The other day Wifey read me an ominous statistic: “though your baby may not actually start speaking until one or two years old, he may start understanding what you say as early as four or five months.” Our guy is now five months old and we speak to him incessantly – he even makes some ridiculously funny sounds in response. The not-so-good news? Wifey and I both possess (and make constant, public use of) terrible pottymouths. Which raises the real question – one that we’ve been avoiding for months now: how the fuck are we to actually stop swearing in front of our child?
Honestly, the whole “cursing is the sign of a weak mind” argument has never carried much weight with me. Some of the most accomplished swearers I know are also the most highly educated; speaking for myself, those who read this blog regularly – and more importantly my wine writing – are unlikely to accuse me of a having lack of adjectives in my vocabulary. I’m proud to say I have learned to curse with reasonable fluency in several languages, and have rarely if ever felt much shame about it. But that doesn’t mean Little Dude’s first words need to be “Holy shit, Daddy!” (or, “Va a fanculo, Babbo!” although I’m not gonna lie – that would be kind of awesome.)
We’ve been tested recently by nieces and nephews, as well as friends and neighbors with slightly older children. Time and time again, we’ve failed. Some call it laziness, I prefer to name it “enthusiasm.” (Wifey blames her own pottymouth on the years spent in New York City.)
Even when we’re on our best behavior there are inevitable slip-ups. We’re trying harder and harder, I assure you. But some folks were blessed with a higher degree of verbal self control than we. I’m confident, at least, that if we are in the end unable to successfully alter our speech patterns, our son will have our back. I can already hear him in my mind, speaking in gentle baby tones:
“What are you looking at, Motherfucker?”