When Bean was no bigger than a bean herself, I feared for her language development. Will she be on track? What will her first word be? I eagerly awaited the "mama" and "dada," but then what? What would her next word be? Babies are mimics, repeating your sounds, gestures and speech patterns. What if she started mimicking the things I didn't want her to mimic, like the sometimes offensive expletive-laced speech that was ubiquitous at my previous employment. While she was gestating in my belly, words like "cock," "balls," "douchebag," "dildo" were thrown around as easily as "Hi!" and "How are you?" Did her tiny embryonic ears process these words? Was Bean listening the whole time?
Although, I long ago left kitchen life behind, my kitchen vernacular remains very much intact (including my poor version of Spanglish). At my old job, my words could make a sailor blush. In fact, I could probably make a sailor cry and then make him blush. But I'm a mom now, right? I checked my obscenities at the delivery room door. My language is peppered with "coos" and "gagaga" now, right? WRONG! You know what they say. You can take the girl out of the kitchen, but you can't take the kitchen out of the girl. Balls. That's my word of choice. Bean wakes up extra early- BALLS! I drop a plate of food on the floor for the third time that day-BALLS! I accidentally already drank all the coffee-BALLS! I found Bean's poop on my face after being outside all day- BLUE BALLS! This is my life. Thankfully, her favorite toy is a ball so when she does start saying "balls," I'll just tell her it's a game we played.
I suppose it could be worse -- it's not like I'm dropping F-bombs. But still, I can see her one day in the future and a small child will swipe away her toy in the sandbox and Bean might respond back with the requisite "Cock and Balls" (sometimes saying the two together really drives the point home). Will she quickly become that kid on the playground that the other kids avoid because she has a potty mouth? Or worse, will parents think she wasn't raised well due to her frequent use of the word "d-bag?"
I don't want her growing up with this vulgarity, but how do you cut out something that was once so much a part of you? When I was a camper at a sleepaway camp, if we were caught cussing, we were told to run laps around the cabin. I could run laps around my one-bedroom apartment, but I don't think that kind of flagellation would deter any lewd language.
Just today, a persistent, gnat-like realtor called to check-in with me. After I hung up the phone, I turned to Bean and said, "Can you say "hand-job?" To which she looked back at me, beaming with pride, and clapped because she knows to clap when I say "hand."