sorrynotsorryOne of the joys of toddlerhood, so far, has been hearing Freya learning to talk.

When she comes out with different words, sometimes even a cobbled together sentence, it feels like a reward for all of those months I spent jabbering about anything and everything (intermittently singing the wrong words to nursery rhymes) while she sat there, often with a look on her face that screamed: “Will you fricking shut up for five minutes, woman. I NEED TO THINK.”

However, it has been interesting, or maybe eye-opening is a better way of describing it, in highlighting the way I interact with people – rather like looking in a mirror under really harsh changing room lights.

While I get a little thrill every time she says “please” or “thank you” without any prompting and smother a chuckle when she says frustratedly: “Come ON, daddy” my heart takes a dive when she says “sorry” (sowee) when she’s hasn’t done anything wrong – a lot.

At first I thought it was because I’d made her apologise a few times after she had purposely hurt another child or snatched something they were playing with but I didn’t make a big deal out of it  – at least not to the point where she would be saying it as much as she does.

And then I realised…it’s all me. She must hear me say it on average half a dozen times in a day – even when I’m not sorry.

Take yesterday, as a “treat” I took her into the city on the bus but an older woman was sat in the wheelchair/pram section with her huge wire-framed shopping trolley and only moved when I pointed out, nicely, that I couldn’t leave Freya parked in the walkway. She huffed and she puffed and grumbled to her friend about it even though she only had to move one seat, less than a foot away –  and I stood up the entire way so she could leave her trolley where it was. I must have apologised three times – even though I really didn’t think I was in the wrong. I mean, the alternative would have been for us to get off the bus again. I suppose I could have taken Freya out but I think it’s safer for her to be strapped into her buggy and goodness knows how I would have got her and the heavy folded buggy safely off the bus again. I would have certainly needed someone to hold on to her for me, which isn’t ideal.

I say sorry for things I don’t need to be sorry for all the time; if someone bumps into me, I say sorry. If someone is holding a door and I don’t feel I’m getting there fast enough, I say sorry. If I disagree with what someone’s opinion I say, I’m sorry but… The list goes on.

I know why I do it, I’ve been taught that it is polite and particularly to respect my elders – even when they are wrong – but it has also become just something to say. And I know a lot of, mainly, women have the same “verbal tic” – it even featured in a shampoo advert that went viral.

Now it’s clear that Freya has picked up on it I need to stop – or at least not do it as much. Obviously there are FAR worse things she could be saying but I want her to know she only has to apologise when she has actually done something wrong – and for it to mean something.

Anyway, sorry if this post has offended anyone…oh. This might take some work.

* Sorry if you have that song stuck in your head all day now. Gah! Someone send help.