You know which one I'm talking about. Don't make me spell it out for you. The way my kids did.
I'll never forget when my son, who was about five years old, ratted out my mother for saying it.
"Mommy. Nana used the C word," he tattled.
"No!" I gasped. "I don't believe it."
I was thinking, I know Nana curses like a truck driver but come on, the C WORD? Even Nana doesn't get that foul.
He nodded his head sadly, as if he was gravely disappointed.
"Yes," he confirmed. "She said --" he hesitated before giving himself permission to whisper it -- "crap."
I couldn't help it. I busted out laughing.
"Mom!" Primo was scandalized. "It's not funny!"
"You're right," I said, "it's not. Bad Nana."
Seconda, too, is fond of telling me that so-and-so used the "c word" and we shake our heads, judgier than Judge Judy herself, even though I've been known to go blue myself, from time to time.
And then last week, when I was rushing about trying to get the kids out the door for school, I was looking for Terza and I bellowed, "Terza??!!!" and she, little dear, was right at my side the whole time, so my sudden bellowing startled her and she said:
"Mommy! You scared the crap out of me!"
Crystal clear. Like she'd learned to enunciate from the Royal Shakespeare Company.
I was just thankful it was THAT four-letter C word. That's how low my parental expectations are right now.
Nicole is a parenting writer who contributes essays and articles for magazines like Parenting, Parents, American Baby and Babble. She lives in Brooklyn with three children, one husband and a morbidly obese goldfish.