From the moment I became a parent I heard it from various sources: You are your child’s first teacher. Still, I didn’t truly know it until the first time I heard Julia shout “Dammit!” with the same tone and inflection I use when I say that word. I taught her that. She learned that “Dammit” is what you say when you’re frustrated from me. Luckily, that’s not all I’ve taught her. I’ve also taught her to say “please,” “thank you” and “excuse me.” So she also knows to say, “Oh, excuse me for saying dammit,” when she offends her grandmother.
My daughter has learned a lot from me; I see the product of my lessons everyday. I see it when she identifies all the letters in the headline of the newspaper or counts the stairs as she stomps down them in the morning. I see it when she puts a hand on her hip, wags her finger and makes a demand. I see it when she encourages her friends. It’s there when she offers to share the last bite. It’s there when she spells her name or replies to the question, “Guess what?” with “Chicken Butt.” It’s there when she points out each state on the U.S. map and when she points out that the kid in line behind us just picked his nose and ate the booger.
If there is anything real moms are doing, it is teaching our children. We will never have anyone pay as much attention to what we do and say as our children do. Real moms know this and we try our best to make it count.