STOP SAYING WORDS TO ME

henry said ‘STOP SAYING WORDS TO ME’ to us this week and we both fell out laughing. i’m sure we’d been yacking about somesuch don’t squash your sister while she tries to crawl or steal rocks off the playground at school and hoard them in your short pockets and then in turn, ruin the washing machine…or whatever. regardless of the content, he was displeased. 

so we’ve been using that phrase. it reminds me of a, more negative, favorite quote from liz lemon (tina fey/’30 rock’) “i want to go to there!’ her character said it a lot on the show (usually about a cute man or a donut) and she credits her 2 year old daughter for the expression. 
anyway. 
henry has had to endure a bunch of words from us recently about how he should not use the words fat or ugly
it happened. we were riding our bikes and came upon a couple, the man being really large, notably large, and henry, always quiet and discrete, says, ‘DADDY, WHY IS THAT MAN SO BIG AND FAT?’
my heart sank. 
we got out of ear shot and then robb lectured him on how it’s hard to be overweight and it doesn’t help to hear about it. we’ve reinforced over the last few weeks that the word ‘fat’ really shouldn’t be used. it hurts people’s feelings. it’s unkind. i’m tempted to change the language in ‘the very hungry caterpillar’ (“he was a great big fat caterpillar”) so that he doesn’t keep hearing the word. 
i don’t know what else to do. i tried to give him different words to use, but his whole life right now is observation, categorizing, defining, learning the language and how to apply it to the world. and all of this out loud. LOUDLY out loud. other than just hissing at him to be quiet, i’m not sure how to compel him to not point out physical attributes of things and people around us. 
for now i’m just saying we don’t use that word.  i’m applying my rule to the words ‘ugly,’ ‘dumb,’ and ‘stupid,’ too. 
i wanted to bike back and apologize to the guy on the bike but that may have done more harm than good. i just really hope my unknowingly shitty 3 year old didn’t ruin his day. 
now we have to learn to be even MORE careful with that we say. for example, i probably should stop referring to anna as ‘fat baby’ within ear shot of him.  🙂 (18 month clothes. 7 months old. you do the math. she’s VERY healthy. and too young to develop a complex, right? ). 
also, he asks for ‘dance music’ so i play him my ‘p!nk’ greatest hits CD. i had no idea he could hear/understand the lyrics until he asked for a song by nearly correctly repeating the chorus. oy. 
words mean stuff. they can cut or heal or manipulate ones impression of himself. they can give or take someone’s power. 
i’m not going to stop saying words to him. 
also, on words. we’ve started teaching henry a few spanish words- mostly body parts and a few foods, my name is (what? my name is…) it’s hilarious. and so now when anna babbles, we get, ‘WHY IS ANNA SPEAKING SPANISH?’ 
🙂

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