Friday, November 2, 2012

Can I say something bad?

We were trying to get our nine-year-old twin daughters ready for bed Halloween night, but things weren't going well. They didn't want to take off their costumes and get ready for bed. They were so upset about Oreo's injury. They just wanted to talk about what happened.

We tried our best to keep them moving, but it’s not every Halloween that your dog gets attacked by another dog. It was very scary to see the other dog’s jaws locked on their dog’s throat. No matter what we said the girls wouldn’t stop crying and talking about the attack, the police, Oreo bleeding. In the end we wanted them to talk so we would know what was going on in their heads.

The brunette twin was standing in the bathroom when she said, "Can I say something bad?"

I said, "Sure baby."

She said, "I hate those stupid, f*!*!ing people."

I was going to say that we don't call people stupid when the rest of her statement sunk in. I said, "Excuse me? Where do you hear talk like that?"

She replied, "Uncle Dave talks like that all the time."

Sigh...

We all have moments where we have potty mouths on my side of the family. I don't swear a lot, but when I'm overtired or frustrated or annoyed or mad I can throw in a few choice words. I realize it's the sign of a simple mind. Some days it's just an easy way to express myself when I’m too distracted to find a more appropriate word. Some days it’s just the most descriptive way to describe something. I don't do it in front of the girls though. I'm careful about that.

I call it channeling my inner-Dad. My father always swore. I think he probably started because it annoyed my paternal Grandmother so much. After a while it just stuck. He used swear words as all sentence parts. Nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs could all be replaced by a choice, unrepeatable word. For him being tired or frustrated or annoyed or mad had nothing to do with how often he swore.

We learned to swear with Dad at a young age. I always tell the stories about watching hockey with Dad. He would get so mad he'd swear at the TV. If Mom was in another room she'd say, "What happened?" We'd reply something like "a))hole missed the shot." We were little. We didn't know what we were saying. We were just repeating what Dad said.

I didn’t realize it was really a problem until I ended up in the principal’s office in kindergarten. A quick phone conversation with Mom and I was back in the classroom with a stern warning about my language. It made for an interesting dinner conversation that much I remember. We had a long chat about what Dad says and what we can repeat.

As we got older we learned to distinguish between things Dad said and things we should say. I'm not saying we never said any bad words. You can be certain that we said our fair share while watching hockey with Dad. We just made sure not to get caught by Mom.

Now it's my brother Dave's turn to carry on the family tradition. I explained to the brunette twin that while Uncle Dave might say certain things it was never okay for her to repeat them. She said, "I know Mom that's why I asked if I could say something bad." Seems that she knows the lesson and how to get around it. Turns out I need to think a bit more before I answer her questions from now on.

1 comment:

Arnebya said...

I like that she asked. I admit to having a potty mouth at times. I don't necessarily see it as having a small mind (I LOVE words!). I don't use foul language in front of my girls but I do on my blog and when speaking with other adults. Yet, I know there is a time/place for it and such language can be offensive to some so I try to pay attention.

The scene with your daughter reminds me of that in the recent Ramona movie where she announces she's going to say something bad and then says GUTS.