The C Word

My kids are packing their bags. They will be spending the night with their grandparents and my mother-in-law (now I know why people write MIL even if they aren’t on twitter. That word is a punctuation and capitalization nightmare) is at our house to pick them up.

I can hear the boy chanting under his breath.

Sack of C. Sack of C. Sack of C.


If any of you have children and a potty mouth, you might have realized long ago that words that you think aren’t curse words sound terrible when they come out of a little kid’s mouth.

Those words include, but are not limited to:

  • Suck
  • Crap
  • Pagina
  • Nuts
  • Friggin’
  • The lyrics to “My Sharona”
  • Bastages
  • Fugly

The phrases “Oh my God”, “pisses me off”, “shut your hole”, “bloody hell”, “What the eff?” and “mother of Christ” sound really bad too. I could go on, but you get my point.

I got Mother of Christ from The Sopranos. One time Tony said “Mother of Christ, Carmella!” and it has been one of my go-tos ever since. Bloody hell is the fault of Harry Potter and Gordon Ramsay.

Anyway, my six year old is chanting “Sack of c, sack of c, sack of c…” when he suddenly yells up from the bottom of the stairs “Hey Mom! Can I say the C Word?”

Now, I know that in this case the C word is crap, because I stopped using the exclamation “son of a whore” and replaced it with the more innocuous “sack of crap” in front of the children.

My mother-in-law however, doesn’t know this, and I can only assume that she  thinks he means a the more commonly known C-word.

My mother-in-law is pretty cool. She isn’t stuffy or a prude and she has heard her share of bad words, but that doesn’t mean this isn’t going to reflect poorly on me if I don’t hurry up and rectify this situation, and she is looking horrified, so really quick I say “Yes! You can say that C word. One time.”

And so my darling boy yells up the stairs “Sack of crap. Heh. SACK OF CRAP! SACK OF CRAP!”

1)  I know there is an ongoing debate about the status of the word crap as a curse word, but it sounds foul coming out of a child.

2) I yelled “I said you could say it one time!” and then I started laughing, because I can’t help it. Little kids saying bad words is funny and everyone knows it.

3) It gets worse.

So Ian is at the bottom of the stairs laughing, and then he says “Huh. Ass.”

But he says it more like “Aaaahhhhsssssssssssssssssssssssss.”

I yell “HEY!” and he stops.


This isn’t over yet.

Three minutes later he is putting on his shoes and he starts saying “eff you see”. Then again “eff you see, eff you cee, eff you cee” and I am trying to ignore him because obviously the laughing was just egging him on, but his helpful and suddenly literate sister says in a really snotty voice “Ian, don’t you mean eff you see kay?”

All the adults yell “HEY!”

I said “That is enough. I don’t want to hear any more of that kind of talk.”

Because I am a hypocrite, but in this case a justified one.

Lessons Learned

1) There is more than one C word.

2) Don’t get him started.

3) They are all bad words if you use them in the correct context with the right inflection.

4) I am very lucky to have a mother-in-law that also thinks little kids saying curse words is funny. VERY LUCKY.

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  1. Ugh. I see my future in your story. My two year old daughter is already repeating stuff her much older brothers say. Latest is “Oh my balls.” Yes, my daughter. And I see from your post that this is only the beginning.

  2. Mine (2.5 years) has started saying “Oh, mannnn!” courtesy of that damn Swiper the Fox from that accursed Dora cartoon that I should never have allowed in my house. While it’s hilarious, I’m also a little embarassed when she blurts it out of her tiny little Cupid-bow mouth, because people are going to think *I* taught her to say it. I curse like a sailor. I am so doomed.

  3. Heh, my 4 y.o. daughter’s go-to phrase right now is ‘Duuuuude!’ Because that’s what I end up saying while driving instead of cussing out the other drivers on the road. This is so going to come back and bite me in the ass. Though there is nothing funnier than hearing this little voice come out of the back seat with the inflection spot on. I’m a terrible influence.

  4. One of Max’s first complete sentences was “Come on,’dumbass.” Neither Dan nor I have an edit button, and at the time that he was learning to talk, we had about a three-hour round trip commute on the Beltway every day. He used to mimic the GPS too.

  5. My uncle was in the navy when his kids were little..and he cursed like a sailor, so to speak. Apparently he was a tad too liberal with his use of these words because at some large family gathering my 2-year-old cousin Sarah said “mother f*cker”. He reprimanded her, of course, but at he turned away and walked toward everyone else SHE MOUTHED IT AT HIS BACK. We all saw and had to try to not laugh but man, that was hilarious. Don’t worry, my cousin is now a non-potty-mouthed upstanding citizen.

  6. smart aleck says:

    My grandmother in law thinks fart is the F word, so I am so out of luck when we have kids and they parrot us!

  7. The dialogue in your house rocks!

    My 5yo has of course learned that there are bad words. She came home the other day, insistent that the “F” word is bad, but that the “X” word is really bad. It’s so bad that she won’t tell us what it is.

  8. I’ve been battling the potty mouth too. So far, the kids seem to understand that I can swear and they can’t. But that understanding is slipping and they are testing, testing every day.

  9. One time after a stop light turned green, one of my angels yelled “It’s green, douchebag!!” I was caught between being proud and ashamed at the same time.

  10. is it wrong that the thought of hearing any of this in person made me howl?

  11. Now, one could say, possibly, that the kids MIGHT have learned a word or two from me…but NEVER HAVE I EVER SAID “Suck my balls”, which my 9 year old said on Sunday. I dropped whatever I had in SHEER SHOCK. What. the. FLIP FLOP (my f word replacement).

  12. When I was little (4? 5?) I asked my mom what “f*ck” meant and she told me the ACTUAL, sexual meaning. I then told my sister, who was 2-ish, that she did NOT want to know what “f*ck” meant because it was GROSS.

    My mom and her siblings used to call each other antelopes (pronounced an-al-opes), in lieu of a$$hole, which they couldn’t say.

  13. Since it’s alright for adults to drink beer and wine and what have you, but not kids, we have a social system that clearly delineates certain things as for adults. You can have a discussion with your kids that certain words, phrases, and innuendos that are more “adult” language.

    This reminds me, I need to write a blog post about my second grader saying “bitch” for the first time.

  14. I’m battling my own weird issue with my daughter in that I’m learning even REALLY BENIGN words/phrases can still sound foul and ugly when delivered with her ATTITUDE. So now I’m not only having to do what you’re doing, which is figure out what words are fine for me to say but not my kids, and then I also have to figure out how to show her the different between, “I already did that!” with a normal voice and smile and “I already did that!” with a snotty voice and an eyeroll after I tell her to brush her teeth.

    AHHH…Language development…*sigh*

  15. This cracks me up, because my 24-month old has been pronouncing the worlds “truck” and “snack”, which are arguably his most used words, as the f word for months now. He shows no signs of stopping.

    I’m going to miss this SO MUCH when he learns to speak properly.

  16. I remember arguing with my High School Spanish teacher about the status of crap as a bad word. We debated it hotly. Have I told you that before? I probably have. I was certain that it wasn’t a bad word, because your mom said it ALL THE TIME.

  17. I love it! Kids crack me up…always trying to push the limits. :)

  18. I do not have children but if I did I would be in BIG trouble. Perhaps I need to sensor myself now in case I ever do decide to have kids eh?!

  19. We have our very own little curse word parrot (3 years old) who I honestly thought had tourettes for a while. My husband informed me that it was just the apple (and its potty mouth) falling not far from the tree. His favorites include “douchebag”, “bitch” and “for the love of god” – among many others. Nice to see it isn’t just my kids, though. Parent On!

  20. Thank you for the preview of what life with my son will be like once he is capable of speaking. :) We are worried about his future expulsion from preschool for having a sailor mouth.

  21. My daughter says “crap” and “sucks” but she’s almost eleven. There’s no putting that genie back in the bottle. I tell her not to say them at school or in front of her friend’s parents. *shrugs* But “shut yer hole” makes ME squirm no matter who says it.

  22. The best thing about my son accidentally saying cuss words is that he tells everyone he learned them from his dad.

  23. I really don’t have much a potty mouth and even less so in front of my kids. But I did not so long ago say Oh Crap, which my four year old heard as Oh Crab. Now if he drops something or knows he made a mistake, with a serious look on his face he’ll say “oh crab” I’m really hoping he doesn’t take that to pre-school. For one thing it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what he means to say. For another thing he goes to preschool at a Modern Orthodox synagogue and while we don’t keep Kosher, there are certain foods better left on said.

    BTW I haven’t laughed so hard reading a blog post in a very long time

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