Laila repeats back exactly what she hears. ‘Damn thing,’ she says, watching me struggle to open the door, cursing under my breath. ‘Ram thing, sweetheart.’ I do some quick thinking. ‘I was talking about a thing called ram.’
Another day has me explaining just what a ‘ruddy’ phone is. But I think she knows. Just like I did when my mum would suddenly let fly a torrent of abuse (that little swine, bloody dog etc) that stopped innocent people in their tracks and gave us kids a considerable amount of pleasure. Don’t get me wrong. My mother is one of the sweetest people this side of the planet – except when you made her mad. Or hungry.
A dear friend was driving his little boys (4 and 6) to school one morning, when he was abruptly pushed off the road by another driver, nearly giving him a heart-attack. ‘F…ing idiot!’ he yelled, as he swung back onto the road. Very soon a soothing chant began to make itself felt – ‘f..ing idiot, f…ing idiot’ – just as school loomed large on the horizon.
Not for nothing is my friend a cool guy. Very soon the little boys were bundled out of the car and on their way in, their little mantra changed to ‘schuking idiot, shucking idiot.’ And as nothing was heard from the authorities thereafter, we can assume that it turned out ok.
But the best story of all is this one.
D’s four-year old son had recently discovered the F word. Reprimands and threats didn’t scare him much (he is very much an old chip off the block)and decided to show-off his new vocabulary at school. Now D works at this same school and was promptly summoned by the teacher with this piece of heartening news – ‘I am sorry to tell you this, but R is using the F word in class’ – while Mr Carefree ran around the school yard with not a care in the world. While she looked out at him, her little boy who loved a dare and was generally an unputdownable, loving creature, she was hit by a brain wave. R was due his inoculation. In a matter of minutes, the little man was in the car and off to the doctor’s to get his ‘punishment’ – the much-hated injection – and came back a chastened and wiser being. End of story. End of all cuss words.
So while I honestly think it’s the cutest thing when my three-year old casually asks for ‘the bloody cotton,’ it’s not very funny when ‘shit’ falls out of his mouth with equal ease.
It’s tough watching one’s mouth. But it’s tougher watching your kids, not watch theirs.
p.s. My son just spelt the ‘f’ word out while trying to spell phat in Hindi! And this from a boy who hates spelling. Then when reminded that only adults use those words (if at all), he wants to know why God made them!