11 11/13/2012 parenting Parenting Issues

Little Pitchers and The Art of Swearing.

On the long ride home from the cottage, we cued up the iPad on shuffle-play, and just let the tunes hit us. We have all kinds of music on it, and since we’ve never really cowed to the children’s musical tastes, we’re gleefully free of Itsy Bitsy Spider-type songs, and anything by The Wiggles. It’s good for them, anyhow – a varied musical education is important, dammit.

The downside is most of the music is… um… decidedly grown-up.

I hear the soulful, raspy crooning of Lauren Hill, and think, “The Fugees… wicked!! I didn’t even know this album was on here…” and my head starts bobbing on my neck as the beat drops one-two, one-two.
Soon I hear the familiar plucking sound of Madame’s left thumb leaving her mouth, and she says, “Mummy? That lady said motherf*&%ker,” and she pops her thumb back into her mouth.
I let my head sag into the headrest and roll my head to the side to look at my husband, who draws his top lip between his teeth to keep from laughing. He won’t even look at me. I am on my own.
“Ah… yes, she did.”
Slurping noise. “Well, she’s not a lady then if she says motherf*&%ker. Because we’re not supposed to say motherf*&%ker, because motherf*&%ker is a bad word. And we get in trouble if we say motherf*&%ker.” I can hear her grinning without even having to turn around. Picking up on other people’s swear words has been a favourite pastime of hers for a while now. Little pitchers have big ears, and this kid hears everything. And she thinks she is soooooo clever, you see.
Sly & Dangerous.
A blue-streaker in the making… just like her mama Lauren Hill.
“Ava Scarlett, I heard her say it. Her name is Lauren Hill, and she’s a singer. Sometimes grown-ups say these things, but you don’t need to repeat them. You know better than that.”
Oliver pipes up and asks, “But why is it okay for adults and not for kids to say?”
I look at Martin who is very busy driving and he refuses to look in my direction.
“Well, um… well….” Martin makes no motion to help me at all. Jerk-ass jerk. “Well… swear words are used for emphasis, when you want to make a strong point about something. They’re used on purpose. But, they’re also kind of lazy. You can’t use them all the time.”
“Oh, ” Oliver says.
“Yeah, and adults know ALL the words, so when they choose a swear word, it’s because it fits better than any of the others they can think of. Children don’t know ALL the words yet. You’re still learning them. You have to read a lot. And it sounds pretty disgusting when a child says rude words like that. When you hear, You kiss your mother with that mouth? that’s said back to someone who has just finished swearing a blue streak that’s so disgusting, you can’t believe they’d use that toilet-caca-mouth to kiss their own mother. You understand? It’s not very polite. There are other words to use, you know? You can think of better ones.”
“But nobody knows ALL the words,” he says by way of concession. I shoot him a look that says, come on, man.
“Oliver said shit once.” Her sly eyes glance at him, and she grins. What a bum.
I shout, “Ava Scarlett! KNOCK it OFF!! Stop repeating! Please!!”
“Well, he did!”
“No I didn’t!!” Oliver is giggling up a storm, and weakly protesting.
“Holy crap, you guys.” Peals of laughter ensue, and I turn my face to the window so they can’t see me smiling. Trying to raise decent kids is hard, yo.
This is part of the reason why I blog – so I can use ALL the swears I know, sometimes in a single sentence. And yes, I do kiss my internets with this mouth
Do you swear at home? Are your kids repeaters?
  • Sonya

    So funny…my kids hear me swear all the time but I’ve never heard them. They laugh when they here me swear…kinda like how I laugh when I hear MY mom say shit or bitch. I’ve told my kids it’s ok those regular swear words – sometimes it’s a stress release – better than hitting a wall or something but be mindful of who’s around. Don’t think grandma would be pleased.
    Just reminded me of the other day when I was listening to Chris Brown’s “Look at me now” and my 12 yr old said “MOM! You know that song is SO not appropriate..have you heard the words??”
    My husband didn’t react but beamed me a look and kept his lips sealed waiting for my response!

  • Kath

    Oh, and for the record, my 12yo knows all the words and I know she says some of ’em with her friends. I don’t care. I swore a lot in my youth, and in some circles, I still do swear a lot these days (got 50% Newfie genes, don’t ya know). If I accidentally swear in front of my kids, though, they TOTALLY FREAK OUT ON ME! I probably did too good a job of dissuading them from swearing when they were little and it’s backfiring now.
    What I’ve always told my kids was that people will judge you (and your parents) by what you say. Now, how do you want them to think of you when they hear you speak? As a well-read, well-spoken, intelligent individual who can choose the apt word for the situation from among the quarter of a million-odd words in the world’s richest language? Or would you rather use a lazy word like shit or fuck.
    This also works for poor grammar and syntax, as me and my friends all know.

  • Kath

    You know, I really needed a smile, and you just put one on my lips. Merci, ma chère.

  • Tracey

    Dude. I know. *fist bumps you*

  • Sara

    I don’t even have to reply because you know my potty mouth does not stay closed at home. I’m certainly toning it down – but it’s part of who I am and that effing kid will just have to gdamn deal with it.

  • Tracey

    Julie, that’s JUST IT!! And she thinks she’s sooooo smart… gah. CHILDREN!! Who’s idea were they, anyway??!

  • Tracey

    This is true, Jen. Totally. Only, I wish she was ten, and not 4 and a half. OY!! It’s okay though… I’m a horrible example, after all. 😉

  • Julie

    i love it how kids feel it’s not really swearing when “using it in a sentence” 🙂 “what does $#@% mean?” we recently stumbled on my youngest’s “book of bad words”. she was keeping them to ask us about later to get the meanings 🙂

  • Jen

    No matter what you do your children will try them out. Better not to make a big deal so they won’t either. My 13 y/o and his buddies are well into the gratuitous swearing but they usually refrain when an adult is around. Respect, yah know 🙂

  • Tracey

    Well, I use them LIKE A BOSS when I’m sans children… when they’re with me, I just lie, and tell them only their other grandmother talks like that. That’s how I learned to do it with so much colour. It’s an art-form, you know. 😉

  • Patricia

    um, I happen to know for a f&cking FACT that you CAN use them all the time. I did just last night at the pool hall, as a matter of f&cking fact. 😀

More Posts From The Parenting Category

One Step Forward, Three Steps Back: Is It Impossible To…

Confession: I'm not a perfect mom. In fact, sometimes it feels like there's a lot I have yet to learn. Take, for…

Is Your Teenager Entitled To An Allowance?

As a kid, I was enamoured with the idea of an allowance. In the 80s, there were plenty of happy families portrayed on…

Michele Kambolis: How To Solve Your Nighttime Wetting B…

Wetting the bed can seem like a nightmare, whether it's the child going through it or the parent dealing with it.…

Your Teen's Messy Bedroom Isn't A Problem. It's Art.

"I'll do it later." "I'm doing homework." "I like it this way." By now you've probably heard every excuse…