I have a terrible confession to make: the two-year-old Egg, the apple of my eye, is a potty mouth.
Yes, she is at that stage where children are little sponges and suck up new knowledge at an alarming speed. It’s the age where they produce cute new expressions weekly and hold everyone around them in the palm of their hand. But Egg has gone one step further – she is determined to harness the power cursing gives to your words.
“When we were looking for my car in the supermarket parking lot, she spotted it first,” Ouma gossiped. “‘There’s your fu***ng red car,’ she told me with her little index finger pointing at it.”
Of course, Ouma explained she shouldn’t use that word. “Why not?” Egg asked. “It IS a k*k car?”
Where did she pick those words up? I don’t know. At school? From her mother, or dare I say from her grandmother? That’s very possible.
“She’s full of …” my friend Robyn said over the weekend.
“Don’t say that word,” I replied. “It’s one of my favourites, but I’ve heard it too many times from a toddler’s mouth.”
“No, not that word. I wanted to say she is full of… authentic,” Robyn said. “I love it when toddlers swear. It’s so fu****g funny.”
“Funny?” I asked puzzled.
“The funniest is that you can hear the parent intonation,” she explained.
That hit home. I’m one of her parents, after all.
Could it be possible that she picked any of it up from me? I’m ashamed to admit that it’s not impossible. I’ve been known to resort to a spicy word when I can’t find the right family friendly version.
Like any parent, I am proud to think that I make a substantial contribution to Egg’s education; that I teach her interesting new skills. But I don’t think swearing is one of these parental trophies.
Like any self-respecting father, I’m trying to set an example to my little foulmouthed darling. And on average I succeed. It’s not me who told her the book we read at bedtime is k*k. Or that you should pay attention when crossing the street… “because if there’s a fu****g car, you’re in k*k”.
But did she hear one of those words from me? Please excuse me, dear reader. I’ll have to end this column right here. I have some introspection to do.