Potty-mouth panic


Shit shit shit! Maya has just sworn at me for the first time. She’s only just turned two. She wasn’t angry and she didn’t know she was being coarse. She just volleyed a bit of my own foul language back at me. I feel a bit sick. I know it happens but shit shit SHIT! Shocking.

Why me? Why me? Could it be the universe’s karmic response to my recent smugness? I’ve been feeling very pleased with myself about Maya’s unrivalled linguistic progress. Maybe this is the fall I’ve had coming for weeks.

She’s pretty much making sense these days. And it’s hard for a parent not to swell with pride when even strangers can understand ‘Mummy pick nose,’ or ‘Bad Mummy, not clean teeth today.’ Under my tireless tutelage, she also mastered basic French greetings on our camping holiday last summer. She would bust a casual bonjour at the ladies from the tent next door on our way to the bloc sanitaire. It sent them into a frenzied coo-off every time. I’d then do the international frown and head-shake for where-did-she-pick-that-up-she-just-loves-the-attention, whilst inwardly pointing at myself with both thumbs and nodding, Arthur Fonzarelli-style. Now she’s even started using voila to announce the doing-up of shoe velcro, arrival of dinner or successful completion of a poo. Her dad makes no attempt to hide his disgust. He’ll be pleased she’s gone off the rails.

So here’s how this morning went down: We had a swim date with the modern mini-God known as Freddy. Maya and Freddy go to nursery together and are, like, totally into each other, man. They had an aqua-tryst last Sunday and Maya’s been shouting, ’Freddy swimming splash splash!’ ever since.

At ten minutes to lift off, I glanced out the window and was struck by the absence of car. Damn it. James had lent our family saloon to one of his employees to take to an overnight event. ‘Bollocks!’ I nearly shouted but didn’t, opting instead for the milder but still not exemplary ‘You beggar!’ I was genuinely pissed off. His recent lack of work transport has meant repeated and tiresome early-morning meet-ups between me and his staff to hand over the car keys, with rarely a word of thanks. Grrr.

I was fuming when I realised our swim plans had been thwarted, but I knew it was imperative that I hide my rage from Maya. So I consoled her in the voice of a neurotic lunatic: ‘I’m SO sorry, sweetheart. We can’t go swimming because Daddy’s lent the (bloody muttered under breath) car to Sam and it would take us an hour to get there on the bus. I promise we’ll go swimming with Freddy next week. I’ll let Daddy know how upset we are because it’s TOTALLY OUT OF ORDER AND HE NEEDS TO BUY A WORK CAR AS SOON AS POSSIBLE DESPITE THE GROWING PRESSURES OF THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN!’

Maya looked up at me with much puzzlement and a hint of fear. She wasn’t at all bothered about swimming being cancelled anymore but she was very much in favour of calming me down. Suddenly her face lit up. She’d got it! “Mummy. Mummy!” she offered, beaming in the knowledge that what she was about to say was going to get her praise, a chocolate star biscuit and a massive mega-cuddle. ‘Fuck it, Mummy!’ she shouted gleefully, with an earnest smile and a no-one-died shrug. ‘Fuck it!’ and she came up and cuddled my legs. I appreciated the sentiment.

So my little girl has learnt to swear. And it’s not karma, is it? It’s a simple case of copycat and a timely warning. I need to check myself harder and keep my fingers crossed she doesn’t unleash any more expletives on the world and drop me in it. Then there’s the secondary goal of steering her away from a lifetime of losing it and cursing like a sailor. Being a mum is hard.

Top marks to the little potty mouth for appropriate usage though, and for emulating my evidently laid-back attitude to last-minute change. Turns out I’m pretty flexible and so is she.

Fuck it. Maybe it’s not that bad after all.

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