Thursday, July 26, 2007

Holy @#$%! You can't say that!

3B is babbling up a storm, but doesn't clearly say any words right now beyond "mama" and "dada," which he occasionally uses to refer to Mama and me. As he gets closer to actually talking with, like, words and syntax and stuff, we're starting to become a little more aware of and get a little more scared of our own potty mouths. OK, to be honest, they do sometimes devolve into drunken-sailors-in-a-bar-brawl mouths, like when that @#$%&! nearly ran down Mama, 3B, and Barky in the crosswalk yesterday.

For the most part, however, it's just the occasional slip of the tongue. Then again, that's all it takes for a kid to go astray, start cursing, then move on to more depraved activities, like burping, farting, and eating Oreos without milk. Even worse, when he grows up, he might become a foul-mouthed blogger (one can only hope).

I know from experience that it doesn't take much. Growing up, we never cursed in my house. Nobody did. OK, except Dad, when he was really mad about something, which is when those years in the Navy really paid off. But somehow, in second grade, I was busted twice in one week for saying"shit" on the playground. Granted, it was appropriate, in context, and gramatically correct, but Mom was not impressed.

I know that I'm not the only parent struggling with this issue, and I'm not the first to blog about it. I've even got adult readers--and a new one too, so I might have to bump my readership numbers to seven--who are struggling with whether or not to curse at their job. And it really is a dilemma for me, since I agree with George Carlin that there are no such things as bad words. Words are merely tools, and their value is determined by their utility. Then again, as Ani says, "every tool is a weapon if you hold it right," so words can be used to hurt, and to express ugly thoughts.

So, what to do with 3B? Teach him that certain words are bad? Teach him that we don't use certain words? Let him say whatever the hell he wants, ensuring long afternoons in the principal's office for him and frequent parent-teacher conferences for us?

Any suggestions, insights, and cute stories about your kids cursing inappropriately that you're willing to share are welcome. Especially before our little !@#$%$@# really starts talking.

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  1. Anonymous10:09 PM

    Two words, my friend...Curse. Jar. Anytime the wife or I curse in front of the Peanut, we have to put a dollar in the jar. We've been doing it for about a month and already the college fund is up to $60. Sadly, I've contributed $58 to my wife's $2.

    Shit, nobody fucking said it was going to be easy!

  2. We refer to those words around here as "bad daddy" words. Mommy does not use them (since that is what your parents taught her) and the kids are not allowed to.

    They pick up words that are said with special emphasis so much faster than the rest of the English language. I remember one night when I was washing a little girl's hair. She hated the whole shampoo process (a situation that has reversed over the last 14 years and now I cannot keep her out of the shower, but I digress.) She was screaming the one word which was said with special emphasis in her presence which was not forbidden. Her name. At full voice. Repeatedly. I did my best not to laugh.

  3. MD: I do hope that in addition to the words you teach the Peanut, you also teach her how to curse with your skill, so that if she develops a potty mouth, at least she won't be a foul-mouthed boor, but a poet of the profane.

    CAGirl: If that's the case, I think that 3B's first curse word may be "BARKY!"

  4. My friend who has a daughter had to completely just cut out the curse words out of her working vocabulary. I admire her and all of you new parents! I think I'll stick with comedy.

  5. Oh, the dilemma.

    We're in the same boat.
    So far, Gage has said, "bullshit", "shit", "crap", & "fuck." But, in his defense: fuck is actually his abbreviated word for firetruck, and in his world--it is the sound his mouth makes when he is pointing at or holding a frog. So, he's using that word, but not using it properly (what a waste...)

    Anyway.... we're having to watch our mouths too.
    It's very, very difficult....

  6. My cousin was about three years old. She was playing Spyro or some video game or another. One false move, and she smacked herself on the head and cried, "God, I'm such a douchebag!" Mommy cleaned up her language really quick!

    I also inadvertantly taught my nephew "Fuck!!!!" (yes, all those exclamation points were needed) In my own defense, though- I said it, ONCE, when he hit my as yet unstablized broken elbow. And it did fuckin' hurt!

  7. Somehow we've avoided this issue even though SillyBilly's sliding toward 5. We're just not cursers I guess.

    The closest we came to this problem was when he was just learning to speak, and every time we drove in the car we'd hear his little voice from the back seat say "cock!"..."cock!"

    Turned out he was trying to say "truck."

    But we do talk about how some things are just not nice to say. SillyBilly likes to torment his sister by calling her "nothing," as in "you're just a nothing girl." It's just teetering on the edge of being mean...but it bugs her so we still tell him to stop.

    At lunch today we worked in a whole conversation about the Golden Rule: Do you want someone to hit YOU? Do you want someone to yell at YOU? I tell you, we even busted out the Bible for that one.