Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Out of the Mouth of Babes

Last week, Cliff and I attended parent teacher conferences for the kids. They are both excellent students and we had no issues save one. Apparently, Sean said the word "s**t" on the playground earlier that day, and it was overheard by his teacher.

When we asked why he used that word, his response was, "Well, I meant to say 'crap.'" Yeah, that's much better.

Of course, we had the obligitory conversation about appropriate language. It is one that all parents have at one time or another after our child uses a word he picked up on the playground or, God forbid, from us.

I remember when Shannon was about two years old and my mother was playing a game with her and asking what sounds various animals made. When she asked her "What does Daddy say?", Shannon replied, "Dammit, dammit."

Thank goodness she did not say it front of one of her then 80-something great grandmothers. And thank goodness she only blamed her father.

All of us--and I know I am guilty--have occasionally let a mild swear word out when driving with the little ones in the back. Women tend to let an occasional "damn" slip out. Men, unfortunately, are often guilty of much worse trangsressions.

I am talking about the dreaded "f-bomb." When Shannon was about two, Cliff was speaking with a friend of his on the phone while she played nearby, and he let one fly. Let's just say if laser beams could have come out of my eyes, he would have been vaporized.

She did not repeat it. After two weeks, I figured we were safe. Then one evening while I was bathing her, she took her Big Bird tub toy, began pounding it against a cup and yelling "f***ing Big Bird!"

Naturally, part of me was horrified. However, being that "f***ing" is not generally an adjective you hear preceding the name Big Bird, I had to step out of the bathroom for a moment before I could talk to her.

Since my daughter is now in high school and my son has only a year to go before junior high, I am sure we are in for more language faux pas. It seems offensive language is the norm rather than the exception today. I am certain Sean's playground incident is not the only time foul language will slip out at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and in front of the person you least want to hear it.

Thank God my 96-year-old grandmother is now hard of hearing.

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