i swear



Katie and I are alone in the car, returning from a marathon session of errand running. Yeah, good times.

“Mama?” she asks, “Do you think I could start swearing a little? You know, like just the light ones, maybe?”

I smirk, remembering a friend relaying an almost identical conversation she’d had with her daughter a couple of years ago.

“What do you mean, honey?”

“Well, I’m nine and three-quarters after all – almost TEN.” She says TEN with all the gravity she can muster. “So I was thinking maybe I could say like ‘hell’ or ‘damn’ once in a while now, ya know?”

I chew on the idea for a moment and then tell her that I’d be OK with her trying them on for size when it’s just the two of us alone in the car. I tell her that they cannot be used outside of our home and NEVER in front of her sister.

She seems satisfied.

I get a little carried away patting myself on the back for my cool yet still authoritative parenting solution. Those moments don’t happen often, after all. But my reveling is cut short.

“What about ‘crap’?”

I tighten my grip on the wheel as I say, “Excuse me?”

“Can I say ‘crap’?”

I think for a minute, do a gut check and tell her unequivocally that I am NOT comfortable with my nine year-old (or my nine and three-quarter year-old or even my almost TEN year-old) using the word crap. In any setting. Period.

She looks at me thoughtfully. I assume that she’s formulating her counter-argument, gathering her thoughts before trying to persuade me that I’m wrong.

Apparently not.

“So I guess ‘shit’ is out of the question then, huh?”

32 thoughts on “i swear

  1. I am so not ready for this! I was so not ready for it with you those many years ago! So how many times did she get to use, “hell” and “damn” during that car ride? Good luck, little Mama!

    I love you,

  2. My 8 year old is trying to figure out what kind of words he can add to his repertoire. Can I say “oh crud”, can I say “gosh darn it”?

    Can I say “you guys are growing up way too fast”?


    When told that they could not say shit my kids responded with “well how about “sheet” (the Hebrew pronunciation, but yes, still the same word). Never miss a trick these kids.

    My photography is available for purchase – visit Around the Island Photography and bring home something beautiful today!

  4. oh my,,,,I almost fell off my chair laughing at this, and it’s midnight here in Oz. I think I woke up the household with my super loud guffaw!

  5. So funny!! Have the same in my house with my soon to be 11 and 12 year old girls!! Hold on tight…. the ride is looooong!!

  6. I love it! Thank you for making me laugh out loud this morning! A few years ago my son made it his goal to learn every curse word. He comes up to me in the middle of a dinner party in front of adults and asked, “Is the F word fu*#?” He had reached his goal!

  7. I have noticed that my (now almost 11 yr old) says “what the..?” all the time. Leaving it blank, yet implied. Also last week he came home furious with his math teacher. He started that sentence with Mrs ______ REALLY PISSES ME OFF…..sigh.

  8. your “crap” is the equivalent to my “sucks”, boy I don’t like Conor using that word, ugh. and “puke” was a word that we couldn’t use in my house growing up, in addition to every swear word on the planet. soap never tasted so good……

  9. Studies have found that swearing works better than Tylenol in reducing minor pain- like stubbing your toe. Who are we to take away a coping strategy?! And I’m with Sheila for the “rules”!

  10. very funny. i love that she is carefully, methodically piecing together an age-appropriate curse word vocabulary. she’s just approaching it in such a katie-like way, it’s perfect.

  11. That. was. perfect. She is surely going to be keeping you on your toes for years to come. When I was 14 I went away to camp and learned to swear. She is definitely a wee bit precocious.

    All I can say is: be grateful you don’t have boys. Because Ethan’s favorite word has been “buttocks” for way too long and it’s only going to be getting worse.

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