Tuesday, April 08, 2014

I swear

Nico and I were at the grocery yesterday, putting packages of baby fruit into his kid-sized cart, when he cheerfully said, "Goddammit, this cart is really full!" in his sweet little voice. I won't pretend I don't know where he's heard that before...we try to mind our language in front of him but we aren't perfect and little pitchers have big ears. I would guess we probably swear a lot more than the average parents of small children, but I decided a long time ago that our kids are almost certainly going to hear swear words, whether from us, our adult friends (most of whom don't have kids), television, or (eventually) other kids. I'll try to mind my mouth, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I also decided that we aren't going to tell Nico and Elliott that swear words are bad words or react with shock / anger when they inevitably say them (though it's really hard not to laugh), because it seems to me that just adds a layer of thrill / shock value to it that will make the kids more likely to swear. Instead we tell Nico that swears are "grownup words," and that he's not old enough to use them yet. I figure it's not that much different from the other things he is not yet old enough to have, like soda or a 10 PM bedtime. So when he used the word (in correct context and with impeccable pronunciation), I told him, "No, sir. That is a grownup word. You are not allowed to use that word, ever." Being Nico, he asked me, "Why can't I say goddammit, Mommy? Why is that a word that only Daddy can use?" (which: Ha! Yes, let's blame Daddy and I'll pretend I'm blameless today.) and my life might as well have a "what Swistle said" macro for situations like this. I told him that Daddy knows what the word means and understands when it is appropriate to say it and plus he's a grownup. Luckily for me the whole chat took place in an empty aisle, safely before the appearance of the sweet grandmotherly woman with whom Nico struck up a detailed conversation about the Hot Wheels car he was buying with his piggy bank money, the dump truck and cement mixer on his raincoat, the food we were buying, and the fact that his hair is "a little bit red."

Today the theme at preschool was insects. Nico picked out his bug shirt without prompting, carried a toy butterfly and his magnifying glass to school for show and tell, and made a ladybug out of a paper plate. When I dropped him off, he rushed into his classroom and gave his teacher a hug, then headed off to find his spot in the circle. I had to remind him to come back and give me a goodbye hug. He learned a song about the parts of an insect, which he told me about during bedtime. "It's head, shoulders, knees, and toes," he explained to me, "except it's head, thorax, and abbumend." Oh, kid. I love you and your whipsmart brain and your little-bit-red hair. It's my day to be class helper on Thursday, the day they're learning about spiders. I'm doing double duty as a special guest speaker, since the class aide has to book one as part of her practicum class. I will be bringing a Chilean rose-haired tarantula I borrowed from my boss, so I told Nico this evening that I'd be the helper on Thursday and that I'd be bringing a big spider for the kids to see and he told me he wanted to pet the spider. Excellent answer, my son, though sadly impossible this time. I do hope that the children will find it immensely impressive.

Not to be outdone in the cuteness department, Elliott spent his day doing this:

It's a happy / sad (but mostly happy) day!


  1. Ha ha, the cheerful swearing!

  2. This is how we handle things too. Beer, wine, soda are "adult drinks" (except Sprite is acceptable at the movie theater only). Curse words are adult words (although when my 3yr old got mad at his video game in the car the other day and exclaimed 'JESUS!' I taught him to say 'darn it' instead.) We also talk about how some words aren't nice but not "bad" words. Stupid, etc. Would you want someone saying that about you? Then it's not nice. It works well for my rule-following older son, my younger is a rule-bender so we'll see.

    1. Oh, maaaaaaan...I would die laughing if Nico yelled out "Jesus!" And that one would be all on me, because I say Jesus Christ all the time. Such a bad influence!

  3. I love your take on swearing, and "Why is that a word that only Daddy can use?" made me laugh. HA!

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  5. I love/hate the little kid swears. My little one will drop something and say, "Awwww, dammit!" in the cutest little voice. It take all my willpower to keep from laughing. Hopefully the talk about grownup word works!