I rolled up to preschool, prepared to wrap up the week with what would ideally be a quick trip – minimal accident/incident reports and less than a crooked number of potty-related costume changes.
Destroy was sitting sullenly against the playground fence. He didn’t move when he saw me, which could mean only one thing. Time out.
One of the teachers solemnly approached me. “Destroy is in trouble for calling our friend a VERY bad word. We had a long talk about it and now he’s sitting down to think about what he did wrong.”
Well shit. I was really curious to find out what verboten language had wormed its way into my munchkin’s vocabulary. Several hundred choice admonitions from a varietal of languages flashed through my mind – as well as whom I should blame for such uncouth education.
Meanwhile Search bum-rushed me with a knee-high bear hug. “My brother’s in trouble. He called the kid a stupid-head.”
Seriously? Out of all the swear words kids are exposed to these days and “stupid-head” is a “VERY bad word”? Well hell.
Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware that it is not nice to call our friends names of any kind. But it seems Disney is to blame for this particular one. See animated clip from Lilo and Stitch above…
The most popular four-letter word currently circulating the preschool playground is “baby.” As in, “You stop that, you baby!” This phrase is shouted both at home and school; it is then followed by the recipient squealing, “I not a baby!” before collapsing into a heap of sobs.
In a world of salty words, it takes quite an imagination when speaking around small children. (Most notably because in our wonderful world of potty training, “poop” is a word to be celebrated. Because priorities – clean and sanitary ones.)
Nevertheless, some examples of language techniques you’ll find parents employing:
Reinforce the alphabet: Set dinner on fire again? “Effity, eff eff EFF!” It comes right after “Eeeeeyaaa…GD!”
Re-appropriate a children’s show: Stub your toe? Shriek, “Aw Coconuts!” as though you were Izzy from Jake and the Neverland Pirates when she discovers Captain Hook has absconded with the singing starfish.
Profess your admiration: “For the love of…<trail off here>” and you will have eloquently expressed your frustration toward those “son of a…” that TPd your house in a perfectly PG manner. I mean, “Good grief.”
Tone down your attitude: Take the prim and proper route by spouting off timid versions of the more profane neurons firing off at random. When that alarm blares loudly after oversleeping, who hasn’t shot out of bed with a resounding, “Gosh darnit!” before racing around verifying the time on each and every clock in the house. “What the heck?!”
Turn to the thesaurus: Sometimes you’ve just got to go literal when you don’t have anything nice to say. Thinking of calling someone a very unflattering disdainful name? Try mumbling, “Babymaker,” in a sinister fashion as opposed to the more popular four-letter word representing such an act.
Join in the Old MacDonald refrain: When shocked by unpleasant news, I’ve been known to create my own profanity interpretations of the animal kingdom – “Son of duck,” is a relatively common refrain. Find your dog has eaten yet another baseball glove (or snacked on an otherwise inappropriate household item) and chastise him thoroughly with a shout of, “Moose and Squirrel!” or “Bad Dog! Bad. Dog. Bad” (said With Authority).
Embrace the sailor moon: Sometimes you may find yourself inadvertently taking the plunge. If my kid comes tumbling down the stairs you’re going to hear me shout, “Shit! Oh my god, is he okay?!” I’ll think about blaming someone else later, because maybe he won’t even remember what I said after that bump on the head.
What phrases, techniques or other random verbal outbursts have you found yourself utilizing on this crazy ride they call parenting?