Invasion of the swearing toddler

A swear box

I don’t mind admitting that I’ve been a little stressed of late. The job search, the subsequent uncertainty about moving house now I may be temporarily ‘sans vocation’ and an assortment of other first world problems have left me feeling rather up against it all.

As a result, I *may* have become a little more liberal in my attitude towards swearing. It’s *possible* that the odd rude word may have escaped my mouth in the presence of my not-quite-two-year-old son. Naughty Daddy!

Beforehand, I got away with it. Even a couple of weeks ago, I probably could have uttered a torrent of expletives in front of Xander and been spared the embarrassment of having him repeat a single word of it. Not now!

I was getting him ready for bed a few days ago when he decided he was going to do a runner as soon as I took his old nappy off. I simply let out a heavy sigh, weary after a long day at work and not ready for another battle of wills. “… fuck’s sake” he said with the same intonation I do. I was shocked and, before I’d had a chance to react appropriately, he said it again just as Dylan wandered in. Shiiiiiiiiiiit.

Fortunately, Dylan misheard him and proudly yelled what he thought his little brother had said. “Fox, snake! Fox, snake!” Phew. “That’s right, Xander!” I said, seizing the opportunity to think on my feet. “Fox and snake are two of the animals in The Gruffalo. What are the others, eh?”

I think I got away with it – although I must have had a mortified expression on my face, as Dylan still gets an “I’m being naughty and I know it” look on his when he sporadically shouts out the names of these two woodland creatures.

Then yesterday, our pint-sized potty mouth struck again. It was during the evening meal this time. As usual, he had scoffed down his food and was trying to persuade me to share mine with him. I stood firm and he seemed to accept it… only he then decided that, as he was finished, he would stack his bowl and cutlery on my plate. Which still had food on it.

As his bowl splatted down into my curry, I let out a frustrated “Ohhhhhh” To which he added “bugger!” It was like having a junior version of The Fast Show’s Unlucky Alf at the table. And, yes, of course I made the mistake of laughing.

Coming up for a year ago, I recall inadvertently teaching Dylan his first expletive. It was pancake day and, being fundamentally useless in the kitchen, I had left a tea towel a little too close to the hobs.

I dealt with the minor fire calmly and without anyone else actually realising. Turning around to get back to the job in hand though, I knocked over the jug with the pancake mix in it. There was only enough left for one so he ended up joyfully wolfing it down while shouting “borrocks!”

Kate will be making the pancakes this year.


  1. Eliza_Do_Lots

    On our way to school – late, in the rain – last week I got the buggy stuck bumping it up the kerb and muttered a bad word; Roman didn’t quite hear – “What did you say, Mummy?”
    “Mummy said a naughty word that she shouldn’t have said, sorry”
    “What naughty word was it?”
    “It doesn’t matter what the word was – I shouldn’t have said it and I’m glad you didn’t hear me.” – and I thought I’d handled it well until;

    “Was it ‘fuck’ or ‘bugger’ Mummy? You shouldn’t say fuck OR bugger, really. Naughty.”


    1. Post

      Ha! Not just me then. That’s nice to know. We should all listen to that portrayal of Davina McCall on Bo Selecta “please do not say fuck or bugger!” 😉

  2. WallyMummy

    teehee 😉 quick thinking there! I really need to reign my language in… somehow i’ve also got away with it to date, but it won’t be long before she picks up on something… she’s already like an echo! 😉 *sniggers*

    1. Post

      Yes, reign it in as soon as you can – I fell into the trap of thinking they wouldn’t repeat obscenities. Think they just lulled me into a false sense of security by ignoring everything else I say!

  3. Jonathan

    I enjoyed reading this. Even though our son is only 9 months old, I’ve been trying to make sure that I don’t swear anywhere near him.

    1. Post

      Ah, I remember the days of linguistic vigilance when my older son was that age! Turns out I could have got away with it for a little longer. Shit!

  4. Tom @Ideas4Dads

    Lol very good. So far I have managed to escape my potty mouth rubbing off on my girls. But its only a matter of time. Im at my worst when im driving! Like your Gruffalo Recovery and will be banking that one 😉

    1. Post

      Yes, please take it and run with it – let me know if you think of any other ‘disguises’ for swearing… I fear I’m going to need them!

  5. Sarah Miles

    I don’t tend to swear *badly* around the kids but I am often telling my husband off! What I do say, which is probably worse, is it the word crap a lot. It is one of my favourite words to say and just sums up many things perfectly but one of these days my kids are going to say it and I won’t have a leg to stand on.

    I also say bugger a lot and never think it’s that bad a swearword, but I suppose it is! Oh bugger, that’s a bit crap really!

    1. Post

      Well you’re still doing a lot better than me and that’s with one more child occasionally testing your patience too, so I think you’re doing pretty fucking well. Oops!

  6. Younglee

    ‘Fox snake’ brilliant!
    Reminds me of a time on the tube, the automated voice said ,
    ‘Please mind the doors’
    The little girl opposite turns to her mum and asks,
    ‘Who’s Barney Doors?’

    1. Post

      Ha! I love the way kids ‘translate’ things they’ve half-heard. Their interpretation of life must be so much more interesting than ours!

  7. Heather

    My lad went through a phase of saying “oh cheese crust!” because he thought that’s what I said…

    The other one was “oh wallop!” (As opposed to Borrocks!)

  8. Pingback: One of those days - Family life - Diary of the Dad

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