My sister has a cockatiel who rings like a telephone and then, putting his foot up to his ear (I am not making this up), says “Hello?”
Last night I was cooking dinner when I overheard my 6 year-old daughter, who was on the sofa with a book, saying “Now [4 year-old brother], I really need some alone time. You never let me have time for myself!” (I am not making this up either).
Gee, I wonder where she heard that? Do I say that kind of thing a lot? Probably. I like “alone time” and I don’t get much of it anymore. Does my sister talk on the phone a lot? Well, certainly enough for her cockatiel to have noticed!
The point is that children, like parrots, imitate what they hear. That is a scary realization. If I am being “less than mature” and pouty because I want “my alone time,” how can I be surprised when my children are “less than mature” and pouty because they want another story and it is 8PM on a school night.
My baby girl says “yeah” instead of yes. I guess I say “yeah” a lot instead of yes too. Among the first words of my two oldest was “actually,” used grammatically correctly. Actually, never until then, did I actually realize that I say “actually” a lot.
It is hard being a parent and having to set a perfect example 24 hours a day. Sometimes, I just want to pick my nose. There. I said it. Online, for the world to read. It is up to you to decide if I want to “literally” pick my nose (don’t worry, I won’t post photos), or figuratively pick my nose.
So…parents beware. Pick your nose in private only. And make sure that your most daring cuss word is “actually,” otherwise your child’s preschool teacher will have a good laugh!
Parrot photo thanks to morguefile.com and photographer lightfoot. Nose-picker photo thanks to morguefile.com and photographer David Kitchenham (www.photomime.co.uk).