I admit it, I use them sometimes. Less and less with every passing year but there are time when they just slip out, or when frankly, they are just the only word to convey a certain situation. But, as I have become a parent, and more recently a parent to two talking children, I have come to take on an absolutely never, ever, not-in-my-house policy to two particular four letter words: CAN'T and HATE.
I know, not the typical f-bomb but I have come to realize that these two words are just as dangerous, maybe even more so because they are very easily picked up and internalized by pre-schoolers. For example "Mommy, I hated binkies when I was a baby." Well, yes she is absolutely right, particularly thanks to a well meaning nurse who insisted we just hold the dang thing in until she liked it. But, I digress. Somehow hearing the word "hate" come out of the mouth of my precious baby girl is disturbing to me. Next, she will hate what I've made for dinner, or the new shoes I've purchased her, or the girl who is mean to her in class, or someone who is different than her. Paranoid? Maybe, but it seems to me a slippery slope. There is almost always a better choice of words, one that conveys a more accurate and less hostile message.
And then there is "can't." Ah, this one drives me especially batty! "I can't put my pants on myself; I can't pick up my room; I can't eat this; and on and on and on." It blows my mind how many things my smart, sassy children cannot do, without even trying to just do. Yes, they are very young and they may need to ask for assistance with some things but trust me, they are not being asked to do anything that they absolutely can't do at this age. Every "can't" in my house is immediately met with "try."
Often, the "can't" comes out when they don't want to do something; it's too hard, or they might miss part of a show, or it's something they don't like to do. Well, tough cookies kiddos! I was not blessed with a great skeletal system. It is crooked and creaky and often causes me great pain. It would be easy sometimes to say that I can't do something, but then what? The next time I don't feel like doing something, out comes the can't card again and before you know it, I'm one of those reality-show wrecks who hasn't left the house in 76 years! Instead, I try, which usually leads to doing. So, for me can't is the ultimate four letter word and one that sometimes brings out "mean mommy."
I could care less if my children are math geniuses or soccer stars, but by gosh, they are going to give their all whatever they do, and they are going to be nice and polite about it too. Or else!
PS-I may count this as my PSA, wonder if I can get .org status now???