My four-year-old just said ‘fuck’. Now, for the record, we are not prudes. We do swear but we make a huge effort not to do so at home or in front of children. Instead of shock or anger I think I felt a pang of grief. My instant thoughts were ‘how can this be happening?’ and ‘you are growing up too fast’. Somehow his innocence evaporated for a minute as he knew exactly what he was saying and the gravity that the word carried.
It had been a long day of struggling with domesticity while Mr MF worked. There was mess everywhere I turned. Each time I tried to clean up, or at least put things away the children came along like little cyclones and completely undid any meagre achievement towards order. I am talking about the pantry being emptied onto the kitchen floor, dirty dishes unwashed, clean dishes not put away, pencils and Textas scattered on the floor, clean clothes and dirty clothes in mixed up piles, the shoe basket emptied out, pillows and bedding pulled out of bedrooms to make a cubby house and half eaten food left in the strangest of places (peanut butter crusts in a hat anyone?). Master 2 is also the master of attention-seeking and can wee on command and had wee-ed on the floor twice for no apparent reason.
If I turned my back to do something a fight would break out. Someone is hit, or pinched or bitten. If I want to go to the toilet I need to quickly distract Master 2 from putting Master 1 in a headlock and wrestling him to the floor. Usually ‘Wheels on the Bus’ on YouTube does the trick and then I can make a mad dash for it. I have to lock the toilet door so Master 1 doesn’t follow me in and unravel all the toilet roll or wipe snot and dribble on my legs as I sit there trying to do my business.
So after a frustrating morning I was more than pissed off when, after foolishly deciding that Master 1 needed some ‘nappy-off time’ that he wee-ed on the floor too and then swished his hands through it and spread it everywhere. I yelled “Arrrrrgggghhhhhhh!” and went to get a towel to clean it up.
Master 4 quietly came over to me and said “Fuck” very calmly. This is how the conversation unfolded:
Trying to remain calm myself I said “No we don’t say that, we just say ‘Oh dear’”
“Really Mum, what about you say ‘Oh Fuck’?
“No you don’t say that. That’s an adult word.”
“What about ‘Hollow’ is that an adult word?
“Hollow”? <confused> No everyone can say ‘Hollow’
“What about “No”, is that an adult word?
“Hollow and No are OK for kids and adults. Don’t ever say adult words until you are an adult OK or you will be in very big trouble.
“Ok Mum, sorry Mum”.
I think the only sound I made was an audible sigh but internally I said a very loud, ‘Fuck me!’