I have been telling my husband for years that once we had children he would have to refrain from cussing. I am not totally blameless, but pretty much. I mostly only cuss when I hurt myself. Elian, on the other hand, cusses almost every time he watches a sporting event (which is almost daily), when he spills something, when something goes wrong and when he hurts himself. The interesting part is he only cusses when these things happen at home. He does a great job restraining himself when in public or in the company of others.
I have nagged him somewhat to stop cussing since Lexi has started talking, but he hasn’t heeded my advice. Instead, he offers this lame justification that in his family, hell, ass, and damn are not cuss words. And I tell him that I don’t know what planet he is from, but, here on Earth, they are cuss words, and our children will repeat them if they hear him saying them.
Then it happened.
Thankfully, it happened at home.
This morning I left a half-drunk bottle on the floor. Lexi bent over to play with Allie and accidentally knocked the bottle over. I called her attention to that fact and walked over to the site of the incident. I saw a small puddle of formula on the carpet and said, “Ooops, the bottle spilled.” As I bent over to wipe it up, I hear a little voice say, “Damn!”
I burst out laughing. I realize that was the worst way I could’ve responded, but I was caught so off guard I couldn’t help it. I looked at Lexi and said, “What did you say?” “Damn!” she said, with a little grin. Luckily, Elian hadn’t left for work yet, so I took Lexi by the hand and said, “Let’s go upstairs and tell Daddy what you just said.”
We met Elian halfway up the stairs, and I said, “Your daughter has something to tell you.” With naive excitement, Lexi reported to him, “I knocked over Allie’s bottle and it spilled on the carpet and I said, ‘Damn!'” Elian looked at his toes as an involuntary smile spread across his face. As we walked back downstairs, he tried to compose himself. Lexi took that moment of silence to mean she needed to repeat herself, “I knocked over Allie’s bottle and it spilled on the carpet and I said, ‘Damn!'” In a serious voice, Elian said, “No, ma’am, we don’t say that word.” Lexi looked at me and said, “Daddy got mad when I said, ‘Damn!'”
While I failed at holding back laughter, I explained to Lexi that that wasn’t a nice word and God doesn’t like us to say that. Instead, she needed to say “Ooops.” Elian explained that he shouldn’t say that word either, to which she responded, “Ok, next time I will say ‘Ooops’. Can you turn up the TV so I can hear it?”
Elian and I went into the kitchen and I asked him, tongue in cheek, “Why did you get upset with her? I thought hell, ass, and damn weren’t cuss words…” “They aren’t,” he maintained, “but they aren’t nice for a 2 year old to be saying.”
I rest my case.