2/27/14

There's Nothing Like Embarrassing Toddler Outbursts...

Over the past year, my little guy's vocabulary has grown as much as he has. At three years old, he can pretty much convey every thought or question he has. While most of the time it's wonderful to hear what he's thinking or easily figure out what he needs, there are those times where his lack of a filter creates uncomfortable or silly situations.



Like when I picked him up from his church daycare and the director pulled me aside and said:

Don't worry, it's not bad, and we hear all kinds of crazy things, but I had to share something funny Ollie said after you dropped him off this morning...
He said, "Mommy has a crappy car." I thought he said Crummy, so I repeated, Oh, no. You're mommy has a crummy car? But he shook his head and said, "NO! It's a crappy car.  Goddamn that crappy car!" 

Shoot. Me. Now.  He said, Goddamn that crappy car, while standing in a church! Here's the thing; yes, my car started to break down on us the other day, and I most certainly need a new one, HOWEVER! I never ever said my car was crappy, or to goddamn it. As for FTD, he may have called it crappy, but he doesn't say Goddamn either, so where Ollie picked all of that up is truly beyond me.  Now, had he said, my mommy's car is shitty, I would have taken full credit.

Then, yesterday, while sitting at a restaurant having lunch, Ollie points and YELLS:

Hey! That boy has two dads!

In an attempt to not draw anymore attention to us or the boy and his two dads, rather than look over, I just quickly replied, He sure does! What a lucky boy!" Some boys have two dads, or two moms, or like you a mom and a dad!

To my surprise, Ollie stopped staring and didn't ask any more questions about it. It turns out, my quick calm response was all it took for him to be content with the boy having two dads.

Sidenote: A few minutes later, I looked over at the table and saw two men and a little boy.  In no way would I have immediately thought they were two dads with their little boy. Somehow, Ollie knew. Now, I didn't see them walk in or sit down, but I can only imagine for Ollie to immediately think they were both the boy's dad, the two must have handled the little boy with the same love and kindness that FTD or I do with Ollie.

The worst was while standing in the grocery Ollie points at a lady in a mobile cart and says, "WOW Mommy, that lady has a really big bum!" Thankfully, she didn't hear him.  I immediately got down to his level and told him that while his observation was correct, it was not nice to point it out, and that everyone is different sizes and that's OK.

It's amazing how observant children are, and the way they interpret the things they see.  And of course, how they blurt those observation right out. That's why I have no doubt that many more of those wild comments are going to come out of his unfiltered toddler mouth. As much as I want to stick my head in the sand and hide, that's not the best way to deal with the outbursts.



I've realized that the biggest game changer will be how I deal with those observational outburst. Rather than get upset or berate him, I plan to always do my best to calmly honor his observation, and then deal with it appropriately.

It's so important to me that my kid feels comfortable sharing his observations and asking questions. If I yell or get upset with him, he will close up, and I don't want that. Most of all, I want to be the one to teach him that two dads or two moms are normal, or that while, yes, mommy does have a crappy car, it's not OK to say Crappy, and most certainly not OK to say goddamn. Ever. Most of all, I want him to understand that people are different, and to never ever judge someone based on an observation.

I firmly believe there are two roads you can take when a toddler has an unfiltered outburst: You can become embarrassed and yell, or stay calm and take the question seriously; one will hurt the child, the other will help.

What about you?  Have you had a toddler outburst yet?




April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

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