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To all my new moms: kids cursing is pretty much a regular stage that all kids go through. One of my favorite movie moments of all time is from “A Christmas Story” when Peter Billingsley’s character Ralphie gets busted saying the “f dash, dash, dash word.” His father who regularly curses around the house turns to him and asks him where he heard that and he gives up the name of a friend. Later on as his mom tells the other boys’ mom what he supposedly taught Ralphie, you can hear him getting his butt whipped over the telephone. Classic, hilarious.

From the post, Kids and CursingTimes have changed. Most every parent I know will squarely place the blame on themselves, even if they try very hard not to slip up around their preschoolers. As it happened, my two older boys started it and ‘ended it’ in preschool, that is to say I gather that one of them never really stopped but he was savvy enough to know when and where to do it without getting caught. The toddler, preschooler form sounds like parroting entire phrases picked up from parents. Stuff like “oh shit!”, “stupid bitch!” and “shut up, asshole!” (What, that’s only in my house? Eh.)

The trick is to not make too big a deal out of it because it can be such an attention getter that they want to do it over and over for a reaction. A mild, “That’s enough Sean. If I continue to hear you use those bad words you’ll have to go to bed early.” Generally they get it pretty quickly and voila, they move on to the next stage where they stop cursing, but every time they catch you doing it, they say things like “Ooooh mommy, that’s a bad word! Stop using bad words in front of me, I’m a child.”

I thought I had pretty much escaped that whole thing with my youngest, he never got in trouble (read caught) cursing until he was six, which I thought was a little old to start. And even then, he didn’t get busted in the traditional way but it was more the fact that I’m one of the worlds’ nosiest moms and modern technology. I was relishing the fact that he and his god-sister & best friend were old enough to hang out in the backyard unsupervised when I noticed that it seemed kind of quiet. No basketball bouncing, no screaming, chasing etc., just a regular conversation. Weird. I snuck over to the window which was open about five inches, bent down and began listening to the conversation.

J.: “I curse. We could be out here cursing and no one could even hear us.” Of course as soon as I heard that, I whipped out my iPhone, turned on the camera to video, and eased it out the window. I didn’t get too much of a visual with the fire escape blocking it, but I caught classic first grade chit chat.

J.: “I can curse. I curse all the time. I can say ass.”
Khev: “Oooooooh! You’ll get in trouble! I can say ass too. ‘Ass’. See? I just said it. I can just say it.”
Ess: “So what. Anyone can say ‘ass’. Ass, ass, ass, ass. It’s not even that big of a deal: ass.”

The three of them proceed to chant ‘ass’ a few more times and then forget about it and moved on to something else. Meanwhile I’m laying on the kitchen floor laughing my ass off with the dog jumping around me wondering what the hell I’m doing. Still, I felt it needed to be addressed so later on that evening when Khev and I were alone, I told him, “I heard you guys in the backyard saying ‘ass’ this afternoon and I think you know better. Please no more cursing, ok?” What happened next was way more shocking and disappointing to me than his casual foray into bad language.

Khev: “No I didn’t!”
Me: “You did I heard you. The kitchen window was open and I was standing right next to it listening to you guys talk. I didn’t say anything at the time because I figured I would talk to you about it later.”
Khev: “I didn’t though. I swear I didn’t curse, it wasn’t me.” We went back and forth for a while and I grew increasing frustrated and pissed off until finally I told him I had it on my phone and if he didn’t just fess up, say sorry it won’t happen again, I was going to punish him for lying. He insisted he hadn’t said it so I played the video for him where each of them is clearly heard saying the word multiple times and not that quietly either. He was speechless.

And then I sent him to his room to lay on his bed for twenty minutes for lying, not cursing. He still occasionally lies, it wasn’t some magic cure all, but he certainly thinks it through better!

Cheryl is a student at The CUNY School of Professional Studies and the mother of three boys.  A former office manager, she currently writes a blog about her adventures in parenting called UrbanMommys.com.  In her spare time she likes to check out fun new places and things to do with children for her readers. Cheryl is also actively looking for a full time job that is both challenging and satisfying.

Recently I read an FB status on a friend’s page that asked what a panic attack felt like and I smiled in sympathy. I wanted to reply and describe it, but I didn’t want to take up that much space. I recently experienced my first panic attack.CherylAtwell_Charlie

Now if you’ve been a reader for a while you are wondering, well why did you have a panic attack? Finding out you are the grandmother of a five day old infant can do that to you. Looking back, it’s a really funny story. It was about 8:30 pm on a Friday evening. I was puttering around my kitchen, wine glass in hand, when my eighteen year old son ‘S.’s seventeen year old girlfriend ‘A.’ called me up. We both said ‘hi’. Then she said, “S. said I should talk to you because you give really good advice. He said you gave him good advice about our dog a couple of weeks ago.”

“Sure,” I said, “I love dispensing advice, what’s up?”

A: “So we had this baby right, and I don’t know what to do.”

Me: “A baby what?”

A: “A baby!”

Me: “A puppy?”

A: “No a baby girl.”

Me: “Whose is it? Are you babysitting?”

A: “No, it’s our baby. Me and S. had a baby girl a few days ago.”

Me (sounding very stupid by now): “You and S had a baby girl a few days ago?”

A: “Yes, and I needed some advice from someone on what to do about it and S. wanted me to call you.” Here I think she said something else, but I couldn’t really hear her anymore.

Me: “Ok. Let me call you back. Just stay by the phone and give me a few minutes and I promise I’ll call you right back. In, like, a few minutes.”

Somewhere in the middle of that last sentence is when the panic set in and the attack began. My hand was shaking so hard I could hardly hold the phone. My heart felt like it would beat out of my chest, or be squeezed to a complete stop by the increasing tightness. My throat was closing up and I realized there were tears falling because I felt them scalding my face. Both my son T. and his dad J., my significant other, were staring at me with panicked looks on their faces. I hung up the phone and ran past them to the bathroom. J. followed me in and shut the door.

“What’s wrong?” he asked.

“S. had a baby girl!” I squeaked. I grabbed his shirt tightly with both hands and burst into loud crying. If he hadn’t been holding me so tightly I think I might have crashed to the floor, I could hardly breathe.

He let me cry for a while and when I finally began to wind down, he said, “You have a right to feel upset and cry, but you need to get it together and call those kids back. Can you imagine how scared they are right now? And they called you for help. Go call her back, and go get the baby if you need to, everything will be fine.” He was right of course and hearing him say it, I started to feel much better and calm down.

I washed my face and then as he walked out of the bathroom, my mother knocked on the door. He let her in and directed her to the bathroom. As soon as I saw her, I burst into tears again, having an ‘I-need-my-mommy-moment.’ And although that lasted all of about 90 seconds, it helped me get an immediate perspective on how it must feel to be a seventeen year old girl with an issue like this and no one to talk to. I told my mom what was going on and she said essentially the same thing J. had. I just felt all the hurt, anger, and disappointment drain out of me to be replaced by something like a steely resolve. I went back to the kitchen (and my wine!) and called A. back and arranged to pick them and the baby up the next morning.

CherylAtwell_KhevShe was with us for a few weeks until her parents got themselves situated. Now I am officially a grandmother to a beautiful baby girl named Charlie. Whew, I said it! I guess I’ll be writing lots of infant articles now, between her and my niece. I can’t wait to pick her up and meet up with my sister and niece to shop for baby girl dresses, shoes, hair bows and pink everything!

Cheryl is a student at CUNY School of Professional Studies and the mother of three boys.  A former office manager, she currently writes a blog about her adventures in parenting called UrbanMommys.com.  In her spare time she likes to check out fun new places and things to do with children for her readers. 

Parenting is an energy consuming challenge in the best of times. This past year I haven’t been employed outside my home, giving me a chance to spend a year as a stay-at-home mom for the first time since my 18 year old was a baby. It was eye opening to say the least.

I had so many preconceived notions about stay at home moms, how my job search would go and how many different things I would get done. Saying it didn’t all go according to plan would be an understatement. For instance, I figured my apartment would finally be spotless. And it was. A couple of times in the first couple of months. My kids were annoyed at my attempts to keep it that way and to avoid a lot of yelling and exasperation, I gave up and kept it at least cleaner than it had been when I had been holding down a full time day job. Ok, ok, I have to admit that in the beginning, daytime TV was very distracting but I think I can justify it because I’m now so knowledgeable, I could charge a consulting fee on how to win any case in small claims court. My back room still isn’t painted and I haven’t gotten to the Guggenheim, but I chalk that up to pure laziness. Admitting you have a problem is the first step in combating it!

Blogger Cheryl Atwell's ChildrenOne plus was the time I was able to give to my kids and their studies. I was able to attend every school trip that my first grader went on and it was great to be able to pick him up from school everyday and do his homework with him. Being home also meant being able to follow a dream and start a blog about parenting and kids, something I’d wanted to do for years but hadn’t had the time or energy. Thank goodness for YouTube tutorials, it’s where I learned everything about WordPress and how to format my blog. I had no clue how much work that aspect of it was going to be.

I also took the opportunity to pick up four classes at my college, the CUNY School of Professional Studies. I am so glad I found that program. It gives me the option to take all my classes online eliminating travel time and allowing me to see lectures and take tests anytime, day or night. My sons think it’s cool that I’m back in school. When the television is off and they are studying, I’m studying too and they’re inspired to work harder knowing how much I do. Next semester I’m so psyched to be taking beginning Chinese which my oldest took last semester and he’s promised to help me out, then we’ll finally be able to say things again that Khev, my 7 year old can’t understand. (He’s been able to figure out everything we’re spelling for two years, what a drag.)

I’ve challenged my teens to a ‘grade-off’, we are going to see who can get the best GPA. I’m determined to win. That way when they’re rolling their teenage eyes at my advice and thinking I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll be able to shove my grades in their faces and say things like, if you know so much, how come my grades are better than yours? Just (mostly) kidding. A good technology class is a must for me so I can stay on top of what my boys know and to help me stay competitive in the virtual world. My physical energy may be in short supply but I don’t need anyone to tell me that it will all be worth it, I’m already in now or never mode. I’m undaunted by the challenges I’m facing because I want to improve my family’s standard of living. By returning to school and earning high grades, I’m proactively creating my destiny. Feels great to have so much control.

Cheryl is a student at CUNY School of Professional Studies and the mother of three boys.  A former office manager, she currently writes a blog about her adventures in parenting called UrbanMommys.com.  In her spare time she likes to check out fun new places and things to do with children for her readers. 

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