I am one of those unfortunate douchebags who falls back on sarcasm all too frequently. It’s not a great trait. It’s especially not great when in the company of a toddler learning the ins and outs of verbal communication.
Cursing has been easier for me to curb than expected with adequate replacements to sub in like “mother forker” or “holy shiitake.” But where to go with the sarcasm? There is no substitute aside from simply doing away with it completely. I am left with nothing to fill the void.
I have already started to witness the negative effects with my two year old. The other day I let a “thanks, man” slip past my lips as I saw his lunch plate slip from his tiny grasp after being too slow to grab it myself after he was done with his meal.
In that moment, I just put tossing his plate on the ground on the same level as holding the door open or changing my tire. I just accidentally encouraged the behavior I wanted to correct. I gave him the green light to continue throwing his plate like he’s at a Greek wedding because my “thanks, man” was nothing more than an expression of appreciation when it comes to my son’s budding comprehension.
So I did some reflecting on where the breakdown was happening in order to improve. Communicating with a two year old is a lot like sending a text saying you’re having a “great time” at that funeral or telling someone in their second language that you “love” Nickelback. The tone, the context, the things that give language dimension are all acquired and understood the further you advance your understanding of that language. Next thing you know, your mother is asking if it’s one of those Irish wakes or you are smiling awkwardly during a German’s best rendition of Photograph.
I think I have a few years before I can even start explaining to my child that I mean something entirely different based on the inflection of my voice, then have to explain inflection because it never stops at just one explanation with a toddler. So I’ll tuck the sarcasm away for now in the interest of not having a home where my children are spilling milk and drawing on the walls while expecting praise. I’ll bring it back when the time is right, like when I tell that once toddler boy that a neck tattoo is a wonderful idea.