I swear like a trooper when in the pub. I like the emphasis and staccato a well placed f-word adds to a sentence, but my brain filters these words out when I am with my kids, my parents or just not in a suitable environment. (Although I probably owe lip readers in supermarkets an apology or two.)
However, as much as I can keep my own foul mouth in check, there are times when profanity punctures our rosy cheeked family life by accident. Take the other day when my boys, aged ten and three, were playing a game in which they were pretending to throw each other across the room.
My ten year old, had quite correctly when considering it’s literal meaning, opted to use the word toss to describe their actions. Which left me and the man half horrified and half hysterical with smothered laughter as they happily shouted ‘I am going to toss you’ at each other.
After ten minutes or so had passed I could no longer bear the incongruity of a childhood game and it’s wanky subtext, they had no idea how it sounded to adult ears and it was just so, so wrong. I told my ten year old that while his use of the word was absolutely correct, sadly it also has another meaning, a far more adult meaning and so could he use a different word.
He was mortified, he wouldn’t dream of using ‘naughty words’ and really I could have left them to it as the fault was with our grown up brains not their use of language, but the final straw had been when the three year old had innocently shouted ‘Look Mummy, me and Max are being tossers’
And then there are the rhyme books in our house. Syd loves having nursery rhymes and kids poetry books read to him, I am less enamoured because the ones we have always seem to have moments that make me cringe when reading allowed, be it the Owl and the Pussycat with its beautiful pussy, or this fine example from a poem about birds…..
It is very, very hard to say ‘I am a cock’ without being aware of it’s other context. Sometimes I slur the words to disguise them a bit, other times I declare my cock status with a tremor in my voice, tinged with the shame that comes with owning up to a truth. ‘I AM a cock’ declared with pride is another approach, after all, we are all a bit of a cock sometimes. Rarely do I manage it with any sense of bird in my delivery. Still, it makes bedtime stories slightly more entertaining I guess.
Of course swear words are just words, my children will grow up to use them, my eldest already does. She is eighteen, and I don’t always filter them out when speaking to her. She has started to let the odd milder one out when speaking to me too, which of course I tell her off for, just for kicks – ‘don’t use language like that to your Mother young lady’ ‘But YOU just said it’ ‘Well, do as I say and not as I do and all that’. Such fun.
Love Miss Cisco XXX