I was changing Daenerys this morning when she started squealing:
‘Mummy! Your hands are facking cold…’
I didn’t make an issue of it. She was right. My hands are facking cold at the moment (where the fack is Spring?) so I ignored it and moved on. She’s two. Most likely if I tell her it’s wrong then she’ll say it all day long. So I left it as an interesting anecdote to tell the King of the North later wherein we will discuss our kids openly swearing and how we are both truly acing this parenting malarkey (high-five husband!)…
Oh dear, swearing. Some of my last blogs have been sweary and parents have come up to me at the school gate, shocked. I didn’t look the sort. I looked so calm. That’ll be the gin, ladies. All the gin. But really, what is a bad word? I had a playdate once where Arya was stood at a play kitchen and told me she’d farted. She excused herself. End of. The other parent was horrified. We don’t use the word ‘fart’ in this house. My girls ‘fluff.’
What I imagine a 'fluff' looks like....
I laughed at this point. Seriously? Firstly, that’s a rubbish alternative…it makes me think glitter and rainbows are about to erupt out of their bums. Trump is far more superior if you’re going to replace it. But there was the shame thinking Arya had said something bad. If she’d said a fucking fart, well…yeah, maybe. I know a lot of parents like this. They don’t like phrases like ‘Jesus Christ!’ or ‘Bloody Hell!’ either. You make a mental note of these parents so you know never to greet them at the school gate and tell them how facking tired you are.
Maybe I don’t know what bad words are anymore because of the King of the North. Ned swears quite openly in front of the kids. Actually ol’ Ned is quite horrific with the swearing. I don’t know if it’s the Northern in him or the miserable git in him but he has no internal censor, and a tendency to not know what is socially acceptable. He loves to swear at inanimate objects especially. If my house could talk. Half the time he’ll refer to a stubborn vacuum cleaner as ‘a piece of shit-cocking c***’ (I won’t say that word, sorry…) and I start to wonder what the neighbours are thinking.
'If you plugged me in, you wouldn't have to swear at me..'
I tell him off quite a bit for it. This is a recent conversation had around our dinner table:
Arya: **** was mean to me today at school.
Ned: Well, he sounds like a little dick. I hope you gave him what for…
Me: You can’t say that. And stop swearing…
Ned: I didn’t swear…
Though I don’t tell him off all the time because it’s almost become an endearing feature of our marriage:
Ned: Where’s my tea at, wench?
Me: In the twatting kettle you lazy bastard.
And half the joy of my husband is the comedy inventive swearing: there’s good use of verbs as adjectives (bollocking; shitting; wanking; pissing) and he’s introduced me to the delights of swearwords that had previously not been part of my vernacular (wazzock; bellend; piss stain; fuck nugget; arsebiscuits…the list could go on here…) Put these words together e.g. ‘You bollocking bellend!’ / ‘You wanking wazzock!’ and there’s often chance for some fine alliteration. In another time, he would have been given the Poet Laureate for such linguistic stylings.
I swear. Probably more in the past ten years since having kids. Many a night has been spent cradling Ned and a bottle of wine and talking about our little fecker children. Of course, we’d never say bad words to their faces. That’s bad. But we’re not saints and we lose our tempers and words fly out that shouldn’t. I called Arya a cow yesterday. Can you call a 7-year-old a cow? Because she was. A bloody cow. Don’t you strop out at me because of a piece of broccoli. If they are up at 6am on a Sunday and I can hear the sodding Paw Patrol music on loop then I might swear at them too but because I am half-conscious, and sometimes hungover, then those swear words don’t count.
Yeah, Sky Broadband, I'm talking to you....
I used to call our old Renault all sorts of terrible words. I swear a lot when I cook. I swear at the dog if he’s been through the bin. I swear at shit Wi-Fi reception and if I’m getting excited when I’m watching the television. Many a time Ned has asked me what the ruckus is downstairs and it’s because someone’s killed a zombie and I’m screaming, ‘Hell yeah! Fricking bash him in!’
And my kids swear and say words they shouldn’t know yet. Idiot, butthole, dickhead, crapbag. Ahh, sibling love. They’re no angels. Sometimes it’s completely unintentional.
Daenerys: I want a sumbitch. And douche.
Ned: You wha…?
Me: Sandwich and juice (obviously)
Sometimes bad words are said reactively. They don’t swear at school. I think. (Cue headmaster calling me now to tell me The Hound is bashing out expletives like a Tarantino movie…) But usually it’s to test the waters. Jon Snow is getting to that age now where he’s hearing it at school. His favourite at the moment is ‘Fuck this Shit…’ usually directed at his homework and usually resulting in me unplugging Xboxes in grand fits of rage. The Hound has a current preoccupation with his junk so skips around the house talking about balls and willies. Their favourite thing to do is take Daenerys to one side and get her to repeat naughty words like a performing monkey.
Jon Snow: Say ‘twat!’
(Cue hysterical laughter)
Daenerys: Twat twat twat twat twat (accompanied by a little dance…)
Half the time, Ned and I stand there horrified at the language and the fact this is all our fault. But we’re also secretly stifling giggles because, hell, a five-year-old telling his ten-year-old brother to ‘Kiss my balls!’ is also funny. Isn’t it? Oh.
Still, we always try to do the good parently thing. We sit the kids down and explain to them that they can’t use those words. We always correct them/ punish them and tell them they need to apologise to each other if they’ve been said in anger. We inform them of child-friendly alternatives, uphold our double standards and tell them some words are just for grown-ups.