Thursday, 17 January 2013

Rude Word

It happened a little over a week ago. Little A was having some quiet time in her cot. I was slouched sloth-like on the nearby futon - the cover in dire need of a clean (toothpaste gets everywhere) - reading a book and trying to ignore the fact that the passing time was anything but peaceful. This was noisy time...

So Little A was role playing with an assortment of in-house cot teddies... There's Mother and Father and Kitty Cat and Rowena. It's the game she usually plays, and I give her cursory glances as I turn the pages of my novel, settling into the thread of the plot as my daughter mediates a dispute between her furry family....

"Be quiet you silly buggers!" 

Now that word commands my attention. I sit up, decidedly unsloth-like, alert as a meerkat, shocked at the words spilling forth from Rowena's stitched mouth.

"Pardon? What did you just say?"

"Be quiet you silly buggers."

"We don't say the word bugger. Where did you learn it from?"

"Saffron at nursery said it."

"I don't think she did. That's not a nice word."

"Silly buggers. Silly buggers. Silly buggers."

"Little A, I'm warning you..."

"Are you going to put me on the thinking cushion mummy?" She asks, her eyes goading, full of mischief.

"Don't tempt me Little A," as I wrestle every muscle intent on pulling 'the poker face' into a smile. This, I realise with eagle eyed clarity, is when a mother undoubtedly needs botox.

I'm treading on a knife's edge here. I mustn't laugh. I cannot collude with the rapscallion's behaviour. Secretly though, I'm on her side. This is hilarious. I love the way she articulates bugger with such phonetic roundness. And where did she learn it from? Not me surely? Soap hasn't been within an inch of my mouth apart from the aftermath of the ladder incident - but that was just a one off, a rogue island amidst a daily sea of well mannered diction...(honestly)

"Buggers."

"RIGHT! TO THE THINKING CUSHION!"

And after a tearful stint on the cushion that-must-not-be-named, Little A apologises for her rueful choice of words. And then there was no more of that word. 

Until yesterday teatime...

Little A was playing witches and mermaids with a plastic IKEA knife and fork as I finished the scraps from her sheep-cow-pig themed plastic plate.

"Silly buggers," she mutters under her breath.

"Er, Little A, what did you say?"

"It wasn't me mummy, it was the sea witch."

"Really? I didn't think forks could talk."

"And it was my little finger too," waggling a small digit at me.

Little A smiles at her cleverness, her fait accompli at having accused both a fork and a finger of language most foul.

And I am stumped.

Do I draw attention to her words and make a meal out of it with sessions on the thinking cushion? Or do I just ignore it?

Calling upon all mothers, how do you handle the situation if your wee innocent bairn swears?  

I apologise for the language used in this post, it was Little A, not me. I have since added soap to the shopping list. And Younger Dad thinks she may have picked up that word from Granny of all people - Cussons for her next Christmas....

48 comments:

  1. 'Alert as a meerkat!' Got a real picture of you with that! Well, you have to admire the girl. You let her know you didn't approve - it's important to be consistent, but the more attention you give it, the more she's likely to use it. I think you did the right thing by letting it go in this instance. You wait until she's 12 ;)X

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    1. Next time this happens, gut feeling is telling me to ignore it! She's gonna be a handful when she hits 12. X.

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  2. Sadly mine has only just turned one do I have no advice to give! But I had to comment as this post really made me giggle - I don't know how u managed to keep a straight face! Kids r so funny ;) xxx

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    1. It was very nearly impossible - and the thing is, she knew she was being funny! Thank you. X.

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  3. Hah.... I was about to say wait 'til she's 13!
    Yup, think you handled it well... and gave us a good laugh!

    xx Jazzy

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    1. I want to wait as long as possible! Glad I made you smile! X.

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  4. Ignore it, she won't find the value in it if you don't pay attention to it. Funny though, I say bugger over in aus as its not really regarded in the same way. Very cute read.

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    1. I think that's the best plan - I'm coming over to Aus! Thank you!

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  5. This did make me laugh. I tend to come down like a ton of bricks if any bad words come from J1 or J2. Then I have to go out in the kitchen and laugh. J1 has taken to saying 'Bloody' - but over the last few days I have realised I say it all the time so really have to keep checking myself. I did say to my mum though, although I am strict with J1 about it - every time he does say it I am thankful because at one point he didn't speak at all! Good luck with Little A hehe.x

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    1. Glad to make you laugh! That made me laugh about J1 - that he at least said something, anything, to quell your fears of him saying something. X.

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  6. It's just amazing what they say isn't it? And this is probably just the beginning. It just shows how clever she is for saying that it wasn't her lol.
    Have no advice really. When my little one says something she shouldn't I just tell her that its not a nice word and she shouldn't say it but that's about it.

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    1. You bet it's just the beginning and she is very clever - I'll give her that! I like your relaxed approach about it :o).

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  7. Had to laugh... Luckily, I was not the one who had to deal with the situation. Love the way Little A blamed the sea witch! ;) xx

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    1. I tried so hard not to - but glad it made you smile. I liked the way she blamed the sea witch too - little minx!

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  8. Oh I am so relieved to read this. MP said a slightly worse word followed by 'sake' a couple of weeks back and unfortunately the culprit for teaching her the word I cannot even bring myself to write is, erm, me. I'm not sweary in general, but when stress hits, so does the Tourettes-like vocab. I thought I'd done a lot to clean up my act, but turns out not. The worst thing of all is that my husband has been warning me on and off for the last couple of years, because he is not of the potty-mouthed variety. And actually, what is worst of all is that on the two occasions that MP has uttered the little saying, it is my husband she has said it in front of, talk about picking her moments. Luckily it has only been said on two occasions and I had a little word about the little word and I am hoping that that, combined with me really, really, really trying hard, will be the last of it. Gosh, now I feel like I should do a guest spot on Jeremy Kyle, going to stand in the corner with a dunce hat on for an hour.

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    1. I absolutely loved your comment and how you managed to avoid saying 'the word'. That's when I start swearing too - when I am stressed, which means I really have to watch my mouth most of the time, and darn it, cos bugger is one of my favourite words (it's still Granny's fault though)... they will say a lot worse in the years to come...

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  9. Ooh and thank you for adding mother.wife.me to your Great Reads list, you are most certainly one of mine too, I must get round to doing something similar xx

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  10. Wish I had an answer for you, but I've failed on that front, despite having been strict about "bad language" while my three (now teens and 21) were growing up. I very rarely swear (apart from dire emergencies such as a thump in the shins from a hockey stick!) and my husband is the same. Yet my teenage son's language is sometimes quite frankly horrendous. The only (small) consolation is that, judging by what I see on Twitter and Facebook, he's not alone. I wonder if perhaps by the time today's young folk have become parents, the dumbing down of our spoken language will mean that everyone (regardless of age) peppers their speech with choice expletives - and no one even bats an eye any more...

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    1. Thank you for your very thoughtful comment, and I am very impressed that both you and your husband hardly swear. Not swearing is totally doable - you just have to be so mindful of the thoughts forming in your head...

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  11. If Little A is anything like TC she will copy everything anyone says! You do have to have a little giggle though & when they are all grown up we will see them grappling with the same thing with their children and how we will laugh! xx Have a lovely snowy weekend

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    1. Totally - absolute sponges at this age (but very funny when they swear). We've had a lovely snowy weekend, thank you. X.

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  12. I wouldn't ignore or punish, when dd first told me she knew "rude words" (cock and shit for those that wondered, I have blogged about it) we discussed that some words make people sad to hear, so while there are no "bad" words, there are words that are rarely used as they upset people. We talked about the meaning of the words too, so that dd could use them in the right context, but I might not go that far with "bugger"! Lol
    So I'd go with the "not hurting others feelings" aspect I guess

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    1. That's really sound advice. Little A is now at an age where she's starting to understand the concept of feelings being hurt so your angle is spot on, and one I'll defo use. Thank you!

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  13. My son winds me up by saying 'Oh My G.O.D' cos I ban him from saying 'Oh My God!' as don't think it's great since he's not quite 4yrs. Trouble is, they are smart little arses. He went through a few 'Oh My Bod!'s before realising he could spell God. TV and Radio are unfortunately full of mildly bad language - ok for in front of your Mum language, but not want you want out of the mouth of a toddler.

    The one that really gets me is picking him up from nursery, asking him to get into the car and getting 'ok babe' as a response!! Luckily he seems to forget it before he gets home each time.

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    1. That - 'okay babe' - made me laugh, I think that's possibly worse! Little A is now starting to pick things up from nursery too - quite cheeky things. I think that's the thing - not to make a big deal out of it, or they will know to wind you up with it...

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  14. Oh dear, I would say ignore it. The more you make a big deal the more they say it. x

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    1. Exactly - ignore, ignore, ignore! X.

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  15. Ignore. Ignore. Ignore. And ignore some more. Bibsey's first swear word was sh*t. And it came straight from me... proudest moment if I'm honest. x

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    1. I intend to :o). You don't realise that when you are cussing under your breath around the house - their ears are flapping at everything you say! X.

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  16. Zachy went through a stage of saying for f@$%s sake. I had to leave the room for laughing but decided to ignore it and not make a fuss. He said it again a few times after but has dropped it now.
    I'm not sure where he picked it up from. It all started on a day that my brother was babysitting, so we are blaming him obvs xx

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    1. Defo your brother is to blame :o).... And your approach to Zachy swearing was spot on and I shall be adopting exactly the same stance (it is so funny when they swear though). X.

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  17. Seems the general consensus of opinion is ignore! I caught Pip saying Jesus which was an interesting one. I don't know where it came from - but he blamed Grandma. I explained that saying it could upset some people and he hasn't said it since.

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    1. I think it is, and so I shall! And I think your approach (as well as ignore) was spot on from the angle of not hurting others feelings - that is something that Little A will understand now :o).

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  18. How you managed not to laugh, I don't know. I have such trouble keeping a straight face at things like that. I have to leave the room and let Paul deal with it. I'd say ignore unless it's repeated a few times ... then you'd need to explain that it's not a nice word, even of it's the sea witch that's saying it.

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    1. It was very, very difficult indeed, and it's so funny when swear words come out of their mouths especially as they say them with such innocence - but ignoring is probably the best policy & saying these words aren't nice...

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  19. Very tricky one. Made more tricky in my case by the fact that mummy often cusses at daddy in the kitchen, probably within earshot. Also, 'bloody' is granddad's favourite adjective of all time.

    I do tell them off a bit, but I'm also quite accepting of the fact that they WILL swear, and that as long as I've managed to stress the importance of appropriate behaviour (not swearing in front of teachers, the older generation etc), that's about as much as I can do!!

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    1. Yes quite - there has certainly been cussing between me and Younger Dad, and sometimes you forget their ears are flapping to everything they say. And your approach sounds very practical - sometimes you just can't control what they say and then damage limitation (not in front of teachers etc) is the next best thing! :o).

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  20. Well done for keeping a straight face! She know's it's wrong but I'm sure she'll use the word again to see what reaction she gets!Can't say it gets any better as they get older.

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    1. Cheers! She knew she was saying a naughty word - cheeky minx - and she will say it again to test - so I will just ignore.... it will be far, far worse when she is a teenager!

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  21. So late commenting on this but it didn't come into my inbox like usual. This is so funny! Especially as Little A chose to say it again later. We haven't run into too much of this yet, I'm not really sure why. But last night the little man said Fxxxxxg Hxxl, under his breath, so he knows it's wrong, but that is a word he NEVER, EVER hears around here. It must have come from school. Bugger, however, is another matter! Unfortunately I say it a fair bit (usually under my breath) but little man just hasn't picked up on it. (Yet).

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    1. No worries! Email subscriptions are so temperamental sometimes! Glad it made you laugh! She only does it very occasionally to test our response - and of course they are now reaching an age when there are so many other people to copy (bugger is a great word).

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  22. Just thought I'd let you know that I've now managed to equal you on the 'silly buggers' front. Must have had the word on my mind after reading your post and managed to say to my husband, in earshot of MP, "I don't want to bugger up my newly manicured nails" to which MP replied, "mummy, why don't you want to bugger up your nails?". Oh the joy. My husband couldn't even look at me, he was so mad at me. So that's two f-words and a bugger in one week. Go me. I make myself so proud.

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    1. Oh no (she says trying not to laugh) - it was a one off!!!!! Point your husband in the direction of this post and blame me!

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  23. Hehe - I read that with such a big smile on my face. I have no advice unfortunately as Little Z has just started copying absolutely everything we are saying like a little parrot including the word "shite"...oops. It wasn't me, honest. It was definitely the sea witch!

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    1. Thank you .... at this age, you have to be so careful what you say and do in front of the little nippers!!!!

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  24. Sounds like you handled it very well. Ignoring naughty words always worked with my four x

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    1. Thank you ... and I will take your advice! X.

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