Written on Sunday, January 27, 2008 by Jessica
Last weekend, I had the mortifying experience of hearing my toddler say those words at Grandma's house. "Fuck, fffffffuck." Extra emphasis on the "f" and "k." Unmistakable. Grandma was properly horrified. "What did he just say?" I replied that maybe he was trying to say "truck." Lame, I know, especially since the boy has been properly saying "truck" for months. But what can I say? I don't think well when mortified, and worse, I didn't want to admit the truth: that he must've heard one of his parents say it.
Yes, it's true. Most people think I don't swear because I don't do so in regular conversation. But when I sit in front of my computer working on something that isn't going well, or reading a frustrating e-mail from a coworker, really bad words come out of my mouth. It's a habit I haven't been able to break. I didn't think I ever said anything unsavory in front of Seth, but his new favorite word said otherwise.
Bob says the word from time to time when he gets really mad over something, such as trying to replace a part on a vehicle but breaking another part in the process. A fifty-dollar mistake will do that to a man. But what the heck? Surely Seth had heard his Daddy say "shit" many more times than the f-word, yet he wasn't walking around saying "shit" for fun.
I thought perhaps he heard it on television. Bob and I haven't regulated our viewing habits at all, which is how Jon Stewart from the Daily Show recently taught my little boy how to say "dammit." So yeah, that must be it, right? We must've been watching an R-rated movie. Seth didn't hear it from us. It must've been the TV. (This is known as "grasping at straws.")
I've spent a week lamenting over this. Out of nowhere the kid will start saying it. At first I tried ignoring him, but the word seem to hold a special fascination, despite the fact that I purposely made sure I didn't overreact. I didn't want him to learn that Mommy had a special freak-out button and all he had to do was swear. When ignoring didn't work, I started to correct him. "No, Seth. That's a bad word. It's naughty." Out of desperation, I even began to offer other words he could say instead. "Seth, don't say that. You can say, 'shoot.'" This backfired monumentally because later on I became upset over something and shouted, "Shoot!" Seth replied, "Fuck."
Yesterday, the mystery was finally solved. I learned the source of the dreaded word. Care to guess?
We were in the living room together when he picked up his stuffed animal and said, "Fock." So after all this agony, it turns out my little guy just can't quite say "frog."