My kids have started cussing.
I knew this day would come when I married a man who habitually cusses. In Finland it’s not a big deal to say ‘fuck’ or its Finnish equivalent, “vittu.” My husband even insists that in Finland it’s okay for kids to cuss, too, though I have a hard time believing this. I can’t imagine a culture where it’s actually okay for little kids to tell you to fuck off. Even in Germany when I said “scheisse” in front of my kids, everyone corrected me with “mist” (literally: manure, basically: crap).
Of course, I cuss, too. But I didn’t used to until I went to Europe and it didn’t get really bad until I met my husband. When you hang out with someone a lot, they tend to rub off on you. It’s my fault Beta says ‘shit.’ One day I was getting her a yogurt out of the fridge and it fell on the floor and spilled every where. “Oh, shit,” I said in despair. She looked at the yogurt, looked at me and said, very clearly, “Shit. Shit, Jogurt auf dem Boden.” (Shit, yogurt on the floor). She also learned “damn from me.” The other day she ran past me yelling “GOD DAMN IT.” I have guilt.
We weren’t planning on our kids cussing, but I made the mistake of telling my husband that although our culture wasn’t quite okay with kids cussing yet, it was definitely becoming more swear-word friendly. Heck, it’s reached the point where you can say “bitch” on TV whithout getting bleeped! They’re loosening up the regulations on “Fuck” and “shit”, too. So my husband decided that he was alright with his kids being ahead of the curve, which means that my kids are going to be social outcasts as all the other kids will learn how to cuss from them and their parents will forbid their kids from interacting with my kids.
Beta’s Finnish cussing skills have my husband very impressed. She not only uses “vittu,” she also uses it correctly. She has even figured out how to say “Fuck off,” which I don’t know how to say and my husband swears he doesn’t say very much. I had to remind him that even once is more than enough. Once when my husband was trying to get her to get ready for bed and get into the bathtub, she kept ignoring him and playing with her toys. He kept repeating, “Beta, it’s bath time” and finally she just looked at him and said “fuck off!” in Finnish and kept playing with her toys, at which point he fucked off and left her alone.
Even worse is Alpha’s cussing. I made the mistake of watching the Plinkett Star Wars reviews in front of him because they are really fucking hilarious. Unfortunately, they say fuck a lot. And a lot of other bad words. But I figured he probably wouldn’t repeat them and even if he did, no one would be able to understand him, right? Because he’s really hard to understand generally. As it turns out, he can cuss really clearly in English. And he started staying ‘What the fuck!?” And it was completely obvious what he was saying. I corrected him and explained to him that he should really say “what on Earth?” So now he says “What the Earth?” except it sounds more like “What the earf?” He also picked up “shut the fuck up” from that show and that one really pains me. While I might, on occasion, say “What the fuck” I never ever say “shut the fuck up.” I don’t even say “shut up” in English or use its German equivalents. It just seems to mean to me. One day when I asked him to do something, he responded with “shut the fuck up,” very casually without rancor and I stopped him cold. “Alpha, we do not say such things. That is really mean. That is so mean that it’s the sort of thing that would make someone cry to hear it said to them,” I explained. “Shut the fuck up,” he repeated, but a little less certainly. “We do not say that,” I repeated. “It makes me feel really sad when you say that. You can say “sei bitte Leise” (please be quiet) or “Ruhe, bitte” (silence please) or “Sei ruhig!” (be quiet). So far, he hasn’t said it that I’ve noticed.
And I’ve learned not to depend on the fact that he’s hard to understand when watching not-s0-child appropriate things in front of him. It makes me miss the good old days when I had children who were incapable of noticing or repeating inappropriate things.