Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hello, My Name is Laura, and I am a Potty Mouth

Let’s get right to the heart of the issue. I swear. I swear a lot. And I enjoy swearing. It has been years since I embraced my inner sailor and in that time I have become quite skilled at the art of cursing. I mix words in new and unique ways that grab attention, elicit chuckles and sometimes gasps. I know when to switch up my words of choice to maximize their impact and when to drop a classic F-bomb. In the years I have cultivated an extensive vocabulary of profanity and use it like a true scholar of potty talk. While this was well and good when I was childless, my salty language has now become problem. I first recognized this as an issue when Big Dog, at the tender age of 2 began imitating his bad mommy. And I laughed. I know that was the wrong thing to do, really. But when a rather angelic looking child, with his sparkling blue eyes looks up and says “fuck”, the absolute contradiction of word and speaker is hilarious. I try to hide my face so he doesn’t see my amusement, but it is difficult to be the voice of parental authority when giggles invade your stern admonishments.
Earlier this year, one of his daycare teachers took a moment to let me know Big Dog had been using “not for daycare words” on occasion. This particular teacher has a knack for making me feel less like an accomplished career woman and more like a naughty unwed teenage mother. Quite a feat considering I am married and far from teenage (no comment on the "naughty"). I had a momentary panic, oh God, which word? Lists of explicatives rolled through my mind. Turns out his choice was “Damn it.” In my book this is so mild it is almost not swearing. But my world is not a daycare, so I listened. It appears that my little man has picked up mommy’s bad habit of exclaiming “Damn it” when dropping something. I promised the teacher we’d work on it, but at the same time I felt vaguely proud that he was using it in a correct context! Nice one kid, you may have a future in this after all. I have been trying to tone down my propensity for obscenities. I have replaced a few words of my more choice words with their more benign and accepted kin. And even as I do this, I realize profanities are sprinkled liberally thorough out many aspect of my daily life. While many of these word in context slip right past Big Dog’s ears without notice, others are immediately pounced upon. For example, in the car a few months ago we were listening to my current favorite CD. (Lily Allen’s Alright Now) Well, I was listening to it, and it turns out my underage passenger was attentively listening as well. One of the song contains the line “well it’s very funny cos I got your fuckin’ money”. Big Dog immediately repeated back part of that line, and it sure wasn’t the “it’s very funny” part. Being that this happened within days of the daycare incident, I swung into full mommy mode. I told him that wasn’t a nice phrase, and that he shouldn’t repeat it. In fact it was bad that mommy was listening to this while he was in the car. To which he replied “fuckin’ money”, with an impish smile. As futile as my attempts to figuratively wash out my mouth with kid friendly soap may be, I will forge on. If not because it is the “right” thing to do, then out of the fear of being forced to explain my child’s unique and varied vocabulary in many future parent-teacher conferences.

1 comment:

Irish Chicken Soup said...

Hilarious. Your kid is my new hero. Personally, I was somewhat raised in a bar and by some manner of coincidence spent a lot of time in those little meetings. :)

I'll definitely come back and read more at a time when I'm not avoiding going to sleep when I have to get up early.

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