My godson Luke, now on the cusp of turning five, has recently taken to calling me a swearer (he pronounces it swear-ah
). Apparently I say bad wurds
. He has also given me a PG rating.
I was telling my sister a story the other day and Lukey looked at me, deadpan, and said, "Uh, I think that story has a lotta bad wurds in it."
It didn't; I swear! I mean- I wasn't
swearing! Not at that moment, at least. But it seems I’ve earned myself a reputation, you see.
So I swear sometimes. If I were to be completely honest here, I suppose I say a curse word or two when I am either afraid, nervous, freaked out, or if someone I love is possibly about to injure themselves. For a swear to emerge from my lips, there must be a certain emotional element involved. It's not as if I'm just dropping casual F bombs all day; no, my gutter mouth is activated for valid reasons only, I tell you!
Now, I’ve maybe
accidentally sworn in front of Lukey two or three times, if that, but when someone asks him, "What bad words does auntie Sissy say?" he will reply, "She says S-H-I-T. Sissy is a bad wurd say-ah."
We now play a game where we make believe he has a magic remote control and can put me on "mute" while I pretend to say all sorts of bad wurds, unmuting myself at choice points in the sentence, or adding in a "bleep" sound, i.e.: "And so I told her, (bleep! bleep!)
and the next time she comes back here, I'm gonna (bleep! bleep!)
and then (bleep! bleep!)"
Lukey thinks I'm hilarious. (That game is not really not as twisted as it sounds. I'm not actually mouthing swear words.)
I suppose this bad word thing just sort of happens. My toddler will be about to topple off of something he shouldn't be standing on in the first place and I might blurt out, Jesus Christ!
before I am able to censor myself.
Now, I've seen parents out in public tossing around angry F bombs and it has literally turned my stomach. But usually they're saying the vulgar word directly to
the child, as in, "I thought I told you to get the f***
over here!" or "What the f***
is wrong with you?!" It sickens me, truly, it makes want to cry. No child ever deserves to be spoken to that way. It makes me boil with rage. But am I that much better, really?
Last weekend, the universe shined a bright light in the face of my righteousness, as it is wont to do. We were coming into the house the other night when something brushed against my forehead and startled me big time. Okay, so it turned out to be a ginormous black fly, but for a brief moment I thought it might have been a bat, and because of this, I shrieked, "Whoa! What the f*@#!?!?!?"
I then paused in slow motion horror as my Eff bomb echoed and reverberated throughout the darkness of the cold November night.
My husband glared at me disapprovingly (as he
is wont to do) and said, "We have a baby; you need to stop swearing! And the whole neighborhood can hear you." And then he added, "That's probably why nobody ever talks to us."
Zing! Say what
"Who could hear me, nobody has their windows open right now!?” And what was he talking about anyway; people talk to us! (Kind of?) But even as the words escaped my filthy potty mouth, I knew he was right. The neighbors could
probably hear; but more importantly, my little 21 month-old bambino could also hear me.
Oh shit crap. I guess I imagined it didn't matter if I dropped the occasional F bomb in my baby's presence, because surely he can’t yet understand what it means, as he isn't really talking that much yet. The words are never directed at him, and yet he is absorbing them all the same. It isn't nice, and it certainly doesn't sound nice. And suddenly I saw myself on paper: it doesn't matter how sweet natured I am, or that I genuinely thought a slimy bat wing had brushed against my face. In that moment, I was merely a mother who had just screamed out the F word in front of her baby. (Bad wurd say-ah!)
Oh sweet Jesus! My neighbors must think I'm so trashy. (Am
I trashy?) For sure, I need to nip this swearing thing in the bud, toot sweet. Luke David is right; I should get a PG rating, possibly even R. Oddly enough, I never swear at work; in fact, I don't swear in front of most
people! Many people who don't know me that well even think I'm some kind of sweet Mother Theresa type, incapable of even raising her voice! (Hubby thinks that's pretty funny.) So why am I letting loose when it matters the most, in front of the people who matter most to me? Is it because
they matter so much that I sometimes let those words slip?
I find those parents I've seen swearing at their young children to be abhorrent, despicable; but what about an adult who swears in the presence of a child? Surely everybody does this from time to time (I myself knew several choice words before the age of two; I'm pretty sure I once called my paternal grandfather a son of a bitch, and I couldn't have learned that from Big Bird or his friend Mr. Snuffleupagus.) In any case, I've got to find a way to reprogram myself to stop
using bad words, or else my child's first real word is going to be something totally obscene.
Are other parents out there struggling with this sort of thing, too? Somehow I feel it shouldn't be as hard as it is to stop saying bad wurds. Sigh. Oh, Dear Reader. What the fudge is wrong with me.