As first-time parents, you always want to do the right thing for your kids. You spend hours researching the proper carseats, the right diapers, the best preschools. You try to shelter them from evil things and bombard them with classical music and endless Baby Einstein DVD’s at every possible opportunity.
There’s one place where I went horribly awry. It’s my big fat potty mouth.
Now, I grew up in a house where there was no drinking, no smoking, and certainly no cursing. I don’t think I even began cursing until I got to college and even then it wasn’t out of control. Go to work in a construction company, and more often than not you will replace every useful noun, verb, or adjective with something that your mother would wash your mouth out with soap for saying. Now, to his credit, Joey is much better at controlling his potty mouth than I am…or at least more creative about it. As long as Monkey Man doesn’t become an adept speller anytime soon, we will be golden.
I knew I was in trouble when Monkey Man was three. We had just endured a marathon trip to the pediatrician’s office and were on our way home. I, as usual, was zipping down the highway in a hurry to get to CVS to get the prescription and get on home. MM had some Power Rangers figures in the back seat and was doing little scuffles between them over domination of the armrest. Suddenly, out of the back seat, my precious child piped up, “Hey Mommy, watch this…..” and as the Red Ranger plummeted from the top of the car window down onto the armrest, he was bellowing “SHIIIIIIIITTTTTTT” as loud as he could. I just about drove off the road. You know how want to laugh, but you know you can’t? So I went home and told Joey that we had to do a better job of not cursing in front of our little sponge. He sort of snickered at me, since he knew good and well that HE wasn’t the one with the problem.
We had a blissful six months with Monkey Man with no incidents. His little mind was blossoming and he was doing so well in school. And then, tragedy struck. As we were enjoying our dinner at the local pizza place one night, one of the teachers at Monkey Man’s school came over to us and said, “Hey, how about Joey dropping the F-bomb at school last week?” I choked on my dinner and said “Whaaaat?”
Yep. The F-bomb. According to the story I got from his teacher, it was “letter F” week at school, and when they were sitting in circle time, the lovely Ms. N. asked if anyone knew a word that began with the letter F. Monkey Man raised his hand and when she called on him he proudly announced “F*ck!”
“W-what did you say to him?” I asked, feeling sick to my stomach.
“Well, I said that yes, f*ck does begin with the letter F, but it’s not a word we use at school – we only use that word at home.”
“Um, thanks.” I mumbled. Hey, at least she got the “use it at home” part right. Ahem.
So, I’m trying to be better. If they had a Cursers Anonymous, I’d be there. If they had some kind of anti-cursing medication, I’d take it. If the Betty Ford Clinic offered a program to stop cursing abuse, I’d be all over it. But I’m afraid that with all my years of perfecting my cursing, it’s so engrained within myself that I’m just going to have to learn sign language or find a more creative way of expressing myself. Dammit.