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Monday, May 16, 2011

A broken bubble

Whenever my children behave like heathens and pick up on new, undesirable behaviors, I often like to say that the bubble I sealed my children in apparently has a leak. Unfortunately the leak is getting bigger ... and bigger ...

Recently as I got my kid off the bus, a car sped by, the driver shouting out the window at the person in front of him. Mary had her turn signal on, I saw it; and Cranky Driver must not have seen it when he shouted, "What the *@&% are you doing?" We all looked up - me shooting a furtive, panicked look at the kids.

"Why was that guy yelling?" my son asked. "What did he say?"

I will admit right off that I have a horrible habit when it comes to bad language. (cough). It probably started when I was a kid, unfortunately, although I guess my parent filter was turned on, because I never used it around my parents. In college, one of my professors would often say she really has to work on her swearing because she now had two little kids running around. My husband likes to say that when he first knew me, my foul language habit was a lot worse, and maybe he's right, maybe not. (cough)

I dread the day when my kids will start using four-letter words, although I know it's obviously inevitable: a 30-minute bus ride can unravel nearly a decade of parenting techniques. My son already knows what the "middle finger!" means and that it's bad. Of course because he says it, my daughter repeats it - it sounds a bit weird and unnerving to see a blonde-haired, bespectacled, otherwise-innocent-looking preschooler talking about flipping people off. And to think, right now I'm more concerned about my oldest going around calling everything "stupid!" and that his younger brother will start saying it before he even knows all his shapes and colors.

I can remember saying the word "fart" a lot when I was like 10 years old, within earshot of my younger brothers. My stepmom finally had to tell me to stop. I totally get it now; I don't even like my kids saying the word butt, I'll admit. Right now my son is fixated on anything to do with butts and saying "stupid" all the time. I realize that's pretty tame compared to some words he could be using, but I don't really want Tater Tot walking around calling people stupid, either.

TV that might contain language is severely limited, if it's on at all, so I absolutely face with dread the prospect that they might hear me saying something. I mean, it's not like I openly swear around my kids at all, but rather when I know they're a safe distance away, and even then I probably sound more like Yosemite Sam than anything else. I must say, even when I accidentally gave myself searing second-degree burns while cooking dinner a few weeks ago, somehow I managed to suffer in silence - when really all I wanted to do was let loose with a resounding, "F*****cccccccckkkkkk!"

It pains me to think that kids are exposed to so much at such a young age. Today I was listening to Pomplamoose - cleanest pop band ever - and my daughter wanted me to turn it off. I thought about how there are parents driving around in the world right now, huge bass speakers in the back seat with rap music blasting, their poor toddlers sandwiched in there somehow. How a kid can even process all of that, I don't know.

Ahh, they grow up so fast. Time to go find some duct tape to fix that bubble.


MB said...

You aren't alone. I need to clean up my language as well. I am working on it. But sometimes the F-bomb is the best word for the situation. Ahh that bubble who fragile it is and how I think I may need to be on the outside...

Cultured Mama Dawn said...

It's so weird. My parent's cursed like sailors when I was growing up, but I never developed the habit. To this day, it's just not part of my internal lexicon. Both my sisters on the other hand struggle with foul language (though one has Tourette's, so it's a little more involuntary. :-P)

I do use mild "slang" like crap, pissed (rarely), and butt, and I'm realizing that I really don't want my daughter picking up words like "stupid" either (which to me is a very bad word, and one I have actively worked to eliminate from my vocabulary.)

I wonder what internal programming makes cussing easier for some than others?

The Deranged Housewife said...

It's interesting that you mention that: when I was about two, my dad would often swear around the house, and one of his friends was over one day and using foul language. I picked up on it and was going around the house saying, "G-d dammit!" as happy as a clam. Weird.

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