Monday, October 18, 2004

Potty Mouth

Notwithstanding the changing of diapers soiled with undigested raisins, the most severe challenge I have confronted as a father is training myself not to curse in front of the kids. Cursing is a tool for the powerless, and it’s clear that I am completely at the mercy of my kids.

Left-Handed Power-Hitting Son was sitting on the living room floor yesterday, trying to put on his underwear. He’s still working to master the skill of getting himself dressed and his attempts often end with him lying face down on the ground, crying hysterically and pounding the floor in frustration. Yesterday, after mistakenly putting both legs into the same leg opening in his underpants on three consecutive attempts, he resorted to the tactics of his dear old dad:

“Aaaargh! Dammit!”

I don’t believe “dammit” is technically a curse word (I think I heard Barney say it to one of those brats on his show just the other day -- "Move, kid! You're in my light, dammit!"), but the point was made. My attempts to clean up my filthy mouth are failing miserably and the kids are taking note. Shit.

As the day dragged on, the issue stayed fresh in my mind. To my own amazement, I was able to self-edit in a series of situations that would normally have precipitated a string of expletives that would make my mother spit out her teeth and bash my ass with a rolling pin:

1) After the crescendo of my weekly Sunday Morning Dump –- the big one, with the sports page and a Diet Coke and a plunger within arm’s reach –- I reached out for the toilet paper and found nothing but a spent brown roller. My blood boiled at the notion of waddling out to the garage with my skivvies around my ankles. The naughty words were in transit from my brain to my mouth, but I stopped them and tried to clean it up. “God Fries His Mother-Loving Donuts! This sucks!” To avoid contaminating your sensibilities, I won’t tell you how the story ends. But let’s just say I wasn’t able to finish reading the sports page.

2) When she gets tired, Adorable Daughter wants to watch videos. Immediately. Right in the middle of the football game, she started yanking on my shorts and pleading to see her favorite friends on TV. “Daddy! Barney! Dora! Barney! Dora! Daddy! Barney! Dora! Dora! Dadeeeeeheeeeheeeeeeee!” I could ignore her no longer, and again I had to clean up my frustrated response for her consumption. “Alright! Alright! Will you just shut the...front door?!”

3) The baseball game went into extra innings last night. Hot Wife will humor me from time to time by watching a few innings of a game she really has no interest in, but she reached her tolerance threshold in the 10th inning last night and began to badger me about seeing what else was on. “Honey, the Red Sox have runners at first and third and you want me to flip to Desperate Housewives? Falafel that.”

Hot Wife stormed off to the bedroom and I suddenly found myself alone with the remote control (which I submit to you is the next best thing to rapture for men everywhere). Peace. Quiet. Kids are sleeping. Hot Wife is doing Down Dog or some other yoga weirdness at the other end of the house. No fragile ears to defile. Silence.

And all was right in the motherfucking world.


At 1:50 PM, Blogger Shiz said...

Thank you for reminding me. My husband and I plan to start a family in 1 or 2 years, and I was raised to have such a pristine mouth. That's all gone NOW, and I'm gonna have to reel it in lest our child tells his or her Kindergarten teacher to fuck off.

Although I think I might laugh if that happened.

At 8:31 PM, Blogger honestyrain said...

i just made a promise yesterday to stop swearing when i am frustrated. swearing and shouting. i am, by all accounts, failing miserably. what the hell is wrong with me? today i was assitant at my son's preschool so that one of the teachers could attend to a dead realtive when during story time i was deeply concerned that my son was going to blurt out SCREAM AND YELL AND SWEAR in response to the do you get a baby to stop crying? oh god.

it was a bad night, ok?

At 8:17 PM, Blogger Pink Lemonade Diva said...

I agree with the whole not cursing around children, but you have to admit, isn't it funny when they let a gem rip and they have no idea what they're saying? Hard not to laugh.

BTW I found you via the mediabistro boards. Thanks for posting your url; I've enjoyed it thus far. Gets lively over there, doesn't it?


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