I Failed the Swear Test

A special weekend edition.

We really do try to be good about not swearing around our kids, but we aren’t perfect. I think the worst was the long drives through traffic from Kellen’s day care to the hospital. We took Kellen to see Owen on Wednesdays after school/work and if we didn’t time it perfect, what should have been 20 minutes quickly became an hour or more. I’ll never forget Kyle coming to the hospital with Kellen in tow and giving me the guilty slumped shoulders. “Kellen learned a new word today, Mommy”. He then whispered with his lips moving in slow-mo, “Doooouuuuuche Baaaaag”. Apparently, in that car ride, Kellen repeated his dad’s road rage expression multiple times and Kyle was mortified. Fortunately, Kellen, and his memory, were barely over two at this point and we never heard the phrase again. Lesson learned; we needed to be even more cautious of what we say around our little parrot.

As seems to be the case with kids, Kellen has gotten older and smarter over the last year. It was several weeks ago that Kyle and Kellen were in the bathroom shaving (Kellen pretends – we didn’t fail the razor to three year old test, yet) when the sweetest, most inquisitive voice wakes me from my slumber asking, “Daddy, why can only daddies say ‘shit’?” My over-tired head shimmied under the pillows to, both, stifle my laughs and so I could play possum through this exchange. I must commend Kyle, he was the mature adult while I tried to hide my howls. He simply replied, “Even daddies shouldn’t say that word, it’s not a nice word”. Kellen accepted that, but we were left very confused because we had never had a conversation about nice or not nice words with Kellen, but apparently someone had given our son this lesson – uh oh.

Flash forward to last night. We just finished a nice dinner. Grandpa Corky was there. Owen graced us with one of his laughing so hysterically he starts to snort episodes. There were some golf lessons from Grandpa to Kellen and then the guys decided to watch the Vikings while I did the dishes (my heart bleeds green and gold, no need to watch any other teams). Kellen likes to participate in whatever is on the TV. If he’s watching Bob the Builder, a hammer is in his hands and tool belt at his waist. If he’s watching Fireman Sam, he has a fire hat on his head. So naturally, when football is on, he’s playing with the football and running around scoring touchdowns. I was in the kitchen and couldn’t see what happened next, but I thought I heard the ball drop and a small voice say, “Oh Shit!” My suspicion was confirmed when I heard a big voice say, “What did you just say?” And then the matter-of-fact reply, “I said shit”.

I can only thank God that I was in the kitchen because I, again, started laughing uncontrollably. Not being able to see me, Kyle started calling out to me, “Mommy, did you just hear that? We need to talk to Kellen about the bad word he just used.” He’s of course, right. In that instance, the two parents should come together and explain that shit is not a word to be used. Instead, he got nothing. Kyle got nothing but silence as his response. I could not talk. I could not walk. I was doubled over, hand-over-mouth with tears streaming down my face. Hearing this nothingness, Kellen comes to tell me for himself. “I said shit”. I straightened up, and kept my back turned to him, still silent while trying to focus on wiping the table. Not getting a response, he speaks again, “I said shit”. My shoulders shake a little more, but no sounds give me away. “Tatum, are you out there?” Kyle investigates. Finally, I squeak out. “yes”. It sounded too giggly. Ugh, Kellen noticed too! “I said shit.” “I said shit.” “I said shit”…. He repeats while following me around, trying to get a glimpse of my face. We danced; my back to him as he followed me spinning away from him through the clean-up. Kyle’s voice got firmer, “Kellen stop it. That is not funny. That is a bad word”. I know it’s me who is really getting reprimanded, but I could not stop.

I absolutely do not want to be the parent whose kid swears. I have images of other parents telling junior that they can’t play with Kellen because he says naughty words and I cringe. But seriously, it sounds so funny to hear three year olds swear! The juxtaposition of the tiny voice timidly trying out the bold word brings me to my knees every time. And they always seem to know exactly how to use the word!

Based on the delight Kellen took in saying the word, I have a feeling it won’t be the last time. I promise to work on my poker face and guide him more appropriately. I really wasn’t raised this way. Even though I’m 35, I can tell you my mom is pursing her lips and shaking her head as she’s reading about my finding so much humor in such a word out of a child – HER grandchild. (Although, I bet her shoulders are shaking with laughter too – I inherited this instant give away from her).

But really, between you and me adults…that was some funny shit.

Hope you don’t mind the weekend post, I already have the week planned out with feeding clinic and pulmonary and zoo updates – so thought I’d leave the humor for a special weekend post.

Enjoy this beautiful weather!

© Copyright Tatum, All rights Reserved. Written For: Ain't No Roller Coaster

9 thoughts on “I Failed the Swear Test

  1. Tatum: This is hilarious! I harken back to the first time my mother grounded me “for life” when hearing me use that word after striking out in a baseball game.

    Be well,


  2. I have to say, I would have reacted the exact same way. I will never forget walking through O’Hare airport with my then 3 year old in a stroller listening to her say “oh shit” over and over and over again. I did everything I could not to laugh, but come on…. here was this little pig tailed innocent girl swearing up a storm in the middle of the busiest airport in the US. It was funny. Very very funny.

    • My guess is she made some harried travelers have a little laugh to get them through their day. Thanks for sharing! Adorable.

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