Monday, January 28, 2008

S.O.S. - Shit. Oh. Shit

Yesterday, my adorable, little 7 year old boy, while relaying the particulars of his day at school, called a friend who had behaved badly, a SHITHEAD.

WTF! No, he didn't learn it from me. I can't shuck all of the blame but I do know that lately he and his friends at school have been working on "vocabulary - building". And if it wasn't bad enough hearing that word emanate from his heretofore chaste lips, today, while doing homework, he yelled at our barking dog,

"What's your fucking problem?"

I knew what he said. I knew what I heard. Nevertheless, I could not believe my Mommy-In-Denial ears.

"What did you say?" I asked giving him a chance to redeem himself.
Quickly he conjured up, "Freakin'... I said freakin'."
"Hmm, good one," I thought to myself.
To him I said, "Up to your room. That language is not acceptable!"

I don't know about you but hasn't "that is not acceptable" lost it's mo-jo? I've been using it since I enrolled in my first rip-off baby class and where has it gotten me? It's like that great book, NO DAVID! After a while, the same phrase repeated over and over just falls upon deaf ears.

So what to do? Intellectually, I know curse words are empowering. That they have a cathartic release like no others. They're sexy and they're all around us. Back in July, our family stood on an airport security line next to a man who dropped his laptop on the floor. He yelled out, "Son of a Bitch!"At first, my son was shocked into silence. But within minutes he barraged me with questions.

"Mom, did he say Son of a "B" word?"
"Mom, what does that mean exactly?"
"Mom, why did he say that and not the "F" word?"

He still talks about that moment to this day.

So, I ask again, what to do? Lock the kid up? Send him to Catholic school? (My temple might not be too thrilled.) Home school him? No, please God, no! Not that! I've heard it takes a village...but what kind of village? Is there really a village? In Los Angeles, it certainly ain't my village.

I've read this article and that article seeking help but putting money in the swear box quickly grows old and eating soap just seems so Donna Reed.

Tonight, after reading a bedtime story, my boy, as he often does, asked me to crack an egg over his head to help him fall asleep. As I danced my fingers from his wavy hair down past his arms, his giggles and sweetness brought me back to a more innocent time: the scent of Johnson and Johnson, the softness of peach fuzz, the knowing embrace of tiny, curled fingers.

I think of this and I want to help the foul-mouthed, little booger. S.O.S.

Until tomorrow...


Manic Mommy said...

Goddammit! (my personal favorite) has certainly rolled off HRH's tongue more than once. What's worse, it's got my inflection written all over it. No plausible deniability.

Funny you should mention the soap because I tried that for the first time this weekend. RC has taken to spitting and was not listening. I squirted a (very) little Fresh Pear Dial Foaming onto my index finger and stuck it in his mouth. He was aghast - and stopped spitting - for now.

Try 'That makes me angry and sad.' It had some impact for a while. I think everything loses its mojo after a while and you need to learn a new trick. Thus, the soap.

InTheFastLane said...

We have not had to deal with this...yet. But, I have had to catch myself when I wanted to use a few choice words that I did not want my kids repeating.

Dawn said...

I have really had to learn how not to swear in front of the wee ones, but I still pop a few choice words out now and again. I am quick to apologize and tell the oldest that Mommy said a bad word and not to repeat it.

Two of my friends with older kids have used a dot of liquid soap on the tongue as a punishment for foul language and sassing with great effectiveness.

I think sometimes a little old-fashioned wisdom can go a long way.

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