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Passing on Our Bad Habits…and Good Ones

an illustration of a man and a woman shouting at each other
My toddler’s speech and language has come on in full force in the past 6 months – it’s been a joy to watch her taking pleasure in new ways of communicating. I’ve been surprised by how clear her speech has been – it’s been easy for strangers to understand her. But this has led me to some moments of embarrassment – strangers have been able to easily understand when she uses words I’d rather she didn’t repeat – “Oh dammit!” comes out with the perfect timing, along with a some other more extreme words (*#$!!@*%$) that I didn’t realize I must say quite frequently. I have been feeling self-conscious about it and disappointed that I haven’t been able to keep my own swearing under control. To be honest, I hadn’t even realized I used some of these words. What else was she learning from me!?

But then, I was watching her play with her teddies the other day – we’d wrapped one up in a swaddle and she was feeding and rocking it as a baby. She picked it up, held it close to her chest and nuzzled in, patting teddy softly on the back. She said in a gentle and soft voice, “ohhh, my baby girl” comforting teddy in just the same way I do with her. And it helped put the swearing in perspective. Yes, there are things I am passing on that I would rather not (the swearing is just one of them), but there are also many things she is experiencing that I am so proud to be able to share with her – things that I have had to work hard to learn myself. And so, while there are still many more habits I know I will unwittingly share, be them good and bad, the work I have done and am doing in embodying the Circle of Security is making a difference in our lives.

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