I have a daughter.
3 years of age.
A marvel of creation.
So smart so funny so kind so so so so so beautiful.
Gems fall off her lips in a fairly steady stream.
“Do you remember, Daddy, when Saturn had that ring and it didn’t fit?”.
Or, when shown a rough sketch by her dad of the globe with indicators as to where we were in comparison to her grandmother on Dad’s side of the family, and asked what it was she was looking at, “That’s Planet Earth, Daddy.” With a roll of the blues to indicate that I should know better. Clearly.
Several months ago – maybe even as long as a year – when words put together in a string were a relatively new phenomenon, there was an incident at the mother’s parents’ house that still has me rolling my own blues…
About 5 minutes into my weekly visit with her (said “weekly visits” not by my choice, and being the subject of a lengthy court battle still being waged), my daughter drops something on the floor. As soon as it hits, she blurts out, clear as the day is long, “Oh FUCK!”
Contextually, the correct thing to say.
We drop something on the floor, we don’t even think about it. We just blurt.
Most of us with children around monitor these things, though, and tend to come up with more colourful yet less vulgar expletives, ones that get passed on from generation to generation.
And, when our little ones pick up on the grown-up versions, we have a little talk with them and indicate that maybe Dad or Mum or Grandma should not talk like that in front of them, and would they forgive us and maybe use the milder sweeter version around their teachers and other adults, lest they offend and end up in detention.
What we don’t do, at least not in my experience, is pretend that the words that came out are anything other than what they were.
I mean, I understand the embarrassment-factor, but kids are smart.
They hear you trying to tell someone that they didn’t say, “Oh fuck!” but instead said, “Oh, TWUCK!” as in “Nono’s got a red twuck,” and they’re gonna step right up to that plate and say, “No, fuck. I said ‘fuck’.”
The grandmother (not my mother) is looking at me boldface and saying, “Oh, no, she didn’t say that, she means ‘Twuck, like Nono’s wed twuck, wight, Isabella? Nono’s got a wed twuck, right?”
My daughter, bless her, kept her mouth shut, but had this look on her face when she looked back at me that spoke volumes. It spoke of confusion as to how anyone that she was related to by blood could be so ignorant as to actually think that it was even remotely permissible to denigrate a child’s earliest attempts at stringing words together by coming up with something as banal and stupid as, “Nono’s got a red twuck.”
Okay, so I’m extrapolating somewhat, but, seriously… wtf.
What I wanted to hear come out of her mouth, so so so badly at that moment, and would have applauded until my hands were raw, was something along the lines of, “No, I didn’t say, ‘twuck’. I said ‘fuck’. As in ‘Oh, fuck, you stupid speech-impeded old Danish HAG, I dropped some FUCKing shit on the FUCKing floor.’ Like, seriously, what the FUCK is wrong with you fucking people that you can’t understand fucking English? I know it’s not your native tongue, you dumb fuck, but how about listening when I fucking speak, ’cause you might pick up a clue or two as to how YOU should be fucking speaking it. And, furthermore, stop insulting my father’s intelligence! At least he doesn’t pretend I didn’t say shit, even if it does make him uncomfortable. Seriously… What the FUCK?”
Seriously. What the fuck.