Sunday afternoon as we were pulling out of the Kroger parking lot from filling up Mommy’s car with gas, you shouted:
“Red Jeep! I want to see it!Bow! Red Jeep! Bow! My red Jeep!”
I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the red Jeep Wrangler you were referring to, but we weren’t going to turn the car around just so you could take a peek at a red Jeep, which you are guaranteed to see at least 5 of on the drive to daycare everyday.
(Nashville is overly saturated with Jeep Wranglers; not that that’s a bad thing!)
With a very confused look on my face, I asked Mommy, “Wait, what is he saying? Bow? Like it rhymes with pow or how, except it’s bow?”
She explained, “Yeah, that’s his new word he yells out when he doesn’t get what we wants.”
Turns out, you’ve been using “bow!” on a daily basis, as I later learned from Mommy. You even have a hand gesture to accompany your exclamatory word: You pretend to throw a ball at the person you saying it to.
Basically, it’s a lot like like that scene on the movie Step Brothers where Rob Riggle just keeps shouting out “pow!” and no one really understands why or even what word he’s actually saying.
You’ve learned you can’t get away with yelling “no!” to us, so you’ve crafted a new defiant word that makes it difficult for Mommy and me to take you too seriously.
I’m actually quite impressed by your creativity. For now, “bow” will remain a parent-approved curse word for you to use.
Personally, I enjoy watching and hearing you say it because it’s so hilarious to see you so passionately shout out a word that is ultimately meaningless, though it does a good job of helping you express how you feel.
Last week as I drove my nearly 2 year-old son home from daycare, I was in a somber trance as I let the music of Live’s Throwing Copper album flow through the stereo speakers of my Honda Element.
As I listened to the 8th track of the album, in which the title itself consists a word deemed too obscene to spoken on cable TV, yet it is the normal word for “poop” in most other countries, I realized that in a couple of years, I probably won’t get to listen to whatever I want to in the car anymore; as least not without giving him some lengthly explanation:
“You see, son, that word is a bad word. You can’t say it in school or at home because you’ll get in trouble. It means the exact same thing as “poop” but, as a society, we collectively give more negative power to the other word, therefore we’re not supposed to say it.
I know that almost sounds conflicting with what I normally tell you about how we shouldn’t care about what people think about us, but this is an exception. We have to go along with the rules of society on this one.”
Type any “cuss word” in the search box on The Dadabase and you’ll probably come up with no related articles. It’s just not my style.
However, I’m not too worried about the words that society chooses as “inappropriate.” I’m less concerned about any particular words and more focused on the messages we send with all words we use instead; as well as the tone we use when we speak.
As a person whose religion teaches him to loves his neighbor as himself, the challenge for me is to refrain from using language that is judgmental, condescending, prideful, or laced in gossip.
To me, that’s the kind of language that is set on fire by the flames of hell. Not the word “hell” itself.
So as my son grows old enough to understand society’s goofy rules on which words we can and can not say, that’s what I’m going to teach him:
“Don’t say those certain ‘cuss words’ because then you’ll get in trouble. More importantly, let’s focus on the words we can say. Let’s find ways to build people up with our words.”
Granted, my words are no good if I’m not already taking my own advice.
No, green slime will not fall on your head if you do, but the censors will bleep the word out, even on Comedy Central: It’s “little people” now.
But when I was a kid in the Eighties, there was no chance of being reprimanded or corrected if you used the “m-word.”
Similarly, the “r-word” is dangerous to use as well. I remember back in 2008 when Ben Stiller’s Tropic Thunder drew controversy and even inspired a petition that was circulated through Facebook encouraging people not to see the movie because of the way it portrayed those with special needs.
It’s wallpapered in our brains as today’s parents of young children to know that one of the worst things to be in our society is a bigot; any type of person who looks down on or makes fun of other people for being different.
(To be honest, I’m actually a tad paranoid to even be covering this topic today for fear of being misunderstood or misquoted as one myself. What if I ironically make myself look like the kind of bully I am speaking against here?)
And that brings us to another especially unacceptable and obscene term; the “f-word.”
No, the other “f-word,” as well as the “q-word.” These days, when one of your friends from high school officially “comes out of the closet” on Facebook in a status update, you can expect to see a flood of “likes” and “hugs” and “You go girl!” comments, definitely not criticism or name-calling.
As if I needed to say it, I’m glad to see these words become demonized. I like knowing our society is reaching such a state of “bullying awareness.”
What I am seeing about our Millennial generation (born from 1980 to 2000) and our concept of vulgarity is that we’re more offended by slurs directed at minorities of every kind in society; as opposed to cursing and cussing in general.
Interestingly, we’re much less offended by the classic extreme offenders, like “g.d.” or “a-hole” or even the original f-word. In fact, it’s not even a big deal anymore to hear those words spoken on cable TV from time to time.
We’ve heard them so many times that I’m wondering if they actually are profane anymore or if we just pretend they are because it’s what we’re used to thinking.
Here’s what I know. I have a responsibility to teach my son what is and is not appropriate to say, largely based on which words I do and do not say.
It’s not up to the rating of a movie or a TV show, or which words the censors bleep out, or even which words that society deems as offensive for whatever reason.
Since a lot of my son’s future vocabulary is indeed up to me, I will guide him and strive to be the example he needs to see and hear.
I will be that person in my son’s life; to teach him not only how not to hurt others with his words, but also, how to build people up with his words, especially to those who need it the most.
My son’s pronunciation of words is much limited right now. For example, “cookie” sounds a lot different when it comes out of his mouth. In fact, it’s pretty difficult for me to keep a straight face. Why?
He hasn’t learned the “k” sound yet. And the “oo” vowel sound is more of a short “i” sound.
I’ll put it this way. “Cookie” becomes a word that rhymes with “pity” but starts with a “t” instead of a “p”.
On top of that, when Jack asks for a cookie after dinner, he generally whines for it. Hearing a toddler whine for that is pretty hilarious.
But sometimes, his “k” sound is more of an “sh” sound, making “cookie” another equally censor-worthy word in the land of toddlers.
So either it sounds like he’s upset because he wants to return to the early days of being breastfed or he’s upset because he has a dirty diaper.
Inappropriate and therefore wildly entertaining. Because I evidently I have the mind of a Junior High boy again.
It’s kind of hard not to when your son tries so honestly to ask for a cookie yet is working his way down George Carlin’s list of “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television.”
I’m guessing every toddler goes through their accidental stage of cursing like a sailor.
According to my mom, back when I was 2, I had this toy 18 wheeler truck that I stored my Hot Wheels in. Evidently I carried it around with me everywhere, referring to it as my “fruck.” Pretty close call for 1983.
Alright, so let me hear it. Tell me about your kid’s unintentional profanities, if you dare.
We all know what the phrase means: an “illegitimate child” was born to parents who were not legally married.
The phrase originated from an English and Welsh law that said if the oldest son was a “illegitimate child” he could not inherit if the parents of his younger brother were married. Coincidentally, another particular word referring to illegitimate children has become an intermediate curse word over the years.
There are probably five good reasons you won’t find me using profanity.
One of them is because sometimes in order to call someone a profane name, even and especially jokingly, it puts me in a position to judge a person based on an insensitive stereotype or demographic to which I am indirectly validating.
By calling someone this particular modern day curse word I am referring to, it is insinuating that person’s parents were never married; that he was conceived outside of a committed, loving relationship; and therefore, he is not capable of treating people with respect and decency.
But really, which is worse: the phrase “illegitimate child” for tying the word “illegitimate” to the word “child,” or that particular inglorious curse word I keep referring to because it has gained the status of profanity in our culture?
I think the first is worse. Again, this is me being overly analytical and taking things too seriously (and deep) because that’s what I do as a writer, but it’s a crazy thought to consider any child being “illegitimate.” Right?
Sure, I totally realize we don’t literally mean a kid is illegitimate in a literal, overall sense. But it makes me wonder if we really do see certain children as illegitimate.
Maybe part of the reason I am so passionate about this concept that no child is illegitimate is the fact that, like Ron Paul, I am an avid pro-life supporter.
It’s easy to say that no child is illegitimate, but I’m not sure we are convinced about that. At least not until he or she passes through the birth canal.
Be on the look-out next month for No Such Thing as Illegitimate Children, Part 2.