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Friday, March 20, 2009

Watch your language! And please, mine too.

I don't usually swear on this blog. But I sometimes do in real life. It may not be ladylike, but sometimes it's very effective in expressing how you feel about something. I don't, however, swear all the time. I can have a long conversation without even the shadow of a curse word passing my lips. I don't have to edit my thoughts to replace words with *beep* sounds or have to quickly think of something that will be less offensive to the other person's ears than what I was originally going to say. To use a SATC reference, may not be a Charlotte, but I'm not a Samantha or Miranda, either. I'm more of a Carrie: I do use the words, but I can just as easily not. (Which is where my similarities with Carrie end.)

However if you heard my toddler the last couple of days, you'd think otherwise. She seems to have realized what words are curse words and what are normal ones, and somehow gathered all the ones I've used in the past few months in her little head and has been coming up with these expressions, perfectly timed, and sounding exactly like me. I have been lucky that my husband hasn't heard this lovely display of the effects of my parenting, or I would never hear the end of it. I have also been lucky for her not to have broken into haiku-like reciting of a string of these colorful expressions when we are with company, especially Swiss friends, who generally swear very little and would no doubt very much frown at the proof that I do, in fact, swear often, and in front of the children, to boot!

Since this started I have tried to decrease my use of profanity even less, to almost non-existent, unless am not in the company of my daughters (or unless I hurt myself, which is when I cannot guarantee compliance with my plan.) But it doesn't seem to help.

While I was changing her diaper yesterday, I said "Oh!" when I almost dropped something on the floor. And Stella cheerfully recited, as if on prompt: "Oh, s***. Oh, f***". And then proceeded to giggle, when she noticed I was staring at her horrified and speechless. (And believe me, I am not often speechless. I am well known for never shutting up.)

And then last night, I was at the pc and something went wrong, and I said "What the..." and she finished my sentence: "f***" - while also staring at the screen. And then she recited "What the f***?" to which I replied: "No, we say oopsie. Oopsie!" and she shook her head and resolutely said: "No. F***." The next minute or so were a match between "oopsie" and the f-word, until I just changed topic altogether, since oopsie didn't seem to be prevailing.

And I wonder: how bad should I feel about this? Is this a measure of my parenting? I feel more embarrassed to admit it than I actually feel bad about it. I do not want my daughters to grow into foul-mouthed teens (and adults), but really, how bad is this?

I know what my husband would say to that. It's very bad. It's very very bad that they know those words. And I agree, but is it really that much of a big deal? And then I remember how stubborn Stella is. How she still, to this day, doesn't go to sleep on her own, and doesn't stay in her crib from beginning to end. How she doesn't ever do anything she doesn't want to. How she remembers everything and likes to recite things: quotes from movies, songs, funny things her sister said. And that's when I think: Uh-Oh.

13 comments:

Keely said...

Well, um...at least she's using them in the correct context??

Fiona said...

It's all good til' you hit the grocery store! LOL, let's face it a good curse FEELS good sometimes and nobody will deny that.!

the mama bird diaries said...

Don't be too hard on yourself. Just try not to laugh when she swears and keep it to a minimum yourself. But fuck, we're only human.

RobynsOnlineWorld said...

She is just learning new words - I'm sure she has probably fixated on others at certain times too. Just try to teach her some new interesting words and try ignore the words you really don't want her to say.

Sweet Serendipity said...

Oh are you in a heap of trouble! Funny post!

No really, I think all kids go through this phase when they realize the power of our curse words. It's because we use them so emphatically that they are attracted to them (that and they usually get a bigger reaction). She'll out grow it, eventually. Until then, you may want to avoid church and grand parents, lol.

Amber said...

I'm not a big swear-word user, but my sister was..untilmy niece started saying the "f-word" at daycare and my sister had to explain where her daughter heard it. Kids are like sponges..they absorb everything! Keep using substitute words and your daughter is sure to forget the "naughty" ones! Laughing will only reinforce her innate desire to get more attention from you. :) Good luck!

Amber said...

I'm not a big swear-word user, but my sister was..untilmy niece started saying the "f-word" at daycare and my sister had to explain where her daughter heard it. Kids are like sponges..they absorb everything! Keep using substitute words and your daughter is sure to forget the "naughty" ones! Laughing will only reinforce her innate desire to get more attention from you. :) Good luck!

Jen L. said...

Uh oh...
Ooh! Was distracted by pretty purple purse in your sidebar for a second!
I've been trying really hard to curb my cursing since my little guy came along, but every once in a while, I still let a string of them slip out. He usually laughs. Fortunately for now, his vocabulary only includes words like "Baa Baa" "Daddy" and "Go-goo" (That means yogurt.). At work when we have kids in our shows, we have a curse jar. If you cuss, you have to pay a quarter. Maybe I should get one for home...

jamaise said...

I swear very little - like when I smash my finger type of thing. Daddy - a little more - but nothing major. Let me tell you, my five year old son picks it up in the air or something. I don't think he fully understands that those words are in a spcial category. Something we're working on. Don't feel bad.

Jennifer Suarez said...

HAHA! Well don't worry, it happens to all us Moms at one time or another!

My 2 year old's first swear word? "Fucking" thanks to me.

God I'm proud of myself. *sigh*

I'm glad to say she repeated it, said it one other time a few minutes later and since we ignored the whole thing, we haven't heard it since. :-D

Mocha Dad said...

It's amazing how they remember the things that you don't want them to but not the things you want them to.

bernthis said...

If having a potty mouth is the worst thing that happens to my kid I will feel that I have done an amazing job as a mother. Frankly, I admire your attempt to "fix" it but it could be way way worse.

Expat mum said...

My kids all say "bloody" because of me. Fortunately people in the States seem to think it's funny, thank goodness. I always have to "train" them out of it before we go to England tho'.

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