Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ix-Nay on the Ursing-Cay

Recently we noticed that Sidney was using fewer random phonemes and instead engaging more deliberate speech.  He is repeating sounds he hears a lot, and repeats some simple words very-often.  He also now does a running commentary, utilizing a structured babble (consisting of these learned sounds and small words) to narrate as he goes about his day (you guessed it, now there are two wandering philosophers in the house, except he makes considerably more sense).  Now, as an inveterate linguaphile (Exibit A), I was ecstatic because my first thought was "front row seat to linguistic development!"  As an inveterate potty-mouth (I am a lawyer, Exhibit B), however, I was petrified because my second thought was "holy @#!&ing $#!^ I have to seriously stop cursing."  I have no doubt all parents experience this epiphany.  Indeed, the euphemisms employed by loving mothers and fathers to avoid exposing their treasured young to the harsher, more vulgar, near barbaric corners of language outnumber the actual curses (almost).  The problem, as you likely guessed, is not with the idea, which is probably near universal in acceptance; no, the rub lies in the practice.  

I am not a fan of neutered curses.  Intellectually I find them dishonest.  When someone says "gosh darn it" or "gee willickers" we all know full well they mean "goddamnit".  We also know full well what someone means when they say "shoot", "shucks" or "sugar" in that tone, and there is no need to get into "F it", "F off" and "are you gosh darn F'ing with me. Shoot."  You're not fooling anyone, either curse or completely refrain; this was my intellectual stance on the subject.  You see where this is going.  My new role as "Dad" put me in a bit of a pickle, a cognitive conundrum (Exhibit C) if you would.  Do I compromise my intellectual stance, or do I risk turning my son into a potty-mouth (a few years early; we live in NYC and Nana and the Admiral are in Philly people, it's inevitable).  The solution I am trying to implement is the "completely refrain", this way I can satisfy both my intellectual convictions and my fatherly duties.  However, nobody plans on cursing (except for Quentin Tarantino), it really just flies out in the heat of the moment.  So what we end up with is me cutting myself off mid-sentence the moment I realize I am about to curse (when we're lucky).  This, unfortunately, leads to conversations that sound like I have either been struck down mid-sentence or am suffering from intermittent selective-mutism.  

So, the good news is Sidney will (hopefully) hear incredibly fewer curses at home and I do not have to compromise my intellectual snobbery.  The bad news is Sidney is going to grow up thinking his father can't finish a goddamn sentence ... oh $#!&.

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