Gabi started saying a bad word several months ago. I had no idea where she had picked it up, since no one in our house swears, and she really hasn't been exposed to people with dirty mouths. Gilberto used to swear in Portuguese around her when she was younger, but that was quickly put to a stop when she repeated something pretty bad, though luckily she didn't understand what it meant. It also put a stop to gossiping in front of her- we don't need any classic kid moments where Gabi spills the beans about something!
Gabi couldn't, or wouldn't, tell me where she had heard it. My mind turned to my sister, as she likes to infuse conversation with a swear word or two, but she's good at keeping it in check in front of Gabi. I thought she might have heard it from one of the neighbor kids as they were skateboarding outside our window, but I've never heard them swear before. Nothing concrete could be found to place blame on any particular person. It was a big mystery, but Gabi found out very quickly that it was NOT okay to say that word.
Mom: Gabriella! That is a very bad word, and we don't say it in our house. It's rude.
Gabi: Okay, Mommy, I won't say Dammit anymore.
Gabi, a few hours later: Mommy, I don't say that bad word Dammit.
And Gabi would repeat that she doesn't say that bad word Dammit often, especially when we were out shopping or in front of company.
The mystery of who was at fault for exposing an innocent child to the language of sailors was finally solved when I spilled something on the couch, and let out a great big DAMMIT for all the world to hear. I froze, and my mom and Gilberto looked at me in shock. And yes, as is my luck, Gabi was right there, too. I had to apologize to her, saying Mommy made a mistake and used a bad word. Luckily, realizations that you are not the stellar parent you thought you were lead to laughter in our house. They laughed at me, and I laughed with them. Because I had been on a war path to find the culprit, and, well, it was me all along.
Gabi's use of the bad word continued for months, until one day she asked me what that bad word was that she wasn't allowed to say. Yes! Thank you Lord for answering my prayers! No more embarrassing incidents of my child swearing in public to worry about! I told her I couldn't remember, and she went back to doing whatever it was she was doing. Which I think was cutting up a book. And I was so relieved that we didn't have to worry about that bad word Dammit again I totally let her continue with her scissor/paper fun.
Now that we finally have that one word out of the picture, another one has surfaced. If I thought Gabi saying Dammit was bad before, I'm thinking it's actually a pretty mild swear word now.
Gabi: What is that word you can't say? Fuff?
Mom: What are you talking about? Fuff? What is that?
Gabi: You know! It's a bad word you can't say. with Me.
Mom: Fuff me?
Gabi: Yes! But maybe Fluff Me? Fush Me?
I looked over at Gilberto, who had just been talking to his cousin, and asked him if he had said the F word while talking to him. His eyes got really wide, and he responded with a very loud and adamant NO! They had been speaking in Portuguese, and it really was a stretch that Gabi would translate something said in Portuguese to English without having even heard the English word before.
I told Gabi that there was no such bad word, and she could say Fuff as much as she wanted to. She happily hopped off, chanting her new favorite word. But now we're left with another mystery, and thankfully I am NOT the culprit this time.
I'm just so grateful that she didn't hear it correctly! Can you imagine the scandal? Parents were giving me mean looks when Gabi was only saying the D word! At least now, if Gabi says Fuff Me out in public, people will just think she wants be to buy her some Marshmallow Fluff.