It’s not big and it’s not clever, everyone knows that. But that has never stopped me swearing and cursing like a trooper. Yes, I did it while I was pregnant – despite being informed by the smug mummy brigade that my babies’ ears were fully formed and apparently picking up on my every word. And I most certainly did it – lots of it actually – when I was in labour regardless of the knowledge that, apparently, they were subliminally picking up on every word.
But now, after resisting for the best part of three years, I really am having to honour at least one of the many promises I silently made myself when I first gazed into their vulnerable little eyes, and I will STOP swearing in front of the children. I will.
The main reason for this sudden, and I must admit reluctant, change of heart is because last weekend my son chirpily informed me: “Daddy is a big shit.” Argh.
I was in no doubt that of course our in-house mimic had overheard me describe his father in these exact and less-than-glowing terms. Daddy, for the record, was spending the day languishing in bed with a particularly virulent case of man flu, demanding endless cups of tea and Neurofen. Within seconds I had foreseen my social demise as word spread around the neighbourhood and I would be summoned to their nursery for the ultimate humiliation: “a little chat.”
I predicted that before long my wayward offspring would inevitably skid off the rails, be expelled and face a bleak future as their lives spiralled into a pit of drug addiction, despair and, oh I don’t know, robbing old ladies of their pension money outside the Post Office.
However, after I had calmed down a little and canvassed the wise counsel of far more sensible and relaxed parents than myself, I was advised to simply ignore it. So I did just that, until I heard him say it again later the same day. This time I was forced to act.
“What did you say?” I demanded in my cross voice. “Daddy’s a bit sick,” came the innocent reply.
A narrow escape, but a lesson learnt. They copy everything they hear at the moment and I must confess it’s a little bit scary. While parroting the odd grown up phrase (personal favourites include “You’re welcome Mummy darling” and “I’m calling my bear Wanker”) can be very funny and seems harmless enough I have to confess I really don’t want my own kids getting the impression that foul language acceptable. Trying to convince them somehow that it’s OK for adults but not for them is just way too complicated. Idle threats and bribery never seem to work either.
And so finally, I am having to curb my behaviour. In short I am having to grow up, and worse still, set an example.
A dark day indeed.
by Nadia Cohen
[picture credit: © Ilyssa Tonnessen | Dreamstime.com]