Did You Have This Problem?Naomi Odes
Caution, after reading this, you will either be my best friend, or you will think I’m a sleep-deprived lunatic. If I’m lucky, both!
When Shnook came into our lives, and I began to talk to him, I realized I was a bit self-conscious about what I was saying. Consequently, I feared however I talked to my son would be how he would begin to talk, as well as form opinions and ideas in his mind. Things he is used to hearing will begin to be ingrained in his memory and vocabulary forever.
Of course, this would include statements of profanity, which the now two-year-old has caught onto quite nicely. Although we are quite proud that his syntax of the ‘F’ word is exactly correct, we’re not quite sure it’s going to make us so popular at his daycare. Of course, before his brain was corroded with curse words, there were other, seemingly less obscene, but more complex phrases I agonized over, right at the beginning of his life.
I began to develop this anxiety when he sneezed at three weeks old. This was about the time I began to spend my days alone with him. I’m sure he sneezed before this, but somehow this sneeze was more notable. Instinctively, I said: “Bless You!”
Then, I thought to myself: “Wait a minute. I don’t even know if I believe in God! Why am I saying ‘Bless you!’ when he sneezes? Why would I want him to learn that?”
So, I started to make a concerted effort to say ‘ ‘Gezundheit!’ instead of ‘Bless You! after my one-month-old child sneezed. I figured T is half German, so this made sense. Plus, I liked the ‘To Your Health” sentiment. (This is very rational, right?)
That was really, really hard. After saying “Bless you!” for 35 years post-sneeze, turns out you can’t just flip a switch and start saying ‘Gezundheit!’ I kept correcting myself and then feeling guilty about it. It was kind of nuts. Again, I blame sleep deprivation.
Finally, I gave up. Really, the whole concept of ‘Bless you!’ is ridiculous in all aspects- considering the reason it even came about was due to some irrational fear that the devil would occupy your soul after a sneeze…or something. So, I’m not sure why I even cared about the religious aspect of it.
I had other issues over my first son’s first year as well. For example, I never liked the term ‘Boo-boo’ for an injury. It took a while to settle on saying ‘Ouchie’ and to say it without feeling like an idiot. For the record, with Fuzz, I don’t have this problem. Today, Fuzz sneezed and I said “Bless You!” sweetly, with no hesitation.
I’m wondering if a lot of other new parents had any experience with this kind of thing?
Or am I alone?