Enjoying the chill of the freezers, I meander up and down the frozen food aisle of the Coles supermarket. The cool air is a welcome relief and I eye up the ice-cream cones longingly. A feral looking woman walks past me, scruffy in her tracksuit bottoms and flip flops. A young girl is being dragged along by her side, dirty blonde hair scraped into pig tails at the sides of her head. A few feet behind them follows a small boy on his scooter, in no particular hurry.
‘Get a move on you little c**t,’ a female Australian voice shrieks.
I realise it is the woman who has just walked past, calling to her young son. It doesn’t happen often, but I am momentarily lost for words. A young, childless, twenty-something, with idealistic views, I can’t help but pass judgement on her bad-parenting.
A few years pass and I now have a toddler of my own. Those rose-tinted spectacles have been discarded, as I’ve learnt that parenting is far more fluid in nature.
Becoming a mum and with young ears now in my presence I make deliberate steps to reign in my pre-mummy swearing. After all, I don’t want my son to be that little boy in the supermarket, who then goes on to shout obscenities at others. It might have been slightly amusing in the early days, when the cute garbled baby noises sounded like ‘bugger’, but now as toddler years are here, we have a little parrot in our midst.
There was the time we took our 18-month-old son to the local country show. The OH took him over to look at the remote controlled boats. Within minutes they were quickly shuffling back, little one with a big smile on his face. The OH’s head hung in embarrassment. The tale was re-told of how, at the top of his voice, our son had announced to all and sundry ‘ Snap, crackle, bollocks.’
I have never laughed so hard … but deep down I knew it would come back to bite me!
Now 3 years old, my son’s speech is developing day by day, with him desperately seeking out new words to add to his growing repertoire. We went for lunch last week in the local diner. After stuffing our faces with burgers, we headed over to the bar area to pay. My son perched on the bar stool, chatting away to himself whilst I swipe my plastic and settle the bill. As he climbs down from the stool, he loses his footing and stumbles a little. He looks up at me, huge grin on his face and announces, in perfect context, ‘I’m pissed!’
I hang my head in shame and shoo him out of there as fast as his little legs can carry him. I pray that no-one heard. I can just imagine the wagging tongues – tutting at such shocking language, labelling me a terrible mother!
Now, as I impatiently drag my son round the supermarket, moaning at him to get a move on, I’m not sure if it’s the freezer aisle or the memories of the scruffy Australian woman that makes my neck hair stand on end. ‘Come on you little monkey,’ I call. A huge grin lights up his face as he cheekily responds, ‘coming Mama.’
This post was written for the Yeah Write Weekly Challenge #151.