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Sh** My Kid Says (e.g. The F Word)

Erin Zammett Ruddy

Is a two year old who drops the F-bomb just a phase or a serious parenting fail?

On the way to my parents’ house for dinner Sunday, a car pulled out in front of me and I said, “C’mon dude” in a slightly testy voice. Then Nora said the following in a loud and very testy voice:

“C’mon you f***ing maniac!!! C’mon you f***ing maniac!!!”

Alex and I were stunned (Nick was picking up dessert and meeting us there in his own car). You guys know Nora has a bit of a potty mouth and sometimes I think it’s a little funny or a little harmless. Particularly since it’s never been the F word (“Shut up you idiot” is her catchphrase and she only ever says it to her “brodda”). Well, not this time. I might have laughed if this were completely out of character but, honestly, Nora is a bit of a rebel, a badass, a rule breaker. She frightens me in a way that Alex never did. If I tell her not to do something again, she immediately does it one more time—while staring at me with her big blue eyes and a smirk—just to prove that I really have no power over her.

Anyway, after the above expletives, I pulled over and turned around and looked at her in the eyes and calmly said, “Nora, you cannot say those words, those are not nice words, do you understand?” She seemed to be just as shocked that those words came out of her mouth as I was. And she certainly didn’t say them again. But she did say this: “Those are daddy’s words, mom. Those are daddy’s words….” Busted! Nick does have a case of everyone-else-on-the-road-is-an-asshole-trying-to-kill-me so I believe Nora on this one 100 percent. It still doesn’t make it OK that she said it, but I do think she knows that she was wrong. So maybe there’s hope for her.

Anyone who knows Nora knows that she has a raspy, I-smoke-a lot-of-butts voice and a lisp that makes her s-c words sound like f words (school is fool, scarlet is farlet, smile is file). This means that pretty much anything she says is funny. Except when it’s a real F word. Of course I did laugh about it later and I’m sure some of you will laugh while reading this. But I what point does this phase stop being funny? I guess we’ll see if she does it again. I love dropping the occasional F bomb but I certainly didn’t do it as a kid. How would you have handled this situation?