Warning: Contains Strong Parental Language

Brace yourselves, readers, for this most shocking of revelations:  I have a bit of a potty mouth.  No really, it’s true!  I’ve never met a curse word I didn’t like.  I relish combining them in innovative and surprising ways to yield original phrases that are equal parts whimsical and offensive.  I truly revere swearing for the powerful artistic medium it is.  In short, it’s pretty fucking awesome.

Sadly, when we have children, many of our former hobbies must be set aside.  For me, that hobby is swearing.  Despite my personal affinity for filthy language, I’d rather my son not acquire a taste for the habit.  At least until his freshman year of college or he gets his Commercial Driver’s License.  At two years old, he is currently in the “parrot stage”.  He repeats absolutely everything.  I mean he repeats EVERYTHING.  Last week while on the phone with my equally foul mouthed husband, I referred to someone as a nutsack.  Half a second later, I heard a tiny voice happily chanting “NUTSACK!” from the other room.  Yikes.  To be fair though, the woman ahead of me in the supermarket express checkout line with 11 items WAS a total nutsack.  Every time I accidentally let fly an F-bomb, I picture my son a few years down the road, expressing his distaste for crafting snowmen out of cotton balls by calling his kindergarten teacher a fuckwad.  The time to clean it up is long overdue.  Shit.

So here I am, on the hunt for adequate substitutes for my favorite expletives.  No easy task, friends.  But it appears there are some serviceable options out there if you just search hard enough.  I’m talking beyond the “oh shoot”s and “frick”s of the world.  Creatively applied, they can be nearly as impactful as the originals.  One of my current favorites is an agriculturally based substitute for a far more jarring MF-word – you know the one I mean.  Take the following (ever so slightly modified) dialog from 1990’s cinematic gem, Pulp Fiction, as evidence of its effectiveness:

Jules: What country are you from?
Brett: What? What? Wh – ?
Jules: What ain’t no country I’ve ever heard of. They speak English in What?
Brett: What?
Jules: English, melon farmer, do you speak it?
Brett: Yes! Yes!
Jules: Then you know what I’m sayin’!
Brett: Yes!
Jules: Describe what Marsellus Wallace looks like!
Brett: What?
Jules: Say ‘what’ again. Say ‘what’ again, I dare you, I double dare you melon farmer, say what one more time!

Now, isn’t that nice?  Another backup plan that I’ve been using lately is inserting random celebrity names in place of curse words.  “Jennifer Love Hewett, you scared the Kesha out of me!”  Or perhaps, “Jonathan Taylor Thomas, it’s hot out today!”  Or, upon stubbing one’s toe, one might exclaim, “Shia LeBeouf that hurt!”  See?  This one can be hours of fun!  Go ahead, try some of your own.  I’ll wait…

As you can see, I’m still searching for something with the appropriate oomph.  There are certain situations where, whether for emphasis or comedic value, only the old standards will do.  So I’ll forgive myself the fact that I’ll never be able to eliminate all the salt from my vocabulary.  I can only hope my son grows into a man who understands the value of an artfully applied curse word.  And barring that, I’m sure he’ll find his future career as a longshoreman both lucrative and fulfilling.

I’m dying to hear some of your favorite “parent swears” – don’t be shy, lay that shit on me!


Parenting Dictionary

Naming the unspeakable horrors of parenthood, one word at a time…

Nap Blueballs:



Condition occurring when an individual is on the brink of a sorely needed nap, but is interrupted just before completion.  The baby is sleeping soundly, the house is silent and you yourself have achieved a rare and blissfully relaxing state of half sleep when the infant awakes screaming inconsolably, rendering you an irritable, sleep-addled mess for the remainder of the day.  The only cure for this affliction is a solid night’s sleep, to which you will not have access until the aforementioned infant’s 30th birthday.

example:  “I’m really sorry I set fire to your grandmother’s walker, I’m not myself today.  I tried to catch a catnap earlier but little Billy Bob woke up about 10 minutes in, now I’ve got a wicked case of nap blueballs.  Please, I insist you let me write you a check to cover the damages.”

The Rabbit Cometh

Whether you celebrate Easter, Passover or Biz Markie’s birthday, last weekend had something for nearly everyone.  In the years before my son was born, I have to admit the magic of the season may have been a bit lost on me.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a firm believer in the fact that chocolate just tastes better when it is shaped like adorable, tiny animals.  There’s no way around that.  It’s science.  However, as an adult far beyond my egg hunting years, chocolate alone cannot sustain the requisite level of excitement.  The appeal of Easter had become entirely brunch related – an excuse to drink during the day (why hello mimosas!) while gorging on honey baked ham.  But seeing this second most sugary of holidays through the eyes of a two year old, I’m finding myself right back in the Easter Bunny’s fluffy clutches.  There’s just something about watching the little guy double fisting marshmallow Peeps that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

This year, I’m kicking myself for failing to create an appropriate level of bunny buzz prior to E day.  It simply hadn’t occurred to me to schlep over to the mall to have the little guy photographed on the lap of a creepy man-rabbit.  I hadn’t the foresight to assemble candy and teeny toys into an overpriced basket garnished with decorative grass that would inevitably end up in our cat’s lower intestine.  In hindsight it all feels like one big missed opportunity.  Thanks to the best sister in law ever, he still received a mammoth Easter basket that was stuffed fuller than Kim Kardashian’s skinny jeans.  As he rifled through his bounty, he was beside himself with sticky fingered glee.  Meanwhile, I was repeating a silent oath to bring my A game next year.  With PAAS as my witness, I swear we’ll be dying hard boiled eggs until every one of us develops carpal tunnel syndrome.  I’ll eat Technicolor stained Cobb salads for a month straight, if I have to.  For now, I’m thanking my lucky stars that my little sugar junkie can’t tell the difference between Peeps purchased before Easter and the ones I scored for 50% off today at Walgreen’s.

Plywood Jungle

As I become increasingly familiar with the special brand of insanity that is toddler behavior, I try my best to abide by a “judge not, lest ye be…” attitude toward others’ parenting styles.  Most of the time.  Okay, some of the time.  Hey, I’m working on it, okay?!  I truly have no room to cast aspersions, given my own proclivity toward hovering like a neurotic basket case, desperate to shield my delicate little flower from anything with sharper edges than a down pillow.  However, there are situations where one simply cannot help but feel like you’re the only one who possesses any measure of sanity; the lone zoo keeper in a cage full of crap-flinging monkeys.  Case in point: the cross section of human behavior that is Ikea on a busy Sunday afternoon.  What is it about modular furniture at low, low prices that brings out the absolute worst in parental behavior?

Though I was there only 45 minutes, I witnessed scads of wayward tots using the sofa section as their own personal moon bounce, flogging each other with assorted bargain priced kitchen utensils, and scaling piles of shag rugs like sugared-up mountain goats.  When I passed the lighting section, I would not have been surprised to find unattended crawling babies gnawing through electrical cords like the Persian cat in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  In a stunning example of saving the best for last, the absolute horror of all horrors occurred when I was within spitting distance of the checkout lines.  As I weaved through crowds in the self-serve warehouse, I stopped short when an overloaded flatbed cart rolled by me.  Pushed by a frazzled looking mother, the contents of said cart included the following:  no less than ten flat pack furniture items, assorted lamps and throw pillows, three children under the age of five, and teetering on the very top of the pile was a car seat occupied by a dozing newborn.  Wait…what?!  What is Swedish for “Have you lost your fucking mind?  That’s a BABY!”  Doesn’t Ikea issue informative pictorial directions that caution against this?  Surely there must be a drawing explaining that you do not place infant seats atop precariously stacked boxes of furniture?  Or at very least an 800 number you can call if you aren’t sure.  At least chuck him in the ball pit, woman!  The nice Smaland attendants will help you fish him out when you’ve finished picking out a new toothbrush holder.  Not exactly certain how to respond to this game of baby Jenga unfolding before my eyes, I defaulted to sarcasm.  A “gee, THAT seems safe” coupled with the most menacing stink eye I could muster.  I didn’t stick around to see if passive-aggressive conflict resolution 101 had any effect on her; it was time to get the hell out of dodge.  That was the Swedish meatball that broke the camel’s back.  So long Ikea, it’s been real.  I’ll be back the next time I need reassurance I’m not the worst parent around.