Shut up.

I’m used to my son shushing me.

It all started months ago when I was singing him to sleep. I was two verses into “The Rainbow Connection” (Kermit-style) when Monster looked up at me and said, “Momma, sssshh.”

I can’t blame him. I’m the Rosanne-Barr-National-Anthem equivalent of lullaby singers. In fact, there are times I think he’s not really sleeping – he just fakes it so I’ll put him in bed and leave his room.

Monster thinks it’s funny to tell us to shush. He hasn’t quite gotten down the hand gesture, as instead of holding his finger to his lips, it usually ends up around his nose or poking himself in the eye. One time, he shushed me with a finger in the middle of his forehead.

That kind of shushing is endearing. You know what isn’t cute?

“Momma, SHUT UP.”

I almost wrecked the car. I had been belting out the chorus to a Celine Dion song, which I should NEVER have attempted. But it wasn’t the high notes that caused my voice to break; it was the sound of my not-even-2-year-old saying something so rude.
I told my mother about the incident, and she and I agreed that it’s because of day care. (Day care, while essential to our lifestyle, is always blamed for everything.)

Monster is around older kids at day care. Surely those little snots taught him something so awful.

I brainstormed with David about which little miscreant it could have been. I even went so far as to name names, and I have been scrutinizing the child’s behavior ever since, just waiting to see what else will come out of his mouth.

It didn’t take long for me to get to the truth.

On Sunday, David and I were enjoying a wonderfully adult conversation about the news. “Did you know that Neil Armstrong was Canadian?” he asked.

And it just fell out of my mouth. So naturally. So flippantly.

“Shut up! Really?”

Monster, who had been rolling around a pile of pillows for the last hour, literally bounced onto his feet and pranced around the room singing,

“Shut up! Shut UP! Shut UP! SHUT UP!”

He threw his arms over his head and clapped proudly.


How was this possible? How had I been the one to teach my son to say those words? True, worse words come out of my mouth, almost daily, but I thought I had been censoring myself so well around the baby.

Then I remembered that I’m a complete moron and my response to anything outside of the norm is to exclaim, “Shut up!”

My memory flashed back to a conversation with Monster’s day care teacher in which I demanded to know who had been teaching him such rudeness. When she said that he was the only child whom she had heard saying it, I refused to believer her.

Now I know the truth: My child is the miscreant child. My child is the one who is going to teach kids the naughty words and get into trouble at school for thinking the word “balls” is hysterical (come on, it is).

And it’s all my fault. Me and my big mouth. Yes, I do need to shut up.

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