How is it possible that some time in the very near past, my unbelievably cool child couldn’t even write her own name?
At the present moment, she is so competent that she corrects my pronunciation. I remember doing this to my mother. I remember being six, and getting the stick that my mom was some kind of numbskull.
This is not true, of course, but being six and obnoxious, I believed it.
But my mom never told me that she was smarter than I was. In order to boost my self confidence, she would feign ignorance. I think she still blames herself for the fact that I thought she was stupid.
I would’ve gotten there anyway, just probably not as young. I figure, bonus for my mom having a few years to get used to it before things got real bad during the teenage years.
I do tell Child I am smarter than she is.
I also do not censor my language around her too much. I’ve waffled on this point, but here’s my reasoning.
My own potty mouth (which is considerable, though usually mixed with some money vocab) is a product of my extremely conservative, Christian upbringing, and the fact that while I lean hard on being a pretentious wanker, I have always abhorred open pretension and making people feel stupid just because they haven’t read as many books as I have.
Some sheltered, indoctrinated kids discover booze and sex and go nuts? Nothing like the nuts I went, and continue to go, on the profane tongue.
I am amused and edified by few things as much as I am by a stream of–especially creatively strewn–four-letter words. Yes. I do mean edified.
And using the cussy vernacular gives my social tendrils greater reach. I am not perceived as a goody-two-shoes, nor as someone who can’t identify with uneducated people. And, this is the best part: people who are and would be offended by my speech can stay away.
No Words are Bad Words
So my current rationale for swearing in font of Child is that no words are bad, and thinking of words as bad or profane is kind of unhelpful. The idea that a radio personality can’t say “f*ck” on air is nuts. What is this? 1500?
I mean, I can’t even spell out the f-word on my blog for fear of getting found by a bunch of prawn connoisseurs. Yes. I do mean prawn.
Anyhoo, so I’m thinking that m’child will not be so amused as I am by the swear words because she will have grown up hearing them. Hell, she might even intentionally NOT swear just to be different from me. Wouldn’t that be a rub.
As it stands, I do not hear my child cuss often. Usually, if I say, “Oh sh*t.” to myself, she’ll say, “Oh sh*t what, mommy?”
But she hangs out with her Christian grandparents sometimes, and has returned from their house on a number of occasions with the news that “God doesn’t like it when you say, ‘Jesus Christ.’ It hurts his feelings.”
Child was, for a time, saying, “Jesus Christ, Mommy!”
I was, of course, amused by this especially.
But since Grandma’s kibosh, Child doesn’t say that.
What’ll You Do When You Get The Call?
Fella shakes his head at me sort of regularly and says, “You’re going to get a call from the principal.”
Last time he said, “I’ll back you up. I mean, in theory I agree.”
Answer is, I don’t know.
I’m a total wuss about confrontation. Though I tend to be less so where Child is concerned. Last year, at least one time, I marched into the Principal’s office and said, “What’s up with X?”
Probably, I’ll tell Child she has to accept whatever punishment she gets at school, because sometimes the world is different than our ideals, but that she’s not in trouble at home.
And it’s not as if she thinks it’s always all right for kids to swear. She’s been informed of the differing viewpoints.
Whenever she says something a little off color, Fella or I remind her that it’s okay with us, but that she shouldn’t say those words at school.
Kids these days
The other day, when I picked up Child, her very intense little friend who likes to talk to me ran up to me and began to squeal, “I got him! I got the boy!”
Later discussion with Child revealed that she and the other girl have a crush on the same older boy, and they don’t know his name. Child said that she likes his hair and shoes.
“Have you ever talked to him?”
“Has your friend?”
Honestly, I was sort of appalled by the inherent competitiveness and gloating absurdity of the other child. My child seemed embarrassed about the whole thing, which was heartening.
Then the other day, we heard one of our neighborhood children shouting, “It’s Aspergers, Bitch!”
I also recently heard some sad stories about kids with drug dealer parents and the mounds of sh*t those children see, have seen, and wade through daily.
Clearly, some children have real problems.
Anybody care to weigh in with their own experience or ideas on the topic?