My children were playing “little fucker” at Home Depot?
Now, look, before you get all judgy, let me just preface this with a post I wrote two years ago to prove I have no idea what I’m doing as a parent. Ok? I had a plan. I had a theory. That theory sucked.
In retrospect, the “time and a place” mantra could work. Teaching your children that anyone can say anything as long as it is the appropriate time and place is rather discerning. I don’t want to shield my children from the world but would rather teach them how to navigate the gray areas of society including cussing, standing up for oneself and when an appropriate toilet joke is funny.
I guess at 5 and 3 they’re not discerning yet.
Case in point:
Mr. Flinger and I took the entire family to Home Depot. (Clue One: that’s best to do on a date because children lose their ever-loving-minds.) We have expectations that mimic parents of the 70’s. We tell you to sit in the cart and you will sit, wait, talk quietly among yourselves until we have thoroughly discussed the options of shiny silver and chrome for the new locks to the house AND YOU WILL LIKE IT.
The children looked at us with wide eyes. “But we don’t have any toys!” LB gasped. “Use your hands. You know what makes a good toy? Your hands. And? You won’t lose them and you’ll never get them taken away,” Mr Flinger solves the problem.
The children begin playing “where is Thumpkin” and other hand gesture games appropriate for their age.
The discussions went forward about types of locks, shiny locks, keyed locks, locks of what size and shape and on and on and on until I hear, or I think I hear, one child say, “Hey.. Fucker!” and the other reply back, “Hey! Fucker!” I glance up at two men standing next to the cart where the children are sitting. Their expressions are half laughing, half shocked. I stride over, “Did they just say….” “I think so,” replied one man. “Oh, uh, I don’t know WHO'S kids those are. No, I’m kidding, I’m the proud mother.” He looks me up and down and says, “Oh, you’re their mom?” “Yes, and .. uh.. I’m sorry… Uh.. lemme just move them…”
I lean forward as the children continue their “little fucker” play which involved a thumb telling the other thumb he’s a little fucker and then the other thumb quips, “hey! fucker!”
A proud mother indeed.
When I taught preschool I was told to take the power out of the "bad" word by repeating it back to the children. Being a preschool teacher and being a parent are not the same thing. If you've been one or the other, or both, you're nodding your head right now and laughing until tears run down your cheek. You're also not sure if those tears are from laughter or crying.
Anyway, as I was saying, I lean over the cart and explain to the young future of the world that you do not say the word "Fucker" in stores. Or as part of play. It's not kid appropriate. "Ok, no more little fucker" they agree. We nod at each other. I've settled the first massive parenting black hole that could've lead them down a slippery slope to dealing drugs out of abandoned houses.
Having (FINALLY) found some locks that fit all the requirements, we push the children past the sliding bathroom shower doors and through the curtains. Suddenly the smallest child exclaims, "That's a nice fucking curtain!"
"Ok, here's the thing, Buddy," I lean over the cart and whisper again to the small, angelic face of innocence, "We don't say any form of the word fuck. Not fucking, not fucker, not fucked, not fuck you, nothing. Ok? Also? Good job using the correct tense."
Since that time I’ve changed some things around here. I now say “Oh MOTHER OF PEARL” and “For PETES SAKE” and “HOLY MOSES.” I like to think I’m still a little badass. In fact, sometimes I know I’m in the company of other mothers when someone shouts out, “SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!” in exclamation.
Having children truly does change you in ways you never could anticipate. It’s true. Those little fuckers.