The Playpen Diaries: Struggling with the F-word

Lyndsay McCready
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I know I have gone this route before, but one can never remind oneself enough to watch their Ps and Qs, especially when little ears are listening.

The playpen diaries

This past weekend I found myself in a situation that regularly has me boiling to the brim: the Tim Horton's drive through.

It's not the restaurant itself, in fact it's the welcoming staff that have me coming back each day.

The people who drive me crazy are the ones who sit back and wait to see which line will move first before picking one.

The reason this is so infuriating is because while they sit back and decide which lane might save them 10, maybe 15 seconds, the rest of us are blocking parked cars in the parking lot, forcing others to block Ross Street or saying things to ourselves in frustration that the little ones in the car should probably not hear.

This was the case on Saturday.

The parking lot was full. Traffic was out on to the street and when I rounded the corner to finally enter the parking lot there they were, sitting back while not three, not two, but one car was in each lane placing an order.

This truck was so concerned with picking "the right" lane they were sitting as far back as the garbage can, taking their time making a decision my two-year-old could make, and contributing to the issue the two-lane system was designed to eliminate.

It took everything in my being to not get out of my car, knock on the window and explain to them how the two-lane drive through works - looking back now I think that would have been the better option.

Instead, I held my breath, sighed in frustration and then said "stupid f--" a little louder than I had planned.


Trust me, I am the first one to admit it is wrong to swear in front of a child, but I know I am not the first nor will I be the last parent to let the odd "bad word" slip out of my mouth.

Unfortunately in this case my son was quick to pick up on the off-limits sentence and has been repeating it ever since.

He said it immediately after the initial slip.

He said it while playing in the basement later that day.

He said it while jumping on the trampoline and he was super pleased with himself when he turned it into a song for my grandparents and parents at family supper.

This one moment of frustration has decided to be the one that is teaching me a bit of a lesson.

However, with that said, I must be a slow learner because I already went through this with my daughter.

The difference is my daughter immediately knew what she was saying was wrong, was using it in context - yikes - and when she was told not to say it anymore, for the most part that was the end of it.

My son on the other hand has decided to punish me with embarrassment.

It is one thing to have your child swear in the comfort of your home. It is a whole other ball game when it happens out in public.

The looks some people give you can make you either feel like the scum of the earth or want to put a whole new not-so-nice sentence together.

No one should judge a parent until they have walked a block with their toddler because, trust me, you can learn a lot from just a short walk with a person who knows nothing more than to say whatever is on their mind.

I sometimes think it should be mandatory for every person on earth to have to spend one week with a toddler, then maybe, just maybe, they will understand that just because a child swears doesn't mean you as their parent are tossing the F-word into every other sentence.

Yes, in this case, it was my fault. But there have been a number of situations where my children just say what is on their mind. It may not always be nice and it may not always be appropriate but the important thing is that I correct them when this happens.

Children are picking up on far more than we give them credit for and it is our job to teach them what is right and what is wrong.

The lesson here is to control my temper and be more aware of those around me.

As for those listening to my son while we are out in public, all I can say is I am sorry and please disregard whatever he says for the next four to six months and possibly a little bit longer.

Organizations: Tim Horton's

Geographic location: Ross Street

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