Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wash My Mouth Out

I just realized that Easter is almost here which meant Lent has pretty much come and gone without me noticing or observing in the slightest. If I had known, I’d have given up cursing. David thinks this Lent business is kind of far-fetched and wants to know what my not using the f-bomb has to do with Jesus.

“Oh don’t be so literal,” I say, evasively, “You don’t understand because you’re not a Catholic and you don’t know the meaning of sacrifice, like I do,”

The truth is, I’m not a hundred percent sure either. And my packed schedule chasing children out of traffic doesn’t offer my much time to reflect. Suffice it to say that it feels right to make myself suffer a little bit, in homage. I used to give up chocolate but let’s face it, those were the days when I was drinking and smoking and dating, one might say, liberally. Now, I need the friggin’ chocolate. I am not, believe it or not, a saint. The chocolate is all I’ve got in the way of pleasure. Let me amend that since David will be reading this: its all I’ve got besides mind-blowingly, wall-bangingly raucous, incomparable sex with my husband. The point is, I need that chocolate and I know that Jesus understands. But he’s probably wondering why I curse like a sailor, in front of my young children.

“Son of a BITCH,” Seconda said this morning, when she spilled her yogurt on her lap.

“What did you say?” I gasped.

“Son of a BITCH,” she enunciated more clearly, like she was the one teaching me how to talk. And then, with flourish, she added, “GodDAMNit!”

It can’t be good, I thought, that my two year-old talks like she’s in a David Mamet play.

This is when I realized I needed to tone the language down. It didn’t help that a week or two before, when Primo’s pencil broke, he exclaimed, “This fucking pencil won’t work!”

The worst part is, he was so earnest, with no sense that he was using a bad word, or crossing a line. He was just trying to find the appropriate word for that particular scenario, the same way he does when he invokes the phrase “my hideous bumps” to describe the eczema flare-up on his legs.And thanks to my modeling, he thinks that word is a four-letter one. .

“Oh honey,” I said somberly, “That’s not a nice word. And its Mommy’s fault because I use it too much, and I shouldn’t because it’s an ugly word and not nice at all, so I’m sorry.”

So, I’m not feeling like such a stellar mama today. I have single-handedly tarnished my children, flawless vessels of purity. Although, to be fair, Seconda doesn’t look so pure when she’s beating down defenseless infants on the playground with her sappy cup. And neither does Primo when we’re on line at the grocery store and he screams,

“You better get me those marshmallows, you SCOUNDREL, or else!” But, still . . .

Are there others like me among you, readers? What horrifying curse words have your kids whipped out in the least appropriate places?