About 2 weeks ago, Murray and I were having a conversation congratulating ourselves on being amazing parents. Gulliver NEVER says the following words: hate, shut up, stupid.
We talked about all the reasons that this makes us really good parents.
Then a couple days later, as we were leaving the house and getting into the car, Gulliver said "Shut up" to Joon.
I looked at Murray. Did he just say what I thought he said?
"What did you say, Gulliver?"
"Gulliver. We don't say that. That's a bad word."
We loaded the kids into the car and resumed the discussion:
"Where did you learn that word, Gulliver? Who taught you that?"
He named one of the older kids at the home where he is tended twice a week. The older kids (who are really good boys, and very personable) are home from school now.
"Well, it's a bad word. We don't say that word, Gulliver."
Then after a few minutes of silence:
"Mumma? I sorry I say shut up."
"Gulliver, that makes me so proud that you said sorry."
"We don't say shut up."
"No, that's right. We don't say it."
"T says shut up. But we don't say shut up. Shut up is a bad word. We don't say shut up. But T says shut up. But we don't say shut up. Shut up is bad."
"Okay... Gulliver, just stop saying it okay? Let's just not say the word at all."
"T says shut up, but we don't say shut up."
"Let's not say it at all."
"Mumma... why we don't say shut up?"
"It's a bad word. There are good words and bad words, and that is a bad word."
"Oh. Just like there's good spiders and bad spiders."
So that was the end of the story. Except that at Young Men / Young Women the following week, I pulled the boys aside and let them know that we were teaching Gulliver that "shut up" is a really bad word, "So if you use that word around him now, he's going to think you're really bad boys. So you'd better not use it around him."
Apparently it wasn't the boys I needed to worry about. Murray says "Shut up." Of course he says it totally differently. And the context is totally okay. But now that Gulliver's ears are finely tuned to the bad word "Shut up," he catches Murray every time.
Like in the car, when I say something incredible, flabbergasting, exciting, surprising. This happens all the time because I am a very interesting person. Murray's first reaction is often to say, "Shuuuut up!"
Now that is closely followed by a voice in the back that says,
"What you say, Daddy?"
We are going to need to break some habits.