I stop scrubbing my 5-year-old’s dirty feet and look up at him, perched on the edge of the bathtub, to see a mischievious ($@#%-eating) grin on his face.
I immediately turn away so he doesn’t see the amused look on my face. I can’t help it – sometimes hearing something totally inappropriate come out of my child’s mouth just cracks me up. I know, I know, total mom-fail. But I’ve learned my lesson: Never let them see you laugh.
Deep breath. Regroup. Turn back around. Bee is still sitting on the tub, feet wet, watching me…waiting for my reaction.
Fortunately, this isn’t my first rodeo. I had the “cursing conversation” with my older son when he came home from kindergarten and asked me what the f-word was…and the sh-word…and the a-word. He wanted to know them all and – although my husband totally disagreed with my approach – I told my little guy each and every one. I’d rather he heard them from me than a kid on the school bus, and I firmly believe that making swear words so taboo that we can’t even talk about them only makes them more appealing and more powerful. If we are having a conversation about curse words, we can say them out loud.
“That’s not an okay word,” I say.
“I said split,” my little guy fibs.
“No you didn’t. I heard what you said.” I look him in the eye and tell him the same things I told his brother:
“Shit” isn’t a nice word to say. It is one of the “curse words” or “swear words.” When kids use those words, they can get in big trouble – like if you said that word at school, your teacher would probably call Mommy and Daddy to tell us. Somewhere along the way certain words became very rude to say, although I’m not sure exactly how or why.
Sometimes grown-ups curse. You might overhear grown-ups swearing when we are out in public sometimes and, yes, I know you have heard some of our relatives and friends use these words. When people swear a lot other people tend to think they aren’t very smart or have bad manners, even if that isn’t really true.
Some grown-ups curse when they get really mad or upset – swear words are powerful words, so sometimes grown-ups use them to show just how strongly they feel about something. But there are thousands of words in the world and you are such a smart kid, I know you can find other words to share how you are feeling.
Swearing isn’t something we do in our home. Daddy and I don’t swear (at least, not often and never in front of the kids). We don’t want you or your brother swearing either.
So now you know better. If I find out you are using curse words, you will be in trouble.
“Got it, Bee?”
“Got it, Mommy.”