NYC has many pros and cons. Some of the pros are the diverse group of people, the vibrant energy, and the fact that I can hail a cab or walk a half block to the subway at almost any hour. But one thing that I dislike, the con that outweighs all other cons, is attempting to cross the street with lovely Aiden (be it in his stroller or holding my hand) while stup*d id*ot drivers are on the road! You guys know exactly who I'm talking about -- the kind of people who must have gotten their drivers license out of a cracker-jack box or paid lots of money to some poor soul to give them a license... yeah, those people.
As Aiden and I were crossing the street a few weeks ago, I followed all of the rules of the road: I waited my turn and modeled for Aiden exactly how we cross the street by showing him the little man on the traffic sign who will eternally be frozen mid-step; I told him that when we see that tiny little figure, it is our turn to cross the street; and then we proceeded to cross. Until some id*ot driver sped down the road and ran the red light. In my version of road rage (I don't have a drivers license yet, can you believe it?), I yelled out, "Id*ot, can't you see I have a CHILD with me?!" Yep... I was angry! But of course the driver could care less. He just kept on speeding off. Who did care about what I had to say was my lovely little Aiden. After my explosion in the middle of the street, he innocently asked, "Mommy, what happened?" And I responded, "Nothing. Some people just don't know how to drive!" Can you believe I had this conversation with a 2-year-old?
After we arrived at our destination safely and sanely (I had no more outbursts for that day...yay!), I thought about my language and choice of the words I used in front of Aiden. I silently vowed not to have an outburst like that in front of him again because I wanted to model what an appropriate response should be. And by "model" I mean that I actually do the things that I would like Aiden to do, as opposed to just telling him what I'd like him to do. Of course that didn't happen right away. A few days later as we were on our way to his preschool, another id*ot driver ran a red light and instead of yelling out "id*ot," I said to myself, "Ugh! What an id*ot!" Once again, the driver could care less and just kept speeding away. And once again, Aiden asked, "Mommy, what happened?" But instead of having the inappropriate conversation with him, I simply said, "Oh nothing, Aiden."
In the words of Britney Spears, "OOPS! I did it again!" But hey... old habits die hard, right? It's been a few weeks since then and I've stopped calling bad drivers id*ots... out loud. Instead, I hum the tune, "Hello driver... we are people trying to cross the street!" in a very calm and soothing way... with my high-pitched voice, of course. And I keep reinforcing to Aiden that we have to wait our turn before crossing the street. After all, he has years of playground action and schooling in which he'll probably pick up a bad word or two... why should I add to it with my use of the "I" word.