…or, more appropriately perhaps, why children swear?
Language warning for the sensitive of eye and ear.
What they didn’t tell you in any of the parenting books is just how gross the first years of parenthood are. Snot. Poop. Or, as we used to call it in the time before children—shit. So many, many shit stories.
So here, to celebrate April Fools’ Day, is the one of the best two-in-one poop-n-swear stories from Flora’s first year. Cinder was two months short of three years.
Flora has the mother of all blow outs first thing in the morning. (I’ve always thought people exaggerated when they reported these kinds of things; now I know.) There was poop up her back to her hairline; grosser still, it went up her sleeves to her elbows.
“Aaaah!” I say, as I realize it left the diaper.
“Iiick!” I say, as I realize it’s soaked through the entire sleeper.
“Ugh!” I say as I realize it’s leaked through the sleeper onto the sheet and the mattress.
“What happened?” Cinder, sitting beside the bed, asks. I summarize. Cinder looks.
“Do you want to say fuck?” he asks after a moment.
“What? Why?” I stammer. My toddler—my baby—what’s coming out of his mouth?
“Daddy would say fuck,” he says seriously.
From Life’s Archives, March 31, 2005.
Seven years later: The first time Ender said fuck, I wasn’t the slightest bit surprised. Mortified beyond belief because of where we were at the time, but definitely not surprised (that story’s here). We do learn something along the journey. Not always what we’re supposed to learn, or what we should learn, but we do learn something.