Monday, April 20, 2009

The Importance of U and I

Kids never miss anything their parents say. Just ask my trucker-mouth hubby.

Ever since the birth of our daughter seven years ago, Michael and I have been very careful about the language we use around her. The only 'bad words' we sometimes used in her presence were hate, idiot, and stupid. In fact, my daughter was unable to recognize true dirty words for years because she never heard them. I recall one occasion in the car when someone cut me off and almost caused an accident. I yelled, "I fucking HATE when people do that shit!" My daughter gasped in her car seat and cried, "Mama! You said a bad word! You said HATE!" Whew! That was a close one. Despite that terrible (yet totally forgivable) slip-up, our word choices around the wee one have been decidedly PG rated.

However, after seven years, our attitude on semantics has gotten a little lax, and shit happens. So does fuck.

Those two popular expletives are the favorites of both my husband and I when the appropriate situation arises. Whereas in the past we have been cautious about dropping the F-bomb around the child, we have been caught blurting it out more often than we care to admit. Recently, my husband let a few of them rip when he discovered a large scratch on his precious Passat and when his computer crashed just as he desperately needed it for a big work project. My outbursts are usually related to spills on clothes, computer mishaps, and traffic dramas.

Imagine my husband's embarrassment yesterday when our cherub asked him in her sweetest Cindy-Lou Who voice, "Daddy, why have you been saying fuck and shit lately?"

To his credit, Daddy fessed up to his crimes without giving some weak-ass excuse like "Because I'm the adult, that's why!" He simply apologized for his poor choices and thanked Emma for lovingly bringing it to his attention. When he relayed the story to me later, we both agreed that part of Emma's desire to ask her daddy about his slips of the tongue was to be given the opportunity to say fuck and shit without getting into trouble. Smart kid. I don't blame her; I would have done the same thing when I was her age.

I, on the other hand, rarely say those foul words. When something swear word-worthy happens, I either do a weird Yosemite Sam rant ("Rassafrassindabnaggitriggidnutter!") or simply say the naughties WITHOUT including vowels. I growl, "Fcckkkkk!" or "Shhhtttttt!" I have convinced myself that my vowel-free profanity is totally acceptable. Without the U and I, I am free and clear to say exactly what I want without being labeled as a foul-mouthed, bad mommy, right?

I mean, there's no WAY my daughter would figure out what I really meant to say.

(Such is the rationalization of a deluded, imperfect, yet totally human mom.)


For your consideration and/or comment:

Have you ever let a doozie slip in front of the little ones?


Visit to read an excerpt from my book, Opening the Kimono!


1 comment:

seriously? said...

My husband swears like a sailor when he hurts himself or is doing some kind of project that does not go as planned. My personal favorites that he shouts out are: Son of a biscuit eater and God Bless America. He is so patriotic. :)