Inflection

In-flec-tion :  change in pitch or loudness of the voice – a : the change of form that words undergo to mark such distinctions as those of case, gender, number, tense, person, mood, or voice.

Fuck: Slang. (used to express anger, disgust, peremptory rejection, etc., often followed by a pronoun, as you or it. )
Origin: 1495–1505; akin to Middle Dutch fokken.
Related forms : fuck·y, adjective

Sometimes as I write a post, I wonder what people are going to think. After all, my in-laws read this stuff, cousins, aunts and uncles tune in for the latest episode. Friends new and old, people who go to church on a weekly basis, people who have advanced degrees, people who remove children from the homes of unfit parents….gasp. Sometimes even I momentarily wonder what people think of me, as a parent. This is one of those posts.

By 1:00 p.m. yesterday afternoon this precious angel had dropped the f-bomb precisely seven times that I am aware of. That’s right – this is a first hand account of the f-bombs that I actually heard leave the lips of my tiny toddler. When she’s out of ear-shot, I have no idea what she’s saying, thus proceed with the (mistaken) assumption that she probably isn’t saying that word.

I began the day with the admittedly unrealistic hope that the word had lost its appeal during her peaceful slumber. I lay in bed nursing my cold’s second horrible day of existence, while desperately attempting to psych myself up for my gig as Parent Helper. You’ll be fine, I told myself. How bad can three hours be? So what if Kate has to come along? She’ll play and she’ll be perfectly…
“Ah, fuck…I stuck,” she blandly remarked from the behind the gate on her bedroom door. “Daddy? I stuck!”
pause
The sweet whispering voice of my two year old traveled down the hallway. “Fuuuuuck,” she whispered to no one in particular, she was just making an exasperated statement to get her day rolling. I sighed and began to pray that she wouldn’t let it rip in front of the preschool set.
After I dragged my ailing body from my bed and showered, I caught Kate so I might brush her hair into some semblance of respectability. I popped her on top of my bathroom counter, ran the brush through her fine waves and promptly encountered a sticky tangle of mystery goop. Her hand rose to the area of the knot and she furrowed her tiny eyebrows, “OUCH, FUCK MAMA!” Her eyes challenged me to just go ahead and try that again and her language told me that she meant business. Ignoring the mini Clint Eastwood glaring at me in the mirror, I said, “No, no, Kate! Bad word!”

A few minutes later, we were in her bedroom getting her dressed for the day. As I changed her diaper I teased, “Pew! You’re stinky Katie!” She laughed out a hearty, “Ah fuck, I stinky!” I tapped my index finger on her lips and said, “No! Bad word.” She began crying. Clearly, I thought, I need to find a different tactic.

Finally, the girls and I were backing out of the garage when I smacked the passenger side mirror on the way out. (Yes, that’s the third time since January, so sue me.) Of course the loud banging sound was a bit startling and when I got out to fix the mirror, I found it’s guts hanging out. I re-entered the car to Kate’s questioning, “Fuck, Mama?” I mentally thought, yes that’s a big fuck Kate but, taking the advice of some old friends on Facebook, I ignored the word. Perhaps a lack of reaction would help it lose it’s appeal.

The thing is, she’s using it appropriately in every instance. Her inflection is always appropriate. She’s using the F-bomb in a conversational manner and not for shock value. How the fuck do I stop that? I pondered this deeply disturbing revelation as I drove in to town and was lost in thought as we parked and walked into the school. At the threshold of the door Kate froze and shrieked with terror, “FUCK! BUG!” I ignored it and resolved to tell anyone who overheard the following script that I had rehearsed in my head.

No, no…she’s saying ‘frog’…it just sounds like fuck. I know isn’t that silly? We’re working on the pronunciation because it’s really embarrassing. ah ha ha ha!!

I avoided Kate at preschool.

Later, when we’d finally returned to the confines of our house and she started to drop F-bombs again,  I began paying close attention to the myriad ways in which Kate used the word to convey her emotion.

Perhaps my favorite to date happened as she was running through the house then slipped and fell off the step leading into the kitchen. She couldn’t see me stifle a smile as she growled an exasperated, “fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck”  as she lay prone on the floor. Despite myself, that one made me happy.

The final f-bomb that I heard yesterday happened when she fumbled her ba-ba. It hit the floor at her feet and, well…you know what she said. From my sick bed, I heard David’s lame attempts to stop her and slowly drifted off to sleep.

I’ve begun various methods to dissuade her use of that word. I don’t laugh. I’ve sternly said NO! I’ve tapped her lips and said, NO! I’ve said, “do not say FUCK!” I’ve threatened soap – but I think she’s a bit young for that punishment…but then again, she’s also a bit young to have grasped the (im)proper usage of the word “fuck”. I’ll admit that in this area, I have failed as a mother. No need to state the obvious…I haven’t said it in front of her for at least a week.

Origins of the F-Bomb

I was in the laundry room last weekend, folding the mountain of laundry and half-listening to David and Kate talk to one another. From three rooms away, I heard something hit the floor followed by Kate jabbering something in her Kate way. I heard David ask, “What did you just say?”

She obliged him and repeated her word. “Fuck.”

David’s footsteps were suddenly coming in my direction. He pushed through the laundry room doors and looked at me with raised eyebrows. “I just dropped something on the floor and Kate said fuck!”

“No she didn’t.” I responded. “She said walk, it just comes out sounding like fuck.”

“No. She said fuck.” His eyebrows were climbing dangerously higher as he shot me a look of silent blame, then turned and left doors swinging in his wake.

It’s my fault. I’ll take the blame on this one, although, he isn’t immune to dropping the F-Bomb…let’s just make that clear. But the truth of the matter is that Kate spends the majority of her time in my presence. Who else would she have learned that filthy word from? Plus, her timing and usage of the F Word reeks of my frustrated responses to a dropped object. You know when you’re trying to rush three children out the door and you’re running slightly behind then a snack cup of Cheerios that you’re struggling to fill implodes all over the floor? Well, I might not realize it in the moment, but I’m quite sure that my response to the Cheerios rolling across the floor is a hearty, “FUCK!”

Can I share something else with you? I’m ashamed of my foul mouth. I am. Really. I’ve dug into the deep dark recesses of my brain, attempting to recover the memory of exactly who it was that swore like a sailor in my childhood. In that very Generation X way, I want to blame someone else for causing my foul mouthed outbursts. But who? I don’t remember anyone swearing quite as much as I do. Maybe it was my brother’s fault. He was five years older and I emulated him. I followed him and his friends around when they didn’t know I was following them. Pre-teen boys swear a lot, don’t they?

Once, I spied my brother and our neighbor sitting in a truck at our farm. Their heads bent over something that was out of my line of sight. I watched from the horse barn until my curiosity got the best of me, then meandered in their direction, dragging a stick through the dirt, I pretended to stumble upon them purely by accident. They were so engrossed in their magazine that they had no idea I was there until it was too late to hide the outdated issue of Hustler. “Whatcha doin’?”

I’ll never forget the look of guilty surprise on my brother’s face. As if they had been delivered an electrical shock, those two boys jumped and let out a startled sound that sounded a bit like a tiny yipping dog, courtesy of their changing voices. “NOTHING! GET OUT OF HERE!” Of course, being the annoying little sister, I completely ignored his seemingly harsh response to my perfectly reasonable query. “Whatcha lookin’ at?”

courtesy Google image search

“Get the FUCK OUTTA HERE!” He yelled in his high-pitched cracky changing voice. Okay, I don’t remember if that’s exactly what he said, but I do remember him yelling at me and his voice cracked. As he was yelling, he stuffed the red, dog-eared magazine under his leg. I shrugged and went on my merry way. I walked off nonchalantly dragging my stick through the dirt and acting as though I hadn’t seen a thing. I feigned complete disinterest in their smut and I allowed him to believe that I was stupid. But I went back. Yes, sir I sure did! After they had gone off to do some weird boy stuff, I went back and snooped in that old truck by the chicken coop. I found what I was looking for behind the driver’s seat. It was filled with the F Word, in every sense of the word.

Yeah, it’s totally my brother’s fault.