor and eat it. Don't want him thinking this is OK ...

7) Petty thievery   My days of jumping the subway turnstiles are over; very difficult to do that with a stroller.

8) Playing violent video games  Shouldn't be doing this anyway, since I'm 35, not 14.

9) Burping, breaking wind, various picking and scratching  You know what I'm talking about. Not saying that these things aren't perfectly natural, but eventually the kid needs to learn what's appropriate inside the house (and in Mommy's face) and outside.

10) Complete avoidance of chores  I don't completely avoid them (like the dishes or laundry), I just intentionally do them poorly so I won't be asked to do them again. Actually, that's a pretty good trick to teach the boy.

11) Rolling my eyes sarcastically when talking to my parents on the phone  The thought of him doing that to us when we're older and make no sense is truly depressing.

12) Smoking 
I DO NOT do this in the house, or in front of Luke, ever -- but it's something I struggle with occasionally, usually when my parents come to visit. But I have to stop, because I want to be around for Luke for a long, long time.

next: Mommy and Me Classes? Dads Object!
7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Nice. July 17, 2009, 2:48 PM

***Note to self: Don’t let daughters date or marry this man’s sons.

Anonymous July 17, 2009, 3:29 PM

I thought the list was quite funny. I had to learn to stop walking around in just my bra and underware when my 4 yr old son started actually noticing that I wasn’t “dressed”.

JD In Van July 17, 2009, 3:44 PM

We all have bad habbits :) Fortunitely I live in a girls only house so walking around half dressed is less of an issue.

BUT as far as swearing and violent games and such goes. I am very strongly against censorship and within reason I have always allowed my daughter to watch/play/read what ever she likes (pornography and splatter gore movies being the only things off the table really and questionable material must be viewed by me first and discussed before and after viewing).

I swear infront of my daughter, I don’t yell at others when they swear infront of her. I speak to her very frankly about what and why some people seek out various kinds of entertainment.

Ultimately? My daughter doesn’t swear at all. She doesn’t ask to watch violent movies or play violent games - there’s no rebellion factor to get a thrill out of.

Even at 9 she has a solid understanding of the idea that the social rules for adults differ then those for children and that that means there’s behaviors she can induldge in (pretending to be a kitty) that I can not with out being looked at strangely, and there’s behaviors I can indulge in (yelling s*it! when some one cuts me off) that she aren’t permissible for children).

Kill the bad habbits that you can but don’t overly shelter your children.

Lisa LeMone July 17, 2009, 4:02 PM

Paul Starke ALWAYS makes me laugh!

PlumbLucky July 20, 2009, 11:42 AM

My list?
1. Cussing. Suffice it to say that I work in a professional field where the occassional, um, punctuation mark, is expected. Sometimes these punctuation marks get carried home. Oops.
2. Flashing my husband. Suppose that this is similar to the mooning on his list.
3. Eye rolling. For obvious reasons. Little ones tattle.

stephanie July 22, 2009, 4:19 PM

Ugh. I hate it when alleged “men” act like little boys when it comes to chores. I’m sure the conception of your son was just mind-blowing, as you must have intentionally done a bad job so you wouldn’t have to perform well in the future.

Punkin September 9, 2009, 12:04 PM

I have to say I side with JD on this one. My oldest children very rarely ever swear, although they are allowed to in the home, as long as it’s not disrespectful toward others. My youngest I was worried about a bit, because while she’s gotten the public vs. private thing down, she started school this year. So far, so good. It not only lessens the rebellion factor, but it also allows the home to be a safe haven where one is free to share their thoughts and frustrations openly and without fear, a luxury I didn’t have as a child. It’s also a good gauge to have to find out what children are learning from their peers. My daughter came home and told me a ”dirty” joke (think 4th grade dirty, not the latest and greatest version of the aristrocrats). It let me see what she and her friends were saying when adult ears aren’t around, which allows me to follow-up with talking and education if needed.

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