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I sit at our home PC typing a blog post or some such nonsense. On one of her nights to put Benjamin to bed, Shannon walks into the guest bathroom to assess his teeth brushing progress. I hear them talking to each other, but can’t make out the words.
Until Shannon gasps and says, “Benjamin!”
She then dashes across the hall into the guest/computer room and covers her mouth to stifle laughter.
“Did you hear him?” she says through her hand.
“No, what did he say?”
Shannon puts on her best Benjamin voice. “‘I’m sorry, mommy, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to say f*ck.'”
“Why did he say f*ck?”
“I have no idea. I didn’t even hear him say it,” she says.
“Well, he accidentally said it at dinner over the weekend. He was saying words that make the ‘uck’ sound, and that one just kind of came out. He kind of looked at us after he said it. I just told him to be careful,” I say.
We both work to compose ourselves so Benjamin doesn’t hear us laughing.
He completes his swish and spit ritual, sets his plastic cup down hard on the bathroom counter, and then intones, “Sometimes, big kids say bad words.”
As has been discussed here before, banning curse words from a child’s vocabulary is akin to impossible. With their ubiquity in all forms of media and the surprisingly unfettered salty talk of some mothers and fathers, the best parents can hope is that the child learns when it is entirely inappropriate to utter them. For the record, to our knowledge neither of us has said that particular word with Ben present.
For another (and more brief) account of a child’s use of a curse word, see our own Simian Farmer’s recent post, which inspired me to write about this (that’s Simon, by the way).