Let it be forever known that today is the day I STOP SWEARING. Things have reached crisis point in our house, and desperate times call for desperate measures and all that, so I'm quitting swearing. Which will make my blog posts short and sweet, I'll grant you that.
I have always sworn. I mean, possibly not in nursery school, but for the most part, yes, I’ve sworn. When Ben was born, I thought about curbing my swearing, but then thought, fuck it. My theory was that as long as Ben knew swearing was a grown-up thing, and that only grown-ups were allowed to swear, we’d be peachy. Like all my parenting theories, this was based on nothing but blind hope and optimism. And it worked! I can honestly say that in all his nine and a half years, Ben has never sworn. Never! He made a rude Chinese hand gesture, once, but that was the fault of a boy in his class, who told him he’d emptied a Chinese restaurant by waggling his little finger. Ben thought he’d try it in McDonalds. It didn’t work.
So I was feeling SMUG, yes, thinking that my children were superhuman, and knew the grown-up/small child boundaries … until Frankie stood in the playground shouting at Alice to go down the fucking slide. And I made the NUMBER TWO MISTAKE OF PARENTING (after "never test a nappy with your finger"). I laughed. I ROARED with laughter. And that was it. Now Frankie will simply not stop swearing - in context, and with joyful enthusiasm.
“Can we go to the fucking park?”
“I’ve dropped my fucking biscuit!”
“Fuck’s sake mummy, get off the fucking phone!”
“Fucking hell Alice, you're standing in front of the fucking Wiggles!”
“Where’s my fucking breakfast?”
And so on and so forth.
Frankie, for the record, is three and a half. He has NO swearing regulator. He swears at home, he swears in the park, he swears on Skype to his grandma in England, he swears in my grandad’s hospital room. This shit is getting embarrassing. And awkward.
Also, two-year-old Alice is copying him. Alice’s vocabulary isn’t huge, and is based for the most part on third-child gobbledegook, but she’s THIS CLOSE to asking for her fucking porridge. I can tell.
We've tried discipline. I’ve tried being really, really stern and saying NO, these are grown-up words, but Frankie just laughs and says “fuck’s sake”. I’ve tried putting him in the naughty tent. I’ve tried ignoring him completely, which is actually the most effective method to date, but sometimes I’ll let out an inadvertent guffaw, and if Frankie hears even the slightest giggly snort, he’s off again, swearing his way around kindy gym. So you see? I’ll just have to stop swearing myself. Which is possibly the hardest parenting challenge I’ve ever set myself, and I’m doing DRY JULY, so I know all about hardship. Wish me fucking luck!