It's a terrible truth which antenatal classes and parenting manuals somehow omit to inform you of (and if they were to, no doubt the birth-rate would decline even further): when you stay at home to look after small children, your swearing days are over, or are at least cruelly curtailed. Many women take up part-time work again for that very reason.
If, like me, you come from a long unbroken line of champion super-heavyweight Olympic-grade swearers, you will find this unintended consequence of parenthood both a terrible imposition and a personal liability. Although in the right hands swearing is both funny and clever, it is neither when issuing forth from the angelic mouth of a three-year-old. Verbal restraint is required. For the first time I have understood wherefore 'sugar' and 'flip', though as yet I have not plumbed those feeble saccharine depths.
|The Periodic Table to Swearing, by Modern Toss|
Consequently, at our house creative substitutions of the Beavis and Butthead variety are occasionally required. But in the hands of the small guy, who has ears like a bat and a great love of colourful language (he does share the industrial-strength DNA, after all), this can quickly lead to conversations of the following nature:
"Zip it, fartknocker!"
"No, you zip it. And don't say fartknocker."
"No, you zip it, Mum."
"Zip it! I mean it."
"OK." (Whispering.) "Fartknocker."
"Heh heh. Nothing." (Very faint whispering.) "Fartknocker."
Etc. As I've noted before, this is not the sort of conversation you'd ever imagine you'd be involved in. But after you have children you're lucky if it only happens once a day. And if it's as mild as this. I've gained a new-found respect for my own father's clearly superhuman powers of verbal restraint.