I didn't notice that Liv had reached for a bottle of salad dressing too and when it slipped from her drooly baby fingers and bounced off the cart and hit the floor, smashing into smithereens....well, we were both startled.
Liv looked into my eyes and kind of shook her head like....Well, now...that's just GREAT, isn't it?
And then she said, clear as a bell.
I froze, not knowing how to react. Should I ignore her or what? I mean what was Mommy protocol here? And, stupidly, I actually wondered where she had learned THAT word.
Me, of course. The one she spent every single waking hour of the day with when she wasn't sleeping.
And that was when I realized that about five other very judgmental mommies were staring at us.
Did that woman's child just say the "f" word?
And, seriously...I totally hate it when people say "the f word" instead of "fuck." Obviously, I do because instead of saying, "Well...the f word" my daughter chose to say the other.
I could feel them staring, waiting to see what I would do.
I didn't do anything. Instead, I pulled my cart over the mess and announced loudly that I would go find someone to clean this up and please, be careful now...
And then I did that. I slid Liv from the cart, put her on my hip and went and found someone with a name tag and soon it was announced over the loudspeaker that there needed to be a clean up in aisle 4, please. I returned to the cart and waited until someone showed up and then I apologized in a heartfelt manner and continued shopping.
Liv didn't say anything else. I didn't yell at her because it was MY fault, not hers that the salad dressing dropped. If I had been watching her like a good mother (and I can't tell you how often I fail at achieving that status), she would not have been curious and reached out to touch that brightly colored bottle.
As we stood in the waiting line to be checked out, I saw one of the narrow eyed, judgmental mommies ahead of us with her perfectly coiffed hair and her perfectly coiffed and dressed toddler in the cart. She had that look on her face that said, "Good lord, she can't even dress herself or her child properly, why am I surprised that her child has a dirty mouth? That's probably what she does all day, swears, smokes cigarettes and dresses like she doesn't care that she has a spaghettio stain on her shirt."
Truth is that I rarely dressed up for grocery shopping back then or now. I often had my hair pulled back in a clippee and wore jeans with rips (not fashionable back then) and a man's shirt or tee shirt that usually had some sort of stain on it. In fact, no matter how much I changed her, Liv almost always battled diaper rash so we both reeked of Desitin almost daily. To this day, I wax nostalgic at the odor of that nasty white cream. And Liv battled me daily by insisting on picking out her own clothes and I usually just let her wear whatever she chose (I've learned to pick my mother battles) and it was often purple overalls with a lime green tee shirt with Elmo on it and bright blue socks with her favorite pair of white sandals that she wore no matter what the weather...or her red snow boots with the white fur on them, even in July. And while I brushed her hair faithfully, she had the kind of hair that always looked like someone just rubbed a balloon on her head.
I didn't say anything until we were in the car. And then before I turned the ignition on, I said, "Liv, it is not cool to say the word fuck okay? I know I say it, but it is an unacceptable word and we both need to quit with that word, okay?"
Liv looked at me thoughtfully for a moment and then said okay. But this made her curious, this no-nooing of words, so we spent the rest of the drive home talking about words that were okay and words that weren't.
"How about popsicle? Is that an acceptable word?"
"And trash can?"
Yes. (Well, let's try not to say it too often...have you seen my butt?)
Fine, a fine word.
Not a fun word, I agree. But a VERY good word.
Um...do you even know what a knee cap is?
After 3 hours reading Goodnight, Moon or The Cat In The Hat, I'm good with the word television.
Finally, she tired of quizzing me and did what she always did: fell asleep in the car seat so that she would not be tired AT ALL at nap time. In fact, it was not uncommon for me to engage her in singing the Alphabet Song or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or Oh Susanna as loudly as I could just to keep her awake in the car. But, this time...I was thankful for the break.
So, we went home and I cut up some apple slices for her and let her watch this show that she loved called Caillou. I never understood the appeal. The child whose name was Caillou looked like a little cancer survivor and he was a bit smarmy for my taste. He also had parents who were sickeningly hip, like green hippies in soft colors. They weren't ever so tired of parenting that they sat on the floor and let their child put every single hair clip in the house in their hair (not that Caillou could even wear them since he was bald as a billiard ball even at the age of 4...and remarkably, the parents seemed not to notice) and then when the child was napping, well....FORGOT that they had 324 little butterfly and bow hot pink clippees in their hair and ended up startling the UPS guy when he came to deliver a package.
Yes, this did happen to me and if something similar never happened to you...then I don't want to be friends with you.
And, remarkably...I didn't put together why the UPS guy looked like he wanted to turn and run back to his truck until an hour later when I reached up to scratch my head and my hand caught on a little plastic unicorn hair clip.
So..I suppose it just figures that I have a child who said the word fuck in a grocery store, huh?
At any rate...I did write this down in my diary, so that is how I always remember the date and one day I will regale Liv's prom date with this story and she will want to fall through the floor and die.
Suffice it to say that after that day, I cleaned up my mouth and have only sworn in front of her a handful of times and then apologized profusely.
Because, underneath my ripped jeans and stained tee shirts, I really tried to be a good parent.
A FUCKING good one......