The eff word

Well, the inevitable happened.

I was looking after our daughter tonight after supper and I was trying to get her into her pajamas. I managed to get her pull-up on and was just in the process of sorting the zipper on her one-piece sleeper. She was extra squirmy and the first time we tried it her right leg slid down into the left leg of the pajamas. No big deal, but I think I must have let a sigh out or something. The next thing I heard was:


“I’m sorry, what?”

“Fuck, daddy. Isn’t that what you say when something goes wrong? Fuck?”

I was completely stunned. First at the clarity and the accuracy with which she was pronouncing THE WORD, but also because yes, she was right. I probably do say “fuck” when something goes wrong. It seems to be my “go to” swear. I don’t even realize how often I say it. I hope I’m not one of these deranged people who are always swearing and muttering under their breath (something to look forward to!) but I will admit that I tend to use that word more than I should, especially now.

What’s even worse was that she is really into “The Nutcracker” and she started singing one of the pieces from it. I think it was the dance of the sugar plum fairy, but instead of just humming it, she was singing the “f” word over and over again in time to the music!

Kids are sensory sponges, we know this, and tonight it was really driven home to me just HOW MUCH the things we do and say around our daughter stick.

Do you want to know how I handled it? I waited for her to finish her little number, which actually changed from “fuck” to “foxes” part way through, and I said, “Now Audrey, that word you were just using is a bad word. It’s a word that you may sometimes hear Mommy or Daddy use from time to time, but we really shouldn’t and you shouldn’t either.”

She nodded and thought for a minute and said, “What about the other word?”

“What other word?”


“No, foxes is fine, but fuck isn’t.”

“Okay Daddy”.

And that appeared to be the end of it for tonight.

I couldn’t wait to tell my wife about it and it was the first the I told her when she got home from work. She told me something surprising.

“Well, she said ‘shit’ the other day.”


“Yeah, it was a similar thing. I was angry about something and she said, ‘Shit, Mommy? Is it a shit?'”

Makes sense, knowing that my wife’s “go to” swear is “shit”. I’m a “fuck” man myself.

My wife is constantly living in fear that our daughter will say something at nursery school or church or whatever that will be deeply embarrassing to her. I’m not too worried. Kids say stuff all the time, and I guess we’ll just monitor the situation here and see if we need to address anything else.  It was more the shock of hearing that word come out of my sweet daughter’s mouth more than anything else. Does this mean my wife is going to have to utter “sugar” when she means “shit” and I “fudge” for “fuck”, or maybe Trudeau’s famous “fuddle duddle”?

I’m doubtful. In the heat of the moment of a shitty situation, there’s just no substitute for a good “fuck”, right?


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