My youngest daughter, whom I refer to as Mini Me 3 in my blogs, turned two last month and has recently started talking a lot more which is lovely....most of the time! As well as communicating her wants and likes and dislikes to us, she seems to have latched onto the phrase "Shut Up". We never say this to our kids but Mini Me 1 and Mini Me 2 sometimes say this to each other when they argue. Mini Me 3 must have heard it twice before she decided it was a fabulous thing to say to people. Not only does she use it liberally but she uses it in context. Of course we tell her not to say it but sometimes she uses it so perfectly (like when her sisters are arguing) that I silently applaud her.
"How Dare You"
Another delightful phrase that Mini Me 3 has recently learn is "How Dare You". Again, we hardly ever say this to our kids but they've probably said it to each other. Now Mini Me 3 combines it with "Shut up" and says it with abandon. I once laughed at something cute that she did and she looked at me and shouted "How dare you Mama! Shut up". That was me told.
Like most two year olds, Mini Me isn't the placid little go-with-the-flow baby that she once was. She now has her own ideas and wants more control over her own life. So these days when I suggest something to her like "come on let's have lunch" she indignantly shouts "No! Not!" at me. To be honest I find it ridiculously cute!
She slapped my glasses off my face
On the plus side she's now just verbally abusive instead of physically abusive! Yay! She went through a phase of slapping people (often really hard). Once she actually slapped my glasses right off my face. It was in public. It hurt. That was a pretty long phase but she seems to be mostly over it now. Hopefully she'll get over the whole telling-people-to-shut-up phase soon too. We are doing a few things to encourage her to use her words a little more kindly:
Ignoring her behaviour
This is quite difficult to do when you actually want her to do something and she screams "No! Shut up" at you in public. This happened the other day when were at the swimming pool and I told her it was time to go home. Literally everyone in the pool turned to look at us. I told Mini Me 3 off nicely and took her out of the pool and she then had a tantrum and ended up screaming and rolling around face down on the poolside floor. It's a hot-bed for verrucas so literally the worst place your kid can be rolling around face down!
Pretending she is saying something else
Sometimes when Mini Me 3 is just launching into her most heartfelt "Shut ups" we pretend she is trying to sing that super annoying viral hit song "Baby Shark" and then she does actually start singing it!
Teaching her positive phrases
I always tell the kids I love them and Mini Me 3 has started to say it back. It's so cute when she says "I love you Mama" and she personalises this phrase to everyone in the family. The whole family has been overdoing the "I love yous" just to get her to say kinder things to people. This morning I told her she was beautiful and she said it back to me and to her sisters and her Daddy. So we are making progress.
Teaching her insults in another language
The other day, after being told to shut up 50 times that morning, my husband taught Mini Me 3 to say shut up in Twi. Obviously if she pronounces it correctly then any Ghanaian people within earshot will think she's the rudest kid around. So it's only slightly the lesser of two evils.
You would think that I had been through all the crazy toddler phases before as she's my third child. But kids always surprise you with their unique approach to life. I'm hoping that Mini Me 3 hasn't got tourettes and that she will soon get bored at yelling at people. And at least she's not telling people to "f*** off".......yet! She'll probably replace this with an equally delightful phase! I'll keep you posted! Meanwhile do let me know if you have kids and have experienced anything similar and what you did to discourage it.