What the Bleep...?

Archer takes a break with Albert Einstein who, appears to be flipping off the heavenly bodies of the universe.

The first time I heard the word "fuck" I was seven. The first time Archer heard the word, "fuck," he was seven... minutes old.

I don't mean to swear. It just comes out. Like snorting when I laugh or peeing when crouched over the toilet.

In my defense I have done a pretty good job censoring myself since Arch was born. I've replaced many a fuck for eff and replaced shit with poop, etc. Of course when something awful abruptly happens, "Effing Poop!" is not what comes out of my mouth.

For example, when I stub my toe or my computer crashes before I get a chance to save, or I burn myself making eggs, I curse. Loud. (Hot oil splattering on the chest deserves a few fuck-shit-fucks, in my opinion.)

I know that there are plenty of parents who are able to put a ceasefire on their expletives, at least in front of the kids. I am, sadly, not one of them.

Personally, I have no idea what constitutes as a curse word, these days, but this would be a partial list of my guesses:

Shit= yes.
Crap = no.
Fuck = yes
Bitch= yes
Asshole = yes
Ass= no
Sucks = no
Fucking sucks = yes

I desperately want to set a good example for my son, especially where language is concerned but I'm afraid I'm at great risk of becoming a raging hypocritasaurus.

I don't understand how parents can tells their kids not to do something when they themselves do it. How does one make this work?

I blame my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Mary Poppins for my naivete. They were all for song and dance and jumping into chalk paintings. Never a vice in sight or a profanity in earshot.

When my parents caught me smoking cigarettes in 8th grade and told me I had to stop, they weren't sneaking them late at night behind the trash bins. When I was lectured for saying "shit" because "shit wasn't allowed in the house," I had to respect that, because it was true. No one said "shit" in our house, which was annoying, because I never had a good argument, unlike many of my friends who had parents that smoked in secret or cursed out loud.

I digress... The time has finally come for me to be more aware of my words. To stop making excuses for my potty-mouth, buck up and face the music because Archer's listening. And repeating after me.

Shhhh! He's listening...

Last week, after collapsing beside me on a heap of warm-from-the-dryer laundry (my favorite) Archer told me that he "felt like ass."

"I feee ike ass" were his exact words, not ten seconds after I had said them, myself.

"Archer! Don't say that! Nooooooo..." I howled.

But it was too late.

"I eelack ass! Eeeeelack ASSSSS!"

"Only mommies can say that!"

I was both horrified at my hypocrisy and mildly amused at the idea that Archer, who had spent all day stepping on my feet and dancing around the house, laughing and smiling and having a superb ol' time, felt like ass.

"You have no idea what ass feels like," I thought, changing the subject by offering Archer, the alphabet song.

A, B, C, D, E, F, G...

He quickly joined me, singing along, forgetting all thinks ass-ish. Of course, I won't always be so lucky. There will come a day, I'm afraid, when the alphabet song won't be so beloved.

Thankfully, after confronting my list o cuss words, I see that ass is on my safe list, which means, I'm letting myself off the hook... for now. Still, I'm afraid that next time I won't be so lucky.

Archer walks all over his blankie like a bad-ass. Ooops! I mean, bad-butt.

In the meantime.... Does anyone have a mute button I can borrow, or at the very least, some life experience they can lend to this situation? Do you curse in front of your kids? Did your parents curse in front of you? Did it totally fu.... I mean, screw you up?

Do I need duct tape? A bar of soap permanently in my mouth?

Talk to me, friends.



I don't live here anymore. | 10:24 PM

he is just so adorable!!! can I borrow him? xoxo

foodiemama | 11:28 PM

bad example here! i am sure you already know i curse like a sailor in front and behind and all around gus. and yeah, he does too. i found that if you don't want them to repeat it...DON'T MAKE IT AN ISSUE!
when he says oh shit, i can't find my fucking shoe." or sings the "shitty shitshit song" i walk out of the room w/my tail between my legs and then die of laughter all alone. he has no clue that they are bad words. but then i don't really have a problem with it so what do i know.


Gawd, I love you. You're so right. Good call.

reet | 11:46 PM

De-lurking here from the old Europe. Yes, a mute button exists. Unfortunately, it has a looooong delay as in "stop all kind of cursing in all possible situations". First, you'll probably slip very often. But if you can continue over months, not-cursing becomes a habit.

Of course, Archer will eventually pick up his load of cuss words from his friends at school, but by then you'll really be able to say that these words are not nice - mommy (and everybody else in the family, too?) never uses them, isn't it so?

Sorry for the bad English, it in not my first language.

Meemo | 2:44 AM

Not making it an issue might work now, but eventually...
My kids, at 9 and 10 are fascinated with cussing. I've never been one to cuss, but as I get older I have more of a need but I can't do it in front of them because they want me to. My sister does cuss in front of them and they don't seem to pick up any of that.

I don't let my kids use the word "suck" or any of the words on your lists. I tell them that it's not a bad word, but it's not a good word for kids to use. With us entering tweendom, I don't want them walking around saying suck or ass or suck ass.

Anonymous | 2:57 AM

Personally, I have no intention of censoring my own language or limiting what swear-words my bub hears or uses with me. To me it is just another aspect of teaching him appropriate behaviour in appropriate places.

When he learns about being considerate, not swearing in front of people it offends is one aspect of that. When he learns how to handle his emotions, not using swear-words as an act of aggression (which is what offends me!) is part of that.

And when he learns all the wonderful words he ever could learn, I'm pretty sure that there will still be occasions where nothing but f**k will do.

I'm also sure that dealing with it this way will lead to evil looks from some strange woman in the supermarket because of something that comes out of his mouth. But we're all pretty much guaranteed our share of those looks, regardless of what we do, so who gives a crap?

But that's just me.

In general, I think foodiemama's advice is dead-on. Kids experiment with people's reactions to figure out how the world works. They use the scientific method: Test hypothesis. Repeat to confirm test results.

And if the Mummy-puppet does something interesting: Repeat until bored. :)

Kyran | 4:28 AM

my dad, a poet & writer, decided at some point during my childhood that "fuck" was too good and too powerful a word to just throw around casually, and that he would only use it (and other "profanity") when and where it counted. it made quite an impression on me.

I don't know if it counts for as much now. The word may have lost some of its currency. but I do tend to reserve it, at least in writing, for when I am feeling strongly.

oh, and I can't bear the word, "butt". my kids all refer to their bums. the only linguistic thing they have inheirited from their Canadian mom.

Anonymous | 4:52 AM

I don't normally swear but when something happens like my son has a coughing fit that causes him to throw up his entire dinner that he only moments ago ate, I say 'shit' under my breath. However, my mom informed me that Loch heard me because he repeated after me. Shit!....errr, darn it. I'll be watching my reactions to unexpected stuff happening. ;)

b*babbler | 5:22 AM

I had a whole post on this titled "why my daughter's first word will be fuck" but you beat me to the punch!

I curse. A lot. And the time has come in my house to decide what I'm going to do about it. Every night for the last month I've gone to bed and said to myself I wouldn't swear tomorrow, and then the morning comes around, and FUCK! I spill the cereal. And GODDAMNIT! The dog trips me. And then I'm right back at square 1.

So, I don't really have much advice to offer you unfortunately. (And the Mary Poppins thing is totally my in-laws. I once watched my father-in-law wallop his hand HARD with a hammer only to draw in his breath and say sugar. Didn't even scream it. Wah???)

ImpostorMom | 5:23 AM

There is a comment over on Motherhood Uncensored from Robin that writes My Life As It Is that deals with the whole cursing thing. I think she actually has the right idea. Basically no words are off limits and you teach your child to use them appropriately. That includes not using them in a way that offends other, say grandma and grandpa or at school. The theory is that removing the ban on these words makes them less enticing and therefore less likely to be uttered at random to get a reaction. Sort of the same theme that some other comments have had. I like that theory, practicing it might be a little more difficult though.

Woman on the Verge | 5:29 AM

I cursed like a sailor for years and continued (with some censoring) after my daughter was born. Only after two truly hilarious and embarassing events did I try like hell to censor myself even more. One was in the middle of Target, when I wouldn't let her down to run rampant through the store, she screamed "Oh SHIT, oh SHIT" over and over and over again. All the way through the sore, through the check out line and through the parking lot. Talk about some mean looks from other moms! The second was at my mom's house, as she was pushing around her little grocery cart saying "oh my fuck" repeatedly. My mom was horrified and while I had to go hide to laugh hysterically, I did have to explain that sometimes that word insn't appropriate. Especially in front of Grandma!
They will pick up on these words eventually from school friends. This is something you cannot keep from happening. I agree with cerebralmum above about teaching them a time and a place to use them. If you can't stop it from happening, I feel you should at least teach them how and why.

Anonymous | 5:52 AM

My parents curse like sailors, and made a sad, ineffective attempt to shelter us kids from it. My mom first caught me swearing at the ripe age of two, when I couldn't get the lids on the tupperware containers I was playing with.

As I got older, my Mom called swearwords, along with all the bathroom humor that becomes amusing around the first grade, "playground" language. She told me that it was disrespectful to use "playground" language in front of adults. "I don't care if you use those words", she said, "as long as it doesn't get you in trouble". There was never a question as to why she could use them whenever she wanted, she was the grown-up. If I used "playground language" in front of her, she just gently reminded me that I needed to "save it for the playground".

I fully plan on using the same logic on my kids when I have them, because I am a major potty mouth.

Also, I agree fully with the second commenter- if you don't giggle hysterically, or become horrified when Archer swears, it will lose it's appeal.

PS: if I ever swore in public, my family blamed on a member not present. If I was with Dad it was Mom's fault. And vice versa. Around both of them it was my cousins, who are about ten years older than I. When you're in Target, just say real loud "I TOLD YOU NOT TO USE YOUR AUNT MOLLY'S WORDS!" Insert horrified Mother look here. ;-)

Anonymous | 5:59 AM

My mom cursed like a sailor, she still does (we NEVER put Nene on speaker phone) & I admit I throw the occasional F-bomb. I've got 4 kids at home, I'm only human.

Although evidently my mother-in-law must not be human. I've never heard her curse. Except once.....last summer while my 4 year old son was visting her for the weekend, she called me to report that my son had told her to F-Off.


The Mommy | 6:20 AM

I have an awful mouth and have been trying to censor myself since D uttered his word. It's only worked a bit. At 14 months he was walked around saying "Faaaaa, Faaaa" after I got off the phone about a work issue. We ignored it and I stopped dropping the eff bomb.
A little later he kept saying shit everytime I dropped something in the cart at Target. We replaced t with oopsie.
The last two weeks it's been - "aw crap" whenever he's displeased.
The husband doesn't like it when I use freaking, either. I've been reduced to saying things like "quit being a smart butt" and, Dylan's favorite, "aw man."
Thank God I can get my swearing out at work.

I know he will learn to swear and probably do it a lot, just like his mom, but he'll learn the appropriate places for it. I never swore in front of my parents, until very recently and still not in front of my dad, a teacher, my in-laws, etc. I'll focus more on teaching him respect than not swearing.

motherbumper | 6:36 AM

you would swear that I was raised by longshoremen and truck drivers (no offence to both professions) but OMG I swear like a sailor. And SB is even worse. So of course B has said many, many bad words (I posted about that earlier this past summer). We try very hard to control ourselves (meh, we are doing the best we can) and we try very VERY hard not to laugh when she does it. Because if she even catches a snicker, well she will say it until those f'ing cows come home. They are lil' parrots I tell ya.

Anonymous | 7:16 AM

I have a terrible propensity for taking The Lord's name in vain. This happened often when my daughter Makenna was potty training... on our carpet.

The result? When something goes wrong or she spills something, Makenna says, "Jeezus Crap!"

Many, many years I will spend in purgatory.

Anonymous | 7:25 AM

Yes, my mother cursed in front of me. Alot. Yes, I sometimes curse in front of my children. And yes, I tell the one that can talk not to say those things.

Here is food for thought, if you drink in front of your kids is it okay for them to ask for a taste or have a drink with you? Basically, there are adult things and there are children things. Sometimes they collide, but it doesnt mean that it is okay for kids to do them.

I am not sure how to explain it to my 5 year old, except to say, "Because I said so." It will have to work until something better comes along.

Anonymous | 7:41 AM

When I was in 7th grade, my mom set me down and said "You can not say shit, fuck, bitch, damn..." blahblah blah.

I grew up with cursing parents. I said my first string of bad words at 3.

My daughter has been known to say "damnit" and "fuck" while playing with her toys. Or "oh fuck it."

She's NOT allowed to say those words and now that she knows it, if she hears me saying anything remotely like damn or shit, she goes 'WHAT DID YOU SAY?"

"I said DARNit. DARNit."

Anonymous | 7:47 AM

Just use British swear words. Like, prat, bloody, & tuss. Then it does not count.*wink wink*

I am not the best example. If I ever let a f-word fly, I just tell him not to say in front of the Mormons.

Mama Bear | 8:10 AM

I wish you luck with this. Hubby has a terrible potty mouth, which means that Mr 17 has heard these words since day 1. And guess who says them now, often, in front of me and without any second thoughts. Sigh. I'm not trying to make excuses for him, I always call him on it, but I do know where it came from. Hubby dear, how could you?

Shelli | 8:13 AM

We try *very* hard not to curse or swear in front of David. But his mind is a sponge, and if you slip ONCE he will remember for an eternity.

Nothing you can do really. But the upside is he is now censoring my husband. "Daddy, you can't say the F word!"

Which is much more entertaining than hearing him say it. lol.

Anonymous | 8:22 AM

I'm not a terrible swearer but I will have to do some censorship. My mother-in-law cracks me up though - she is this little old Dutch lady, quite proper and religious who only learned English when she came to Canada 40 years ago. For whatever reason Shit has never registered as a swear word with her. She says it constantly in front of everyone without a second thought. It CRACKS me up!

Anonymous | 8:37 AM

I have the same problem. I lack a filter when it comes to swearing. My husband and I both try to catch each other, but it's no use. I can't seem to replace them with anything that I actually remember to use in the moment.

Luckily we've only heard Damn repeated, and it was actually well within context (dropped her cup) so I can't be too upset, right. I'm amazed nothing else has been repeated. I'm sure my day will come.

B | 10:03 AM

I did the same as foodiemama until my daughter was about 2 and started using her curses in context. One day she looked at me and said, "Mama, shit means bad." I told her she was right and went on outlining possible scenarios when "Shit!" is appropriate… so yes my two and three year old daughters curse, as long as they aren't name calling or doing it to be mean to another person I could care less.

Unknown | 10:05 AM

Well, my daughters, still kids then, did give me a necklace for xmas once that had a large charm that said "Oh Shit!". I cherish it.

Anonymous | 10:26 AM

My 3yr old son said "fuck" and I said, Oh, did you see a fox? And segued into "lets look for a fox" He is just getting verbal, so it was easy to divert him...but believe me when I say I got the BIG staredown from my husband who was standing RIGHT THERE! Yup...I'm the pottymouth in the family.

Anonymous | 10:28 AM

by the way...where did you get those CUTE shoes he's wearing, and who makes them?!

Anonymous | 10:29 AM

When Gabe, just 2 years old, told his grandma to "fuck off" when she requested a kiss after just coming back from Vegas, I knew it was time to clean it up.

Just the other day, my babysitter told me Gabe tried to get some kids to play with him by shouting, "Let's go, Bitches!"

Yeah, that's MY kid. I'm so proud! Erm. Yeah.

I'm under no delusions Gabe will swear when he's older, teenager, grown man, whatever. My out is to tell him that he's not allowed to talk like that until he's an adult, at which point I can't stop him. I tell him Mommy and Daddy "shouldn't" talk like that but that we're not perfect and sometimes it slips out. It's more rare now that we're really watching it, but it's also getting easier to keep from doing it as time goes on. Then I tell him that if he's smart, he can come up with another word that shows the same frustration or other emotion without resorting to trash talk. (Then I think to myself that I should be able to do that myself, goddammit.)

However, I have complete respect for the fact that occasionally, no other word will do when a good "fuck it" is in order.

Anonymous | 11:03 AM

I have the world's worst potty mouth, and although I try to control it in front of my kids I'm very rarely successful. My daughter (3) will quite often tell me off when I say a bad word, but to be honest, with a husband with a terribly mean sense of humour, I worry more about the ideas that are expressed in front of her than 'bad' words.

Tiffany | 11:22 AM

My parents swore with the best of them in front of me growing up. I don't swear in from of mine, in fact I hardly do it at all, because my hubby finds it gross. So now my question is did I repress my need to swear for myself and kids? Or for the dear husband. Hello 1920s

Whit | 12:03 PM

I don't even try to censor myself around my boys. I'm not a fan of a word being "bad." When they get older I explain to them that some words aren't socially considerate. Is that the right term?

Hey, is that really Einstein? It looks like Vonnegut.

Anonymous | 12:08 PM


I don't think "suck" and "crap" are swears, but my husband disagrees.

I first time I heard the f-word was from Gandma. I remember the look my mom shot her, which taught me that this was, in fact, a powerful thing to say. That and "jack ass", which she liked to say to people while driving. She was a pistol.

This winter, when the little man was just over a year and a half, he surprised me with "fucking squirrel." Guess he heard me when I was banging the window trying to scare off the pesky critters that were hanging off the bird feeder. "Oh, no! Mommy said 'fluffy squirrel!' Fluffy squirrel!" Too late.

Anonymous | 2:36 PM

I don't care about "swear words," I just care about context. If my daughter hits her thumb with a hammer and screams, "FUCK!" well, that's a pretty appropriate use of the word. I will let it go. However, if my daughter calls her brother "stupid" she's really going to hear it from me big time - even though it's not a swear word. Does this make sense?

And by the way, I'm still laughing about "bad-butt" - that's awesome!

Unknown | 2:48 PM

I fucking love cursing, so it's been really hard learning NOT to do it in front of my son. I'm not so much worried about him learning the words, just that I want him to be old enough to 1)know what settings are okay and not okay for cursing, and 2)how to use them with skill.

Phoenix | 2:51 PM

I'm bad about it, but I try to curb it around my nieces.

When I was a kid, you could only swear in the car. Because that's where my mother swore.

I guess teach him when to use it and where or you'll have to stop saying things yourself.

Anonymous | 2:52 PM

When I was little the rule in my house was that we could swear all we wanted, but we couldn't call other people swear words. So I could say shit if I stubbed my toe, but I couldn't call my brother a shit when he tossed fireworks at my feet. Seemed like a good deal at the time and I think I will use the same rule for Zoey when the time comes. Consequently I am not much for swearing. Except for calling my husband a fucking bitch-hole from time to time.

The Flying Enchilada | 3:17 PM

I love you all! I don't know how I'll ever restraint myself, to date I have not. But she's only 4 months old so who cares. This string of comments has been highly entertaining, so much so, I just woke up my daughter from her nap with my loud guffaws. Fuck.

Anonymous | 5:33 PM

I let fly with the expletives more often than I should in front of my girls, but I decided early that rather than say they "can't" use those words (cuz I'd invariably have to follow up with the whole lame "because Daddy said so" argument), instead I would focus on making sure they know the context in which the words should/shouldn't be used.

This seems to have worked: Youngest Daughter is nine and Eldest Daughter is twelve and neither one of them curses. I think in the end it only becomes a big deal if you make it one.

Shannon | 7:40 PM

You will often hear "BROTHERTRUCKER!" in our house but the general rule is this: If you don't want the child to repeat it to the preschool teacher then don't say it.

Anonymous | 8:33 PM

It's a non-issue to me. I don't curse in front of other people's kids because I respect their decisions as parents, but I doubt I'll sensor myself around my own kids.

I was with my cousin (she's 11) when she carefully swore in front of me. She stopped and waited for my reaction. I told her that she probably could think of a better descriptor than it "looks like shit", and we worked on some alternatives that were far more descriptive. In my opinion, resorting to shocking language is just plain uncreative! And for those of us who love language, lets make sure we are using our big vocabularies when we can.

Check out Penn & Teller's show "Bullshit" for this and many other amazing issues covered. There is a great one on swearing that I really enjoyed.

And, to take a line from Harry Potter "fear of a name is fear of the thing itself" Just make it a non-issue, and it will be.

And like you said, you can't expect Archer to grow up doing something other than what dear old mom and dad are doing. Even if he does "feel like ass" some days, he's got a lot of other fantastic stuff going for him coming from your household.


Heather | 2:29 AM

My parents cussed in front of me. I'm not scarred.

I semi-censor myself around the boys. I'll say ass and damn around them, but not fuck. They have repeated damn before and I explain to them it's a grown up word and they have to wait until they're grown up to say it. Hell, saying cuss words was one thing I looked forward to growing up for. It dang sure isn't the taxes, yk.

But I will say when they were younger (7 and 4.5) I watched my words much better because they couldn't grasp the "you're not big enough" idea yet. But honestly, I could count on one hand with fingers left over how many times they've ever repeated a cuss word.

I say whatever you feel comfortable with. There are worse tragedies in the world than a child repeating a cuss word. Last I heard, no one has ever died from hearing 'shit' uttered from a 2 year old mouth.

Heather | 2:30 AM

I meant to say they are 7 & 4.5 now...when they were younger meaning young toddler stage.

Anonymous | 3:34 AM

In our house, I'm the parent who (usually) self-censors around the little one. My husband lets it all fly, and it drives me crazy.

I attribute this to the fact that I grew up in a Poppins household too (seriously, never even saw them disagree! It was like Pollyanna in Stepford!) and when I started cursing --probably in middle school-- I became adept at a dual personality vocabulary. Around my friends, I could curse. At home, it was all sweetness & light.

My husband grew up with parents who, while not sailors or anything, did occasionally curse around him and his sisters. They grew up comfortable with curse words, so he only rarely censors himself. (Hopefully he manages this at work. You don't want you doctor greeting you at the bedside with, "Well, we got all of the tumor out, but that was some fucked-up shit in there!")

So, when we're around Smooch, I naturally revert to my dual personality. I can censor around him (aside from under-my-breath stuff when I stub my toe, etc.) and my husband can't. It will be interesting to see whether he grows up cursing like his dad.... or hiding his cursing like his mom.

Fairly Odd Mother | 4:47 AM

My sis (Mrs Q, above) and my mom were feeding chicken to my oldest, who at the time was 2?3? and she said, "This chicken is friggin' hot!"

Yeah, friggin' became my curse word of choice but it still sounds awful coming out of the mouth of a toddler! (but it is funny!).

screaming girl | 5:19 AM

No swearing in my house growing up. "Shut-up" was the worst [swear] word of all. Now, with a 3 month old and a 3 year old, I can't stop cursing. But, I never say "shut-up". The real swear words - I have just learned to say those a little quiter. Controlled swearing - if it can be helped. (And, a lot of the time it can, because sometimes you know that saying "fuck head" in the perfect place will just make the story better.) Also, some advice - when Julian starts repeating Jeff and I, we simply tell him he heard us wrong. Jeff really, really dislikes bicyclists, especially those that act like cars by driving in the middle of the road and then do not obey traffic laws -like stop signs. So, one day as we were driving a bunch of cyclists cut Jeff off. And of course he yells, "MOTHER FUCKERS!" Of course, Julian yells, "Yeah, MOTHER FUCKERS!" I say, "Oh sweetie, daddy said "Mother suckers!" Without any hesitation, Julian says, "Oh - MOTHER SUCKERS!" Is that better? It's funny either way.

Jesse | 9:29 AM

I TRIED not to curse too much, but I tell you what finally made me stop and seriously think before I say curse words again....and that was my 2.5 yr old daughter saying "shit". And do you know, when she said it, what I said? Yup, you guessed it! "Shit! You can't say that word, it's a bad Mommy word! Tell Mommy the next time she says a bad word, ok?"

And then I giggled when she told Daddy that he'd said a bad word!

And now, we only curse if we're REALLY angry, because the guilt and stomach wrenching I felt upon hearing that little voice say "shit!" was enough to make me want to take vows of silence and chastity.....well....almost.....*grin*

Jesse | 9:30 AM

Oh, and my mom only curses when she's really angry...and Dad's a railroader, so you can imagine all the times that Mom had to say "could you PLEASE not say that, the kids are listening" (I'm oldest of 4).

kittenpie | 11:29 AM

I'm pretty good because I've always worked with kids, so I'm in the habit of censoring. But yeah, they are listening. One day, I stopped myself in mid-mild-curse, "Bloody..." and Pumpkinpie finished it off for me, cheerily. "Hell!" oops. Not so bad, though.

Anonymous | 12:31 PM

Well, I curse a lot. I have no children so it's not a problem.

My parents cursed a lot. I do so, but it didn't f**k me up or anything. I didn't go around cursing at everybody in school, I never said f**k at a job interview... I mean, what's wrong with it?

Archer is smart enough to pick those words from anyone at the park or whenever he hears them.

Isn't it better that you teach him to use those words appropiately instead of making a tabu out of them? Remember that, normally, what is banned is more and more attractive. So, when he's ready talk to him about what cursing means and what it's for and you'll be alright. As long as you don't curse at someone that pisses you off you won't be giving a bad example, as far as I can see.

Teach him the basic "cursing rules": not to curse at somebody to hurt their feelings, maybe (only if you feel like it) not cursing at the park or the supermarket... whatever you like. Just let him be comfortable with cursing (himself) and people cursing around and it won't be such a big deal.

Crazy Baby Lady | 7:56 PM

I have no wisdom as I am in the same position as you. My (almost) two year old, Layla, recently added holy fuck to her vocabulary. Well it comes out more like "Ho-wee fuck!", which is actually really cute and it make it really hard not to laugh.

Bad mommy.

the mad momma | 1:26 AM

i grew up i a house where my grandmother used the word 'bloody'a lot. so did my parents. but boy were they strict with us. i think i agree with someone in the comments above. they see us knocking back beer and lighting up cigarettes. there are just something that are adult and they are just not allowed to do. its not hypocrisy. i light the cooking range and candles but i dont let my son do it. and hell, i can swear with the best of them and i do. i dont know when he will begin to repeat them, he's two and has an extensive vocabulary but the worst was a phase he went through at 16 months where everything was 'bugger'. fortunately thats over.

Anonymous | 8:44 AM

eh, fuck it. i gave up a long fucking time ago -- trying not to fuck my kid up with this assholish "proper language" shit. and it's a bitch to try to remember not to fucking curse all the goddamn fucking time. i mean, yes it fucking sucks to have your fucking kid sreaming that kind of shit in a fucking church or something. but i am an asshole parent and i often don't fucking catch myself in time to keep from cursing every motherfucking second.

love you. and MISS YOU LIKE CRAZY.

Leigh C. | 1:52 PM

I quit cursing cold turkey when I had my son. Problem is, I now find myself wanting to read stuff or to listen to music that has a lot of cursing involved. Ben Folds. Gangsta rap. Blogs.

My husband still doesn't have the off button set on his knee-jerk cursing, however, and, because I call him on it fairly frequently, that tendency to tell him to shush is what has been passed on to the little guy. My favorite instance of that was when Dan was putting up the bunk bed for the kid and struggling mightily with the task. At one point, the little guy looked at me, wide-eyed, and relayed this : "Mommy, Daddy said 'shit'!"

Apparently, though, Dan draws the line at Yiddish curses, because he had to clamp down on the little guy's new favorite word, "schmuck".

Now he knows how I feel...

Anonymous | 9:21 PM

I censored myself HARD when little one started to talk. She never cursed when little, because she'd never heard the words . I'm just saying, if they don't hear it, they won't repeat it, so it just depends what you want.

Unknown | 4:33 PM

This is sorta related to the "what do you call private parts" quandary. I have a bad habit of referring to it as "junk", while his dad calls it a "dink", neither one of which I'd like to hear hin repeat. He has said "dink" while pointing to the general area, but I think he's saying "stink", which is generally accurate.

SAHMmy Says | 6:59 AM

Great article! My husband was convinced that my son's first word would be goddamnmotherfucker--I'm constantly running into walls, even though I'm pretty sure they don't move. I've been shocked (and oh so appreciative) that my son, now nearly four, has not yet repeated one of Mommy's four-letter-word-mashups. He repeats everything else, verbatim, sometimes months later. My husband says that the boy just KNOWS that what Mommy says is BAD.

mommyneedsacocktail | 10:34 AM

perhaps the problem was when he and dad got into it the other night and The Boy yelled, "I'm gonna BEAT YOUR ASS, Dad."

I'm guessing they are gonna LOVE that one over at the preschool.

Anonymous | 9:03 PM

I have a question....How do I ( the sitter) stop a 3 yr old from saying the F word, if the parents wont....