My Three Year Old Learned How To Give The Finger. To Everyone.

Ollie has two older nephews, 8 and 9, that LOVE to teach him naughty things, then laugh hysterically when Ollie emulates them.

I get it. I'm guilty of taking advantage of his speech delays for my own amusement. In fact, I was super bummed when Ollie learned to properly say Duck and Bridges.

Still, teaching him bad words and gestures is not OK.

I'm constantly telling them that they know better, and while it's funny, Ollie has no clue what the naughty things mean, or even that the naughty things are even naughty. Especially, since his teachers, the two boys, laugh and cheer for him.

That all being said, when Ollie learned to stick his middle finger up, I drew the damn line.

I nearly died.

I'll admit, because my sense of humor is atrocious, the first time was funny. (Not that I let him know!) And maybe the second time too when he gave the finger to FTD, but he's a kid; the finger is not cool.

Three year-olds giving strangers the finger for no other reason than, "it's funny," is so not cool.

Another thing that's not cool, is trying to figure out how to tell a three year old that giving the finger is bad. And why it's bad.

Especially, when the middle finger can pop up anywhere...

Moms do it:

Gorilla's Do it:

Other three year olds do it:

I decided to go with telling him the middle finger was mean, like when people shake their finger at him. And that his cousins use "Mr. Tall Man" instead of "Mr. Pointer," to shake their finger.

It seemed like a god idea at the time. Until he started shaking his middle finger at people.


Why does parenting have to be so damn hard.

I'm beginning to realize that my son is going to learn all kinds of naughty behaviors from Moms, gorillas and peers, and there's nothing I can do to stop it. Short of putting him in a bubble. Which, would be lame. I've resigned to scolding the nephews when they teach him anything remotely bad.

As for my serial flicker-offer, I'm banking on the one and only predictable thing about a toddler; he'll learn something more annoying and ridiculous soon enough, and forget all about flicking off the neighbors.

Parenting is hard as hell, but the older my son gets, the more I realize not everything he does is a direct reflection of my parenting. I can't blame myself for every fail and bad word that comes out of his mouth. I also can't blame other kids for being, kids, and moms for going tiger on a referee, or player or the gorilla wanting people to stop tapping on his damn window.

The best thing I can do is take each situation as it comes, rectify it as best I can, and then save my energy for the next thing, because no doubt, its coming.

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