i’ve been talking to Oscar since before he was born…nattering on, internally and out loud, telling him about the colour of the walls and the name of the kitty and what mummy would really like to be doing instead of laundry. much of which i would never dare repeat here, for fear of y’all’s virgin ears and such (and pesky local laws), but O keeps my secrets safe as houses.

’til now.

it’s started. he’s begun to communicate. and worse better (jury’s still out) not only communicate, but comprehend. the child clearly understands every frigging word i say. i say, “Oscar, where’s Oscar’s nose?” – he touches that fat little button. uh huh. i say, “Oscar, where’s mama’s ear?” – and fumbling little fingers try to tear my earring from its fleshy nest. i say, “Oscar, bring mama the bunny” – i gets me a bunny. (or he ignores me completely. but that’s inherited from his father, i think, and not a sign – at least in his progenitor’s case – that he doesn’t know the words i’m using.)

all of these are good things. exciting. but sometimes i don’t say, “Oscar, show mama the book” or “where are your toes?” or “give me a hug, lovey.” nope, those fine phrases are barely the cream off our one-sided chatter of habit here. under the cream, habit being what it is, are also the phrases of an, erm, slightly tempermental grown woman with a mouth like a sailor who hasn’t been allowed around speaking-aged children in over a decade. i, um, swear. a lot.

my ongoing prattle is full of interjections like “sweet merciful Jeebus, you goddam f$&*%^ing cat stop biting my ankles!” (in the house, when Clementine is feeling frisky) or “eat my ass, lady!” (in the car, when addled fellow driver cuts me off or forgets use of signal light) or simply “shite” (as adjective or expletive, most of the rest of the day). those and other colourful expressions not necessarily fit for the consumption of wee folk have been an all-too regular part of my daily discourse for a very long time. i think it started out of a combined love of language and desire to be very very unladylike. now, while i still love flavourful language and delight in the way a good curse rolls off my tongue, i think perhaps it’s time to rein myself back in a bit. because Oscar’s word for the cat, at the moment, sounds something like “ffffff.” and i’m thinking that’s not a lack of phonetic grasp on his part, but a reflection of what he may believe kitty’s name to actually be.

so, i’m probably unfit to be a parent and you’re all shaking your heads in shock right now, tsk-tsking and whispering “but she seemed almost nice!” yeh, well fuck off. i’m really very upstanding, and it’s just a sign of my great piety (snort) that the name of the lord is never far from my lips, okay?

but i’m not sure that speaking like me will get Oscar invited to any birthday parties.

so if any kind soul out there is nodding her head, thinking “i too have (or had!) a potty mouth, and have advice to offer this poor wayward soul before her son’s first clear word comes out as ‘cocksucker'”…please share. do i wash my own mouth out with soap, or what? do i just tape “good golly” and “my stars and whiskers” all over the walls until they start to sink in and infiltrate my deeper mind? do i say “blow this” and risk O sounding like a Tarantino film extra by the time he’s in kindergarten?

how does swearing happen or not happen in your house?

gimme some f^$*ing halp, here, people. :)