January 11, 2010

Potty (Mouth) Training

I’ll be the first to admit that neither my husband nor I has ever been accused of ladylike behaviour. In fact, between the two of us I suspect he is the more ladylike (which is saying something… he racked up the most penalty minutes on his hockey team and spends most of his time watching football and hockey… well, and Ghost Whisperer, but that’s just connecting with his sensitive, 90’s kind-of-guy side). I can remember showing up to my first day on the job as a new co-op student and laying out an f-bomb to my new boss within a few hours. I generally control myself in front of clients to give the impression of being professional, but most people know my truth… I curse like a trucker.

This may be the single most difficult habit we’ve had to try and lose since we had a kid. We’ve been fortunate that she hasn’t seemed to pay much attention until recently. However, she laid out an f-bomb the other day, just to see what it did. We looked at each other in shock and tried not to react. Last night, Hubby slipped with an s-bomb which she reacted to with a “shhh…” and Hubby followed with a “-ooooot”. But she’s no fool. She looked slyly at Hubby and grinned her little “I’m older and wiser in my head than you will ever know” look and I am sure has stored that one in the memory banks for the next time we’re out with my parents (who are routinely horrified by my liberal use of suggestive and uncouth language and are probably quite shocked that Version 1.0 hasn’t become fluent in Trucker yet).

Our friends implemented a Swear Jar a couple of years ago when their little guy was starting to talk. I used to put regular deposits in there, proactively, likely funding their house renovations or something. Sadly I don’t think this tactic will work at our house, since we’re essentially, well, paying ourselves for swearing. My kid is way too quick to let anything past her and the minute she realizes she will get a reaction, you can guarantee that she’ll want to watch “f***ing Max and Ruby” every morning, or that she will refuse to clean up her “sh*t” at bedtime.

Gah! How am I supposed to give up my favourite expression of frustration, surprise or reaction to a stubbed toe? It just won’t feel the same to say “Oh BOTHER!”. I need the exclamatory equivalent of a charlie horse to balance out the offending occurrence.

Help. I’m not bound to be any Sister Mary Margaret anytime soon, but I definitely want to delay my child’s use of “trash” talking until she’s at least 6 (is that the generally accepted age for swearing these days?). I need reform.


Bowen said...

So, a friend of mine, and his sister had this problem when they were kids. His parents tried to curb it, but well, the swear jar just ended up getting raided for pizza night, so it turned into the "I want "mammajammin" pizza" fund.

His parents eventually hit on the idea of fartknockers night. Fartknockers was really simple - you saved up all your swearing until one day a month where all you spoke was Truckerese. "Mom pass the fn' potatoes. Dad, I know you said my room looks like st but I'm goin' out to get a slurpee before I clean the mofo". For that one, glorious day, there was no punishments at all for it. Here's the kicker, all four of them had to participate - it was an attempt to cure both parents and kids of that issue. And, interestingly enough it helped curb the swearing.

The first fartknocker day was fun, but got old near the end. The second got old a whole lot earlier, and the third, well, it was more of a morning. That friend is still mostly couth - it didn't solve the issue entirely, but certainly curbed a large amount of it. The success means this is obviously not a story about me... as I also am known for my "plain speech".

Phat Girl said...

Hahaha, great idea. I'm hoping we have the intestinal fortitude and backbones to curb this before it becomes a public problem.

schnauzer girl said...

Oh, Hayes. I couldn't have written that any better myself. We have issues here too and jeepers creepers just isn't cutting it when I want to let out a good "Oh, for f*ck sakes" or a good old fashioned "Jesus Christ".

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