Dylan is getting closer and closer to forming his first words and, while I’m really excited that he’s getting so close to the milestone that will, I imagine, ultimately see us wishing he would cease asking existential questions and be quiet for just five minutes, I’m equally worried that the odd bit of Anglo Saxon will creep into his lingo worryingly early.
I know this is largely unfounded, but all parents worry about this kind of thing. Kate and I are both pretty good at the whole self-censorship thing and have toned down our potty-mouthed tendencies a lot since the little man arrived, but, now and then, the odd expletive does find its way into our dialogue. Take earlier today, for example. Having tired himself out shrieking at Raa Raa the Noisy Lion, Dylan was having a nap in his room and, although he was nice and warm, the room wasn’t. We also have a baby monitor that beeps in, it has to be said, a really quite affronting fashion if the temperature drops below a certain level.
So there we were, having a rare bit of sane time when the monitor dutifully informed us that the room had dropped to 14 degrees. To my shame, my instant response was a really rather irate: “Shut the fuck up!” Two minutes later, and having warmed up a degree and dropped back again in the interim, it beeped at us again. “Oh, for fuck’s sake!” sighed Kate. In our defence, we’ve had a frustrating weekend in which various utilities in our house have been doing their best to push us over the edge and Dylan was asleep and heard none of this, but I’m not exactly proud of mouthing of like that either.
The answer that we’ve come up with is a simple one. We’ve introduced a swear box and a vague grading system. We’ve decided that we’ll pay the money into Dylan’s bank account as a guilty form of compensation for any foul-mouthed tendencies he may pick up. The mighty C bomb costs a pound, as does its almost-as-offensive chum the F word. At the lower end of the scale, things like arse and bugger cost 20p. That sounds wrong on so many levels. Swearing like troopers in the evening and at work, however, is okay.
I’ve just checked his swear box – it’s a Tottenham Hotspur money box that I got in the secret Santa at work – and, after a month or so of being strict with ourselves and it, I’m pleased to report that Dylan only has four quid in it. Maybe the fact that Spurs are doing so well this season is the reason the box is relatively empty…