Yes, on occasion, I have been subversive for the sake of being subversive. Call me “rebel without a cause”. The longer I am an adult it seems though, the more mild-mannered I become. I am less roused by the things that used to elicit rabid anger. I even find myself, on occasion, in the position of pacifier in situations where I’d previously been infuriated.
Years ago, while still in my teens, I even said that when I had children I would deliberately teach them swear words to use in their class rooms. My “logic” was that there were far more hateful things to say than fuck or shit or bitch and so on. (I still feel that way but I understand the offensive principle of using such words indiscriminately in public places).
I maintained that when my hypothetical child’s teacher called me to come for a meeting, sat me down somberly to break the news that my child had in fact, been swearing (GASP)! My, (again hypothetical) reaction would be to laugh and say proudly;
“Well of course little Johnny said fuck, I told him to.”
I even pictured in my mind how the meeting would unfold down to my body language. I would sit back in one of those tiny elementary school chairs, arms folded across my chest defiantly and smirk. She would be mortified. It’s then that I would explain;
“You see, my son could be saying far worse things that are completely acceptable in our society. Things like “loser” or “out-cast” or “cheater” and “failure” that have far worse meanings than FUCK. Fuck, in fact, is really an acronym; For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, is what it stands for. I have no problem with my child saying Fuck but saying something like “moron” is unkind and for me, intolerable in comparison.”
I would be resolute, impossible to reason with. After a long exchange, she would agree fervently but, near tears, plead with me, afraid for her job. I would concede and be sure, for her sake, little Johnny never swore in class again.
I know you’re thinking, THAT would be EXACTLY how it would go. No, Child and Family Services would NOT be contacted because little Johnny’s Mother is apparently vaguely unstable. There would NOT be several future visits from a Social Worker to ensure I was maintaining a safe and positive environment. Sure. That’s what I’M thinking. 😉 But I’ve grown up. I know better. I’m not the little shit I was in High School.
One thing that I have yet to shake is my sailor’s mouth. I swear like there’s no tomorrow and I say disgusting, vile things. I don’t apologize for it, in fact, I’m sort of proud of it. Well, okay, I am respectful and do watch my mouth with people I don’t know and in more formal situations. But if I know you well enough, I say what is on my mind and I don’t filter it. There was a study released in 2009 with research showing swearing was in fact good for you. Physically, chemically and mentally. Validation at last!
I do it so much that I’ve been dubbed “Dirty Wendy”. I wear the title proudly. I just won’t be intentionally grooming my child to use profanity. These days, when my out-going, friendly little boy proudly says (loudly), the word “clock” (pronounced with a silent L) I am as mortified as any Mother would be. It doesn’t stop his Grandma from gleefully having him repeat it constantly. Thanks Mom.
Still, censoring myself in front of my son took some adjustment. Even now, at 16 months, I have to take care to choose my words carefully in front of him-I don’t succeed 100% of the time, but, I do most of the time. I’m especially careful these days though, as it seems my son is saying many new words every day and repeating after us with ease.
I’ve taken flack from my family about it and am reminded that “one day Liam is going to repeat after you” every time a foul word comes out of my mouth. I’ve taken a lot of chiding that I would be the person he’d learn a bad word from first. Even I thought this to be true, in spite of my best efforts.
Which brings us to what transpired this past weekend. When trying to secure Liam in his car seat, while fighting with the harness latches, my Mother (the person I take the most heat from about swearing), without thinking exclaimed in frustration, “JESUS!” I didn’t hear my son repeat after her, what I heard was my frantic Mother pleading with my toddler;
“Liam NO! DON’T say that. It’s NOT a nice word.”
Again, I couldn’t hear his reply, but I knew instantly what it was when I heard my Mother’s reaction.
“NO Liam! Please DON’T say that. It’s NOT a nice word.” followed by;
“Liam, that’s caca, yuck. Don’t say that.”
I laughed and laughed, actually, I’m still laughing. So, in conclusion, SUCK IT friends and family, he didn’t hear it from me! 😛