And this one, with the mouth

And this one with the mouth

My Mom’s Expressions

My mom use to say things like that. You’d have a pouting look on your face, she’d say “What’s with the face?” Or there was this one, “Are you crying? I’ll give you something to cry about.” And if you used any bad words, she’d look at you and say, “And this one, with the mouth.”

My mom was raised in upstate NY and since my sister and I spent most of our younger years in Miami, the language translated to that part of of the country. Most of our friend’s moms talked like that too.

Now I get to have this conversation with my son Jake. He seems to have a fascination with cuss words. I first noticed this one night when I watching an episode of Top Chef. The chefs were in the middle of one of those crazy challenges so the bad words were flying and the show had to keep bleeping them out. Our conversation went like this:

Jake: What’s that noise?

Me: The TV show is bleeping out bad words.

Jake: That’s an awful lot of bleeping sounds.

Me: It’s a grown up show with grown ups doing grown up things. Go upstairs, it’s time for bed.

The truth comes out

Jake confessed to me later that week that he knew what they were saying. When he was in 3rd grade, one of his friends told the boys in his class the Top 5 bad words he knew. They huddled together in a stall in the boys room that’s hidden behind the stairs. He said they played a game to dare each other to say them out loud.

I had this image of a cuss-word version of The Christmas Story flagpole scene going something like this:  (Jake narrating) I TRIPLE-dog-dare ya. My friend created a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple dare and going right for the throat!

Fortunately no one was hurt in this game, but if they did, they now had the vocabulary to accurately express it.

The Battle Continues

The battle continues as I try to get him to stop using these bad words. He’s even tried to invent songs with them, bleeping himself every time he comes to the point when he’s just about to rip one out.

The irony of the whole thing is that I’m quite proficient in the use of obscenities. I can be a lot like the Dad in The Christmas Story:

He worked in profanity the way other artists might work in oils or clay. It was his true medium; a master.

I do my best to watch my mouth when I’m around him and it’s certainly helped clean up the way I talk.  Of course, I still have my moments like when I threw out the F-Bomb but Jake wasn’t there that day. It was just me and the dog.

I admit there was this one day when we saw this huge roach in our hotel room. I saw the thing scamper across the floor and I screamed the s-word. Jake did that whiny “Mom” thing and all I could do was say sorry. What else could I say? The thing was the size of my sneaker.

I realize there’s not much I can do but continue to tell him that these words are inappropriate. So until I can figure out how to deal with it, he’ll just keep walking around the house, bleeping himself.

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27 thoughts on “And this one, with the mouth

  1. this was really funny. I have heard every single one of those statements as I was growing up, too. I especially adore ” and this one, with the mouth”. I always thought it was an Italian thing. I curse way too much in front my kid, but she’s 13 now and really used to it. What’s amazing is that she has yet to let one slip herself. I’m perplexed as to how 13 years have passed without one. Thanks for the read.

    • And here I thought it was a Jewish thing! Guess Italians and Jews have more in common than I realized.

      You know, she may not be saying the words in front of you. Hopefully she’s not the one pulling her friends into the bathroom to tell them about the bad words she knows :)

      • ohhh, I have no DOUBT she’s using them. I’m simply surprised she hasn’t slipped in front of us!! Honestly, curse words have little weight in my book, but that’s simply my own outlook on them.

      • She probably realizes that curse words don’t matter to you so that translated over to her. She probably says some around her friends and just keeps it to herself at home. I remember how I was at that age.

    • Oh you know Jake by now. He’s like his mother, just gotta do things his way :)
      We have the loudness and non-stop talking problem too but at this point, the bleeping seems to outweigh it.

  2. That’s awesome! I don’t use bad words, so Mr. T has grown up not saying them – he does come to me and ask me about words and whether or not he can say them. And, the other day he was like “some kids at school need to read a dictionary and come up with other words to say!”
    My heart filled! :)
    Of course, my mom has the mouth of a sailor at home. I had T and then 10 months later my sister had her twins, so mom wanted to work on not swearing. My sister and I would help her out by reminding her “Potty mouth”. It didn’t take long, maybe a couple of months before my mom told us:

    “F*** the $(&*&^%% (&^*^B )&(*^@# potty mouth”

    • Good for you and Mr T for not using those words. Especially as a teenage boyy, I think he’s doing a great job on making good choices which can be so hard at that age with peer pressure. However, your mom cracks me up! unfortunately, I could probably go a few rounds with her in a conversation.

  3. As a non-parent, I find it hilarious when kids swear — a reaction I have to quickly stifle to avoid undermining any parental lessons. :) Also, I remember A Christmas Story for the scene where Ralphie gets his mouth washed out with soap. The threat of that happening to me made a very strong impression.

  4. I really enjoyed this post. It was wonderfully crafted, with great references. I can just hear my own grandmother saying “and this one, with the mouth.” She was also fond of “I’ll give you something to cry about.” She also made us play a game called ten black crows. That’s where you had to lay on her lap and get ten spanking while she counted … “one black crow, two black crows …” I may raise my children differently. This was a good story of our memories and our own means of child-rearing.

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