Alistair clearly wanted Noble to play with him. The continuous requests for Noble to listen and to follow his instructions made it quite clear this was the case. Noble had a different agenda, though, and wouldn’t let up with “I don’t want to play with you!” Alistair had enough, and responded, “Shush it! Shush your face!”
You see, we don’t say “Shut up” in our house. It’s not as polite or tame as “Shush your face!” We do a fantastic job in our house at making sure our children are on track with using proper, age appropriate phrases. Just listening to Alistair go off on Noble with his choice phrase got me to thinking how ridiculous our language is, and how we take pretty odd measures to try and clean it up.
Noble (7) called something a “damn thing” the other day. And I had to tell him that he can say darn, instead. And it means the same damn thing! But, for some reason, darn is more tame than damn. Same with hell and heck. It’s still the same inferno of pain and suffering. But “heck” takes the edge off, apparently.
That brings me to Jesus Christ. To many, he is the son of god. And to others, he’s the invisible two year old being scolded when we’ve done something wrong, “Jesus Christ, not my good hammer!” Or we blame him when we stub our toe, “Jesus Christ that hurts!” Noble said it once in an exasperated tone when he became increasingly frustrated with some yarn work he was doing. “Jesus!” At least he left off the Christ part. And I found myself scolding him and giving him the proper alternative. “You cannot say that! You can say ‘Jeez’.” It’s better, but not really, because this is clearly Jesus’s nickname. I imagine that his disciples used it back in the day. “Yo Jeez! What we gonna pray about today up in this holy house?!” I doubt he minds a great deal either way. I’m sure he’s rolling his eyes over a great many other atrocities. But still, not cool to hear from a seven year old.
Shall I move on to shit? Don’t you dare let them say that! It’s awful! And there’s no excuse, because we’ve given them so many wonderful options: crap, poop, poo poo, poopy, pooperoni, two-ski, diarrhea, deuce and butt booger just to name a few. This word offers a great opportunity for exploration i.e. ding-biscuit, steamer, crapcake, crapjack, brown banana, and Shrek. Of all the words, shit really shouldn’t be used on the grounds that our children should be more creative.
The big one is the F word. That is the Voldemort of the house: that which shall not be spoken. And they have no idea that’s the rule because they’ve been sheltered from it with great care. This word has never been uttered in our house…when the kids are home…or before 9pm. This is a tricky word because the alternatives will be on a case by case basis. It takes many difficult to manage forms: an adjective (That F-in nightmare is back, or F-in customer service representative), a noun (He’s a F-er…usually made into a compound word like F-face or Dumb-F), or verb…you know, to “do it.” Handling the F-word scares me.
I wouldn’t know where to begin if I heard Noble say it. If he did, just off the top of my head, I suppose I would say something like, “What did you just…NO! Not good! That word opens up a portal for all manner of monsters to come through your closet and destroy us! What have you done?! Quick, get the Febreze, we need to spray the room and clean it of the evil that you have unleashed! Hurry! There’s not much time if we want to live!” He might need therapy, but I bet he wouldn’t use the F word again.
Admittedly, I have a pretty foul mouth in certain circles. And my wife and I share a pretty raunchy sense of humor at times. We are both fans of Louis C.K. if that gives you an idea. But the hypocrite in me finds the simplest things unacceptable with my kids. For instance, I hate the word stupid. It’s a stupid thing for a kid to say. And I hate the word hate. It’s the stupidest. I make my children come up with a different word when they use it. It usually goes like this:
Noble: This toy is stupid.
Me: Noble, we don’t say that word, you can come up with something better.
Noble: I hate this toy?
Me: No. Try again.
Noble: Jesus! Can you just leave me alone?
Me: Noble! We don’t talk like that!
I think I’ve asked this question before, but I’ll put it out there again. Are there words that you won’t allow your kids to use? Aside from the George Carlin top 7. Those are the givens.