Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What the Fork?

This is a fork.

So, my son says fuck. Quite a lot, actually, for being less than two. And while I don’t feel as though I’ve unmoored my son’s dinghy on the river of Hades exactly, his fucking is getting a little out of control.

Oh sure, we laugh, play it off as FORK, even when we’re cruising the frozen food aisle at Jewel or getting stink-eyed at story-time. Where did he learn it? Who taught him how to do this stuff?

Well, that’s easy. Me.

But that’s not the correct question. The correct question to ask is HOW did he learn it? It’s not as simple as my kid says fuck, hahahahaha. Though it is pretty funny at such an innocent timbre.

It’s more a matter of language acquisition. Language is learned through context. You show a kid a fork, name it, and show him how to use it, well, that’s a fork. That makes sense. I’ve heard him drop the f-bomb enough times now that I’ve been able to piece together the origins of the offending context. It’s like carbon dating. But for fuck.


I’m in the kitchen today, doing kitchen stuff. Bub is in there, doing Bub stuff. I am walking to the fridge and I jam my toe into his wooden high chair leg for the 296th time. That shit hurts. But I channel some inner Buddha, fake a teehee, say Ouch! Then somewhere, four feet below me, across Obscene Canyon, I hear FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!

What’s that, little buddy? You want a FORK?

Bub looks up from the mason jar lid he is playing with, confused. Not as to why he’s playing with a fucking mason jar lid, but as to why he would possibly want a fork in this context. OMG, can he EAT a mason jar lid? Jesus, why didn’t he think of this sooner? Fuck the fork, he shoves the lid in his mouth.

At least he’s not saying FUCK anymore. Wheeew! Bullet dodged. For now.

You can’t really get mad at him, because he doesn’t know what he’s saying. He only knows the context of Ouch = FUCK! And perhaps it did, once or twice, under extreme duress. And there he was, a red-tailed hawk swooping in on my vulnerable lexical field mouse. But that was ancient history; I haven’t loosed one in front of him for months. Got off the fuck cold turkey. Come on, Bub, really? I’ve grown, can you?

Which leads me to reason number two I’m pissed at him--he's just been saving that shit like a spiteful tabby. Yeah, remember that time two and a half years ago that you guys went to the Dells for the weekend and left me here with the Big Bowls? Yeah, that’s why there’s turds in your shoes.

Not cool, Bub. I know, it must be hard to say a bunch of crap and have nobody understand you. Or to have people understand EXACTLY what you’re saying and try to twist it into something that makes them look like less of a parental failure. Luckily, we don’t associate with a-holes like that.

I guess we reap what we sow. We’ll try harder with the new one. El Tabula Rasa or some such. It could be worse, I guess. He could be regurgitating excerpts from The View or spouting Coldplay lyrics. Fork that.


  1. No chance he got that potty mouth from his mommy. :)

  2. I've sometimes thought it would be interesting to put a parrot and a toddler into the same space together, and see what kind of crap their repeating back to each other at the end of the day.

    But, a tabula rasa on the next one? Better keep big brother away from him then. bad habits spread like the plague between siblings.

  3. LC--That was your free pass. You're welcome.

    Neal--Brilliant! I'll bring the toddler, you bring the parrot. A true cage match!