I know I am not alone out there in worrying about what and whom my child will be exposed to, and after talking to Candice the 4th grade teacher, I have new list of worries ;)
But, I never thought that the bad influence in Gracie's life would be her parents!!! It is easy to forget that kids learn by imitation, and one of these days it will catch up to you.
Now, I have not been oblivious these past 4 years, but seems in a matter of weeks, Garren's and my bad habits are rearing their four year old head.
One example is Gracie on her My Little Pony cell phone. Ever since she was a baby she has been enthralled by our cell phones and remotes. I am sure this is a universal thing among children. Thinking it was cute we got her pretend phones and cell phones, we even gave her the old cell phones when we got new ones. And, how else does a child learn what a cell phone is and how to play with one? Why imitating mommy and daddy.
At first there were cute remarks like "ello! Okay, goodbye." That would be a mommy conversation, as I usually have to hang up quickly to chase my darling daughter. Then more in depth conversations evolved.. like" uh huh, yeah, oh yea I know...(this went on for a while)." Again my influence. If you have ever heard me on the phone with my mother or Candice you would note I get quite chatty.
Now, new cell phone etiquette has emerged.
Gracie got her new cell phone on her birthday, and it is so cute. It rings several times until you answer it, and once it is on, it rings and rings again and again each time you hang up. Here is what she says now "(groan) Stop calling me!" This would be one of daddy's bad habits. He gets lots of phone calls from people who shall we say "frustrate" him and I have heard him say this many times.
The first time she yelled this at her phone though, I think he turned several shades of red. I am trying to combat that action by telling her "Gracie, don't yell at your friends, they just want to talk to you and see what you are doing."
Garren is not the only bad influence, remember me the one who shadows her 24 hours a day! The other day she said in an exasperated tone "Okay! Okay! Okay!" Whoops. This is how I can react when Gracie has gotten on my last nerve. To add insult to injury, she was annoyed the other day at not getting to do what she wanted and she strongly put her hands on her hips. I got frustrated back and looked down only to find my stiff hands on my hips with that same look on my face and in my eyes!!
Other bad influences...her first "bad word." I guess I deserved this one as I kept fussing at Garren insisting that he would teach Gracie some new vocabulary and she would some day blurt it out. Gracie was 1 and I was buckling her in the car seat and I pinched my finger. In agony I let out a "crap!" Of all the times for Gracie to pick up on a word. She giggled and yelled "crap." My face fell and I thought I was going to puke. Knowing that it is better to let these situations alone (because if you try and talk about it or cover it up, it only makes that word more interesting to say), I kept silent. As I remember the entire ride to Winchester my daughter sang (yes, sang!) "Crap! Crap! Crap!!" I was sure I had warped her forever.
I am sure there is a lesson in all of this. For one, I am learning to watch my attitude and actions more. I am a pretty positive person, but I can get aggravated and annoyed too. And, I also realize it could be worse. I am sure there are other things she has picked up on the negative side, but there are billions more great traits that she gets from Garren and I. Like my imagination, and manners, and creativity, and tidiness...the list goes on. Plus, we don't drink or smoke, or do drugs, or hit or abuse each other. There are a lot worse traits that kids are exposed to everyday.
....Then again, it's those poor kids that I worry about being a bad influence on my child when she has left the safety of my nest. I guess it is a vicious cycle huh.