Sunday, May 18, 2008

Potty Mouth Has Made Its First Appearance

Thing 1 misbehaved at preschool.

Apparently, while on the potty, he dropped the f-bomb.

We know this because one of his teachers pulled Daddy aside at drop-off to let us know, and to request that maybe we teach him to say something inoffensive like "fudge." She added that she, too, has uttered the same word in front of her own kid while she burned herself on the stove, prompting her son to repeat it.

Clearly she attempted to make us feel better by including this anecdote about herself.

But suddenly all those times Late Blooming Mom or Daddy have uttered bad words in front of our kids are coming back to haunt us. And we can't help but feel like bad parents, wondering what the teacher and everyone else within earshot and above toddler age thinks of us.

I knew my kids had learned "Goddammit!" from my own lips, utttered in exhaustion and exasperation. But I've already tried to persuade them to substitute the silly "Goshdarnit!" Thing 2 asked me what it means and I told her, "It means 'oh bother,' just like in WINNIE THE POOH." Since she's already fond of "oh bother," this was the perfect explanation, and she has, indeed, been happily using the new compound word I created to replace the swear word.

But the f-bomb, I honestly can't recall saying in front of them. Daddy thinks he may have been to blame. I certainly could have. It's not that I don't watch my language around the kids 95% of the time. But goshdarnit, sometimes the lack of sleep and stress over trying to balance work and family life make me much less patient, and much more apt to explode in a string of epithets. Often the bad words are prompted by bad behavior on the kids' part -- refusing to listen, say, when asked to stop jumping off their beds onto the floor; refusing to go to bed; refusing to stop saying ... well, bad words.

I'm embarrassed about my son saying the f-bomb. But what's worse is, when I try to point out to him that this isn't a nice word, and I suggest using another, he just laughs and keeps repeating it. If only he'd misheard, the way he did with "damn it," which accounts for him heartily proclaiming "Bam it!" several times a day, just for the thrill of it.

I can't help but find it ironic, though, that Thing 1's potty mouth incident occurred WHILE he was using the potty. I gotta give the kid some credit. If you can't drop an f-bomb into your speech while sitting on the toilet, then when CAN you use the f---ing word?

To anyone who claims they've never said a bad word in front of their kids -- who must've learned such things somewhere, I say -- what the hell. We're not going there for saying those words, and neither are our kids. But I realize I may be getting more than my share of notes from teachers in the year ahead. Bam it.


Beth K. Vogt said...

I can relate.
My firstborn son decided to share his bad word while we were having a fun day bowling with some other moms and their oh-so-innocent kiddos. (Yeah, right. I know better now.) Of course, he said it during a lull in all the bowling alley noise.
Said son is now 24 years old. He lived. I survived the mommy embarrassment. My other kiddos had their own bad word tales--and I'm sure my caboose kiddo will too.
I'm older and wiser and calmer about it now.

Late Blooming Mom said...

Thanks for sharing this, Beth --
I'll keep it in mind today when I pick up the kids from preschool and they insist on adding the word "poopy" to all their favorite songs!
-Late Blooming Mom