Saturday, February 16, 2008

Please don't listen to me

Everyone knows you have to watch what you say around little kids. They can pick up words or phrases in an instant and then you spend the next few months locked inside your home, foregoing social visits, hoping they'll magically forget the new vocabulary.


We've been very fortunate in this regard. Not once have I ever heard one of my children use a curse word and about the meanest insult they can come up with is "stupid head", which of course is not very nice, but at least it's not profanity and I've only heard them call each other that once or twice at most.

Now of course I don't do much in the way of swearing. Anymore. I'm not proud to admit that I used to swear on a pretty much daily basis. Not like in a Jay and Silent Bob film, but still enough for it to be tricky to cut out using these words altogether. Well, mostly. On occasion if I am frightened (like someone is about to swerve into my lane while I'm driving) or I do something stupid (like drop several dishes on the floor at once) I will let one fly, then quickly cover my mouth as if that will help to keep young ears from hearing it. But generally I do pretty well, and I've got lots of new phrases that I use in place of the old ones that are nearly just as satisfying. Feel free to use any of these if you aren't already:

"Awww sugar snaps!!"
"Cheese and rice!"
"Son of a motherless goat!"
(and my personal favorite) "Mother pus-bucket!"

Now, that last one sounds bad, I know, but there really isn't anything profane in that expression. It's just kind of gross. But it's very satisfying to say.

A few days ago I was taking this kids out on some errand and I had forgotten I was listening to a mixed CD the last time I had been out by myself in the car. None of the music was racy, but I had completely forgotten that the singer lets rip one expletive, clear as day and just as I remembered the lyric that was about to come up, well, it was too late. I cringed, looked back at the kids who were looking out the windows and waited. I thought David might ask, "What did he say, mommy?" or something to that effect, but neither of them seemed to notice. Bullet dodged.


But even though that one got past them, most of what the kids hear does not go unnoticed. They are picking up other choice phrases, as was demonstrated the other day when Sofia was annoyed with her big brother and called out to the heavens an exasperated, "OH, for the love of GOD!"


I cannot imagine where she got that from.

And some things they seem to pick up by osmosis. Earlier in the week I was reading the kids some stories and they were making up funny names for characters in the book and after listing several cute ones, David blurts out, "Rudy Giuliani!"

I laugh and ask, "Do you know who that is?"
He shrugs and says, "Um...he wants to president?"
"Yes, but he won't."
"Oh, is he a candidate, then?" he inquires, all conversational like.
"Well, he was..."
and without missing a beat, Sofia chimes in with, "But Isobel voted for Mike Huckabee, ya know!"

We all pause and look down at Isobel who is drooling and chewing on Barbie's pointy foot. She smiles.

This is the sort of thing that results from living in NH. No child can escape from the political process.

Ya know.





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