Reservoir Kids

It may come as shock to anyone reading this who has a baby, but eventually your little poo factory is going to start talking; they’re already listening – oh yes – and soon they’ll start asking for things and pointing things out and repeating things that you say; expressions, sayings, mannerisms…bad language.

Some of these developments are okay – sometimes funny – because they repeat the things you say and pick up on what’s funny and learn comic timing. I had this situation the other day:

Darling Son was sitting on the sofa eating a rice cake (we are single-handedly keeping the Asian economy in credit due to ricecake consumption…) and it was time to get Darling Daughter up from her nap. Darling Daughter was not happy about this, oh no. She had a face like thunder and you could see her shoulders tensed, ready to thwack anyone who messed with her karma. I thought: I know, I’ll give her a rice cake too, then everybody is happy. I offer her a ricecake and she flips over and starts pounding the sofa like I just juiced her with an electric flex. Darling Son turns to me and says: ‘I guess she doesn’t want a ricecake…’ totally deadpan. I cracked up.

That is my expression, totally. It’s funny because he learnt the timing more than anything. The problem, though, is swearing. I am sure there is a body of opinion that is along the lines of: ‘well, swearing is a much a part of our linguistic topography as hello and goodbye, in fact some words that are now considered acceptable would, at one time, be considered highly offensive…’ and blah de blah. That’s all good for the Cambridge University Debating Society, but when your kid says: get me another fucking ricecake, bitch you would declare that argument flawed.

What you have, then, is two options. You can either carry on swearing and cursing every time Darling Daughter struggles with a nappy change and when your child uses a swear word (which they almost certainly will) you come down on them like a ton of bricks and tell them that those are grown-up words and only grown-ups can use them. I know parents who have used this approach and it does work, amazingly, but it can be a bit wearisome.

The other approach is to do the following:

Scene 1

MrShev is putting up a shelf and MrsShev comes in from work. MrShev turns to say hello and hits his finger with the hammer.

MrShev: Owww! That’s hurt…a lot. [sucks finger] How are you?

Mrs Shev: Okay…some silly man waved his fist at me on the way home because I braked a bit too hard. I wanted to give him what for, I can tell you!

MrShev: Don’t worry, he’s just an idiot. We got the bill for the electics. It’s quite a lot. [hands bill over]

Mrs Shev: My goodness! That is a lot. Do you think they’re giving a fair price?

MrShev: It does seem a lot. I hope that they’re genuine…

MrsShev: how was your day?

MrShev: Okay. It rained and the kids were quite trying.

Scene 1 – The Director’s Cut

MrShev is putting up a shelf and MrsShev comes in from work. MrShev turns to say hello and hits his finger with the hammer.

MrShev: Fuck! That’s hurt like a muvvafucker! [sucks finger] How are you?

Mrs Shev: Okay…some twat gave me the finger on the way home because I braked a bit too hard. I wanted to shove his finger up his arse, the wanker.

MrShev: Twat….We got the bill for the electics. It’s quite a lot. [hands bill over]

Mrs Shev: Fuck’s sake! That is a lot. Are they taking the piss?

MrShev: Fuck knows. I hope that they’re not bloody cowboys…

MrsShev: how was your day?

MrShev: Shite.

So, I wonder around like a member of the Famous Five saying ‘goodness!’ and ‘my word!’ and I have to catch myself sometimes as I nearly let the odd fuck slip out and so have also developed a worrying over-use of the word ‘fiddlesticks’ to compensate. Does this mean that I will learn to talk like a village vicar and bite my lip when every instinct is telling me to swear in the most colourful way possible?

Maybe. But what I do now is when I have a spare moment alone in the car I swear at other drivers and listen to gangster rap and that seems to release the urge.

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4 thoughts on “Reservoir Kids

    1. You on Blogger [vomits] or WordPress? Easy on WordPress, probably difficult on Blogger.
      On Facebook you can either tweet it (in WordPress settings) and then it appears as a status update or do what I do and manually update your status with a link.

      Also, Atlanta, when commenting on blogs it’s customary to include a link to your own…

  1. ‘Bloody blockhead’. Not you, but it was the first sentence my brother-in-law said, and everyone is still arguing about where he heard it, nearly 40 years after the event. And oh my gosh, aren’t you being kind to the Asian economy with all those rice cakes.

  2. My son today said ‘bugger’ when he splashed himself at the beach (it is warm enough to play a bit!). He never repeated it, but, it makes him sound like a lovable uncle…and I dunno…

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