Monkey See, Monkey Do

I have acquired the distinction of being one of those rare moms (or perhaps the only mom) who, after seeing her precious bundle for the first time, exclaimed, “Gawd! He looks like a monkey!!” Hence, I feel the title to this piece is especially appropriate.

Monkey See, Monkey Do


However, I didn’t write this piece with the object of recounting to you the sacredness and preciousness of that moment. Instead, I wanted to relate to you one of the important parenting lessons that my husband and I got during the course of these nine years of bringing up our kids. The number one epiphany that we had was that children will “do as you do.” In other words, we had better lead by example, rather than believe that a few well-chosen words of advice delivered to the offsprings will suffice!

This was first brought very firmly and soundly to us at the sight of Big A flinging one of his toys across the room in a fit of temper. The background to that episode was that my husband did have the most unfortunate habit of lobbing nearby things onto the floor when he was angry. No doubt it temporarily relieves stress and the repercussion of such an act was not felt when Big A was an infant, but the action was carefully noted by the progeny during those ‘pleasant’ toddler years.

At the next opportunity, when informed by his mater that he would not, despite his best vocal efforts, be given a piece of candy just before his lunch, he lost no time in seizing a nearby toy and throwing it with all his might. My shocked face and exclamations of dismay did not faze him in the least. In fact, he had a most annoying, smug and satisfied look on his face as to the distance he cleared. His lone explanation for such behaviour was, of course, that ‘Daddy does it!’ ‘Daddy’ was made to feel the entire, crushing wrath of Mommy after this admission and from then on, a new habit, or rather an un-habit of not throwing things when agitated, was born.

Now, to come to my own indiscretions; I had what is known as a potty-mouth. Four letter words, like H***, D***, S*** and F***, very easily slipped out of my mouth. I have a brother, as well as many male cousins, and was well-trained in these aspects. Also, I completed my formal training of vernacular insults while in college. Suffice to say, I always had a large range of words and phrases to utter to anyone who tried to cut me off in traffic.

After Big A was born, I tried to control my once-free speech. This was extremely hard and I ended up saying things like “Shii-eesh”, “Helllloo”, and “Fu–oosh”!! Despite my best efforts, one or two of those dynamites would escape me and that, obviously was once too often. The highlight of my ‘training’ was my two-year old sitting in the waiting lounge of Las Vegas airport, and on dropping his cookie onto the ground, in a very clear, penetrating voice carrying all the way into the next arriving flight, no doubt, emitting the words, “F***!!!” As much as we tried to disassociate ourselves from this apparently homeless-child-criminal, it was not to be, and we had to unceremoniously stuff his mouth with another cookie and take him to look at the aeroplanes parked in another side of the building. My potty-mouth was then forever washed with the soap of shame and humiliation.

In the case of my younger son, Little a, the younger monkey follows whatever the elder monkey does, with little attention or regard being given to the parents, so the whole scenario has continued with watching the older one’s behaviour and hissing at him to stop, lest his brother imitate him, if he does anything that would jeopardize the younger one’s social status. Still, I fully expect Little a to enter kindergarten with full knowledge of the lyrics and dance steps of Gangnam style, and a superior attitude to anyone who can’t name all the Super Mario characters.

RoshniΒ was born and brought up in Calcutta and is now living in California.Β Her two rambunctious boys, Big A, age 8, and Little a, age 4, are the main subjects of her blog ( and she can be found tweeting away (@RoshniAaMom) in her free time (you may well ask, what free time?!)

  • Amrita Thavrani

    Ha Ha , you had me in splits. Yes, I often in middle of a heated arguments.. started singing… FU…mmm.. tara.. rum…. I count this no-using-fowl-words as biggest sacrifice of parents πŸ™‚

    • Roshni

      Glad you can relate, Amrita!! ahahhaha!!!

  • Can the you imagine how tough it is for a guy to change post parenthood…..: πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • Can you imagine how tough it is for a guy to change post parenthood….. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    • Roshni

      I guess it’s difficult for any of us indisciplined types!! We get a major dose of discipline once we’re parents!!

  • Jack


    Absolutely right you are. We started addressing each other as Dad and Mom lest children call us by our names.

    Take care

    • Roshni

      Thanks, uncle! Yes, I know of many people who do the same for that very reason! πŸ˜€

  • Oh good… so I am not the only one who get’s the “It’s your fault” look from the Hubby when Sass tells a classmate that “Dat’s Batsh*t.” πŸ™‚ And he TOTALLY looked like a hairless, orange monkey when he was born….

    • Roshni

      LOL at the Batsh*t comment!!! Well, he looks adorable now!!! πŸ˜€

  • LOL πŸ˜€ True, how much we have to adapt ourselves πŸ˜€

    • Roshni

      I guess, we *finally* grow up!!

  • Parenting makes you aware of soooo many things you never thought of before–from language, to attitude, to food choices…even down to driving behavior! I try to do my best b/c I know these kids are soaking everything up like a sponge. Love the story about your little guy at the airport!

    • Roshni

      Sponge is a good term to use to describe them, Meredith! Only, I wish they would imbibe our good qualities more than the bad!!

  • chattywren

    This was a hilarious read Roshni! Seriously, these little ones are watching us all the time, it’s uncanny. We have to watch our step all the time. One of my friends tells me she and her husband schedule their fights after their son goes to sleep!!!

    • Roshni

      ahahhaha!! Yes, we too have had to be very careful about when and how we fight! No raising voices, although later we thought it might be a good idea to demonstrate that adults too can have a disagreement but can handle it with maturity and understanding!

  • Hilarious, this one is!! I can very well relate to it cuz’ I too had a little ‘F-mouth’, which got washed (just like yours), when my 15-month old San almost said the F-word after she tripped! And I wonder WHY the kids pick up the bad words faster (and better)! πŸ™‚

    • Roshni

      I can’t imagine San saying that!!, lol!!!

  • You are so right! Watching my language has been one of my biggest parenting challenges, and I am not entirely successful all the time. πŸ™

    • Roshni

      okay, I finally see it, Mrs Sprwngeeeeee!!!! πŸ˜€

  • Next time I will not trust spellcheck. Sorry about my weird last name up there…

    • Roshni

      hmmm…don’t see it! Looks like the internet black-hole swallowed it up! πŸ™

  • This was great! I too have a potty mouth and it’s been tough to reel it in for the sake of the boys. And yes, you are so right about the little brothers imitating the big brothers — for better and for worse!

    • Roshni

      you would definitely know about that, Emily, with your three boys! πŸ˜€

  • Hahah … Good one Roshni … I relate to both throwing things and potty mouth tales !! So much to change!!

    • Roshni

      Thanks, Divya! Yes, we changed a lot after kids!!

  • Classic! ‘What do is so loud, that I can’t hear what you say’, as they say!

    Those watchful, prying eyes are watching everything. And soaking it all up. Every single thing! πŸ™‚ Ready to ape. Ape, did I say!?! hmm!

    • Roshni

      Aping is a very good word to use in this case! πŸ™‚

  • Jas

    hahaha πŸ™‚ They are always awake even when you don’t know πŸ™‚

    • Roshni

      True!! You don’t even realize that and that’s the time you let loose a swear word that they totally pick up!!

  • gosh!!… its so true.. whether happy or not, our children change us completely.. its gonna b super difficult for my husband .. πŸ™‚

    • Roshni

      πŸ™‚ tough for all potty mouths, but worth it!

  • Jay

    Such a good post Roshni, parenting is truly the hardest job I’ve ever had to do!

    • Roshni

      I absolutely agree with that, Jay!

  • Parenthood is a time of learning, oops! unlearning many things! Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    • Roshni

      Absolutely!! We learn to unlearn quite a few things!! πŸ˜€

  • Roshni, just loved your post. Had me laughing although it is indeed a serious matter..

    • Roshni

      Thank you, Shail! I did try to instill humor in it; it’s funny to think about it now, although at that time, we were mortified!

  • πŸ™‚ Too funny.

    My brother has the ability to really string together some curse words. One of his first son’s first full sentences was “Who left this f***ing tire in the middle of the driveway?”



    • Roshni

      Who indeed!! LOL!!!

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