(Scene: the family sits at breakfast, mother nursing her first coffee of the day, attempting to keep her eyes open. 10-month-old Prophet Isaiah in high chair, eating bits of fruit and cheese. 4-year-old St. Adelaide the Righteous spooning up her oatmeal.)

St. A: Mommy, this oatmeal is great.

Mom: Hmmfhhhmmm? Oh. Good. Are you full yet? Do you want some fruit or a hot dog or something?

St. A: NO way! This is more than enough! Man. I’m almost bursting. What the hell are you thinking, Mom??

Mom: ———???!!

(Silence falls over the house as all movement stops. Even the baby looks up from gumming his fruit.)

Mom: What??? (#&^!#*&**)

St. A, beating a hasty retreat: Um, nothing. I’m full.

Mom: Wait a sec. What were those last words you just said?

St. A: Um….”what were you thinking”?

Mom, now fully and irrevocably awake: That’s not what I heard. You used a… new word.

St. A: Yeah. I said “hell”.

Mom: Do you know what that means?

St. A: No.

Mom, resisting the urge to go into a theologically correct definition of “Hell”, cursing Disney’s “El Dorado”, which used the word, wondering if a visual aid from an art book might be appropriate to illustrate historical visions of Hades and Sheol, settling on a simple definition tailored for a 4-year-old: That word is a word that hurts peoples’ feelings sometimes. It’s better if you don’t use it. Especially with anyone outside this house, like Grandma or Grandpa, or your teacher, or any of your classmates.

St. A: OK. I’m gonna go get dressed now.

Mom: Good idea.

(Flashback twenty-something years. Scene: a kitchen in an apartment. A family is cleaning in preparation to move, and eldest daughter Evenshine has been given the task of cleaning behind the stove. She pulls back as she sees a centipede under the stove, then gets a paper towel in preparation to dispose of the insect.)

Evenshine, squashing bug: Take that, you son-of-a-bitch!

(Silence. All movement stops as other five family members turn from their work to stare at E, who realizes something world-shaking has occurred.)

E’s Mom: Um…what was that?

E: I killed a centipede.

E’s Mom, cursing Indiana Jones and Star Wars, hoping the smaller kids didn’t overhear or understand, wondering if she slipped up at some point and said it in front of E, settling on a less-is-more approach: Let’s not use that phrase any more.

E: OK.

Payback’s a *$!%&, right?

This entry was posted in children, family, language, motherhood and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to *%!$#*!

  1. KathyB! says:

    Just wait. There is a whole plethora of mild words and phrases (when spoken by an adult anyway) that will soon sound offensive as they pass the lips of your sweet angel. In no time at all you’ll sound like me (translation: like a complete idiot) as you utter phrases like:
    – Shazam! (You can work some good emotion into that one)
    – What in the name of Sam Hill?! (Enough verbiage for them to feel the full impact of your frustration)
    – Cheese and crackers! (I have no idea what the point of that one is)
    – Holy Guacamole (I use that one when I’m hungry 😉 )
    Hmmm… I’m going to be writing a post about these names pretty soon… I’ve got some good ones : )

    And what was that crack about sex ed on my blog?! The stem cell one I could understand but I hit “the talk” out of the park : )

    Hopefully people understood that I’m kidding. I’m barely holding our household together….

  2. faemom says:

    oh, man. You did that well. Let’s hope it sticks, or you should find a backup picture just in case. My little guy already learned GD, which thankfully, he’s forgotten.

  3. ck says:

    I laughed at this post until it occurred to me that my daughter just turned 4, which means I’m next. And if Payback is serious, I’m gonna get my a** kicked.

  4. Ink says:

    You DID do a great job…bravo! And I agree with KB…when I made an attempt to switch gears, I found myself drawing upon the ones my mom used, which at first made me laugh every time I said them…like gee willikers! and dag nabbit! 😉

  5. Ink says:

    Oh, and YOUR story is hilarious! Come to think of it, you may have inspired me to explore the whole cursing issue in a future post…what a great topic.

  6. Adriana says:

    I’m trying hard not too laugh, and try to be shocked or something. That you held yourself together as you did is commendable. In my case my husband would’ve had to kick me under the table to shut me up as he addressed the child.

  7. K says:

    I love it.

    My son is starting to repeat EVERYTHING I say. It’s just a matter of time.

  8. Gibby says:

    I know it’s wrong. I know it. But I CANNOT help laughing when kids swear (as long as they really have no idea what they are saying). It is so gosh darn funny! And really, WHERE would these children be learning this stuff? Certainly not in our households, right?

  9. antropologa says:

    So far the funniest stuff to come out of Nora’s mouth is when she calls herself “little papa” and “little mama.” I guess we’ll see what’s next. 🙂

  10. myra36 says:

    LMAO! I wouldn’t be surprised if my little one started swearing a blue streak. We are potty mouths. Is it better that he learn those words at home or out on the playground? Hmmmm…

    I agree with Gibby. It is funny when kids swear.


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