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MoonDragon's Realm - Parenting Humor

Children are sponges, and as parents we know that we should watch what we say in front of the kids if we don't want to hear it parroted back to us at some inopportune moment in the future. But it's easy to not worry about it too much when they are infants and can't understand you anyway. Sure, babies can hear you even in the womb but they haven't yet worked out what all those sounds mean.

My own daughter is eighteen months old and though she has yet to utter a sound that anyone but the most devoted parent would identify as an actual purposefully spoken word, it is painfully obvious that she understands almost all of what we are saying. People may scoff at this, but just try saying the word NAP in front of her and you'll have all the proof you need.

It's not so difficult to censor the four letter words from our conversation (well, most of the time - stubbing a toe on the baby gate AGAIN excepted). It's the every day words that are getting us in trouble. There are a whole list of words that you had better be pretty careful about saying in front of the little one unless you are prepared to produce / perform said item immediately.

In defense, my husband and I have resorted to what parents through the ages have done when they want to discuss something they don't necessarily want the children to hear.

We spell.

No one told me that being a good speller was going to be a prerequisite to parenthood. It's not such a big deal when we are spelling short words like O-U-T or N-A-P or J-U-M-P. (The last we spell in an effort to spare my poor husband's back from lifting our dainty 26 pound little princess over and over and over again). But unless you're fresh from a spelling bee, it's not as easy to spell everything out loud as you think it would be. It seriously slows down your speech. And as our daughter's vocabulary grows, it becomes more and more of a challenge.

"Do we have any J-U-I-C-E?"


"Where did you put the C-O-O-K-I-E-S?"


"Hey, honey, do you want to take the baby O-U-T-S-I-D-E to the P-L-A-Y-G-R-O-U-N-D to P-L-A-Y on the S-W-I-N-G-S?"


"Feel like going S-W-I-M-M-I-N-G?"

The worst is when the person spoken to responds with "What?"

I console myself with the thought that what we are doing isn't really being sneaky as it is sharpening our own mental skills. And getting a bit of a jump on homeschooling. One day soon, our daughter is going to look up and say, "You spelled CHOCOLATE wrong, Mommy."

Jennifer Ismail is a stay at home mom to her daughter Sarah and infant son Benjamin. She enjoys writing lighthearted essays from her personal experiences. Her work has appeared in the newspaper as well as on and Email the author.

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