To preface this piece with a bit of information, there is very little difference in the way my wife and I act in front of our daughter. We tend to speak normally, except we rein in the harder swearing (the f-word and anything above that is something we don’t say in front of her.)
The most we tend to sway in front of her is “ass” and “damnit” and once in a while an “oh shit” slips through our lips. My wife and I tend to think that being radically different when we’re around her would be hypocritical, so we do our best to be the same. Not that the language doesn’t slip out from time to time, such as when my wife and I are in heated discussion, or I’m losing horribly at a video game. The following language, therefore, my daughter most likely learned from me. I’m from South Jersey, it’s part of my affect. I regret nothing, for I’m producing a comedian.
There I was working out a hangover and writing my morning pages when my daughter comes out of her room, those big eyes drowsy with “eye boogies,” Simba doll firmly pressed in the crook of her elbow, secured by the other hand with thumb solidly in her mouth, suck-suck-sucking away.
I immediately brightened. Usually just seeing- my daughter is enough to bring me out of any funk or hangover recovery. In the morning, this kid is ALWAYS an injection of sunshine right in my brain.
“Hey, Sweet Pea! You sleep well?”
I get a sleepy nod in reply. I notice she has a little-worried look on her face.
“What’s wrong, Love?”
She looks me straight in the eye (as she normally does when she’s about to say something unintentionally hilarious) and says, “Papa, my ass hurts.”
I made the mistake of drinking my morning coffee and nearly choked on it.
“Uh, (laughing) what?”
“My ass hurts.”
I had to force myself to be serious for a second. “Honey, you’re not allowed to say that. You have to say “butt”. “Ass” is an adult word.” She says, “Oh, okay. My butt hurts, Papa.” (My daughter calls me Papa.)
I took her into the bathroom and changed her pull-up (all night without an accident!) gave her a gummy vitamin and a lot of praise. Being Dr. Dad, I inspected everything and said, “You must have slept with your toys in your bed again. Do you want to go see the doctor?” She shook her head. “Okay, you think you’ll survive, or should I wake Momma up to look at your bum?” She giggled, because the word “bum” is insanely hilarious to her.
She shook her head again.
“Okay, run along then.” She scampered off to watch Bubble Guppies, which by the way is an awesome show when you’ve had a few in you, by the way.
My wife then shambled out of the bedroom looking haggard and tired.
I laughed. She barely looked functional. I pointed to the counter. “Coffee’s right over there.” She nodded and went to the coffee machine.
“John, this is too difficult with a three-alarm hangover. Come pour me a cup.”
“Hun, I’m in the middle of an article. You can manage.” I replied.
I hear the pitter patter of little feet. My wife looks at my daughter, who heard that Momma was up and came to say good morning. “Mara, can you believe that Papa won’t pour me a cup of coffee?”
Mara turns to me and says, “Papa, dats a dick move.”
I fell off my chair.
So, we’re hanging out at a friend’s house. This friend has a cat that acts as a typical normal cat. Which obviously means that he’s an a**hole. My daughter then tries to call the cat over. The cat is having none of it.
“Mr. Whiskers, (yes, that is the cat’s name) get over here, you furry buttmunch!” She looked up to a sea of dumbfounded adult faces.
She then walks over to the cat with a very disappointed look on her face. She stands over the cat, who is utterly indifferent.
“You … are a useless cat.”
My wife and I are making breakfast. She wanted something specific and I wanted something else, so we are discussing it. This discussion goes on for about 10 minutes, as what I want is something my daughter just won’t eat. (S.O.S., or creamed chipped beef over toast.) My wife wants a staple, egg, bacon and toast (at least we agreed on the toast.)
Meanwhile, my daughter is sitting at the table, watching the entire conversation. We’re talking about it and my daughter says, “I’m hungry, Papa!”
I look at her, “I know sweet pea, give me a minute and I’ll make something, once your mother stops being obstinate.”
The breakfast argument goes on for another 5 minutes. My daughter can’t take it anymore. She stands between my wife and me, shouting (as if the performance would be nominated for an Academy Award), “Why are you guys doing this crap to me?!?!”
We did not stop laughing until her breakfast was finished.