How wonderful it is, as parents, to have the privilege to witness our small people development their love for language and to eventually communicate with us their needs, wants, love and silly jokes.
From in the womb we have talked to them, declared who was "mama" and who was "dada" while rubbing our Buddha bellies. Then they arrive, and that first 12 months we witness the first word and the second word. Sometimes we seen sign language for "more" or "please."
And, finally, we are communicating.
Then a very human experience happens. The child will want to communicate something more. The child will want to communicate with robustness. The child will cuss.
My daughter is now 4 years old, and anything butt-related is considered a giggle-fest cuss word. Butt, toots, farts, butt toots, fart butt, poop butt, butt poop — I mean really, the vernacular of my preschooler is impressive...
“Smell my butt!” she’ll say to grandma. “Look at my butt!” she'll say to her father as she holds a plastic bat towards her bottom, indicating something is now leaving it. “Underwear farts!” she’ll say as I kiss her on her forehead wishing her sweet dreams. “Poop butt farts!” she’ll say at the dinner table when we inquire about her long, tiring day.
My husband and I have the maturity level of Bart Simpson, so our daughter’s stand-up routines generally leave us in stitches. Our attempt to correct her is generally lost when we’re giggle-disciplining, “Don’t say that!”
Our son doesn’t do a lot of talking at 20-months old. It’s clear he understands what we are saying, though. He picks up when we ask, gives treats to the dogs when we tell him to, brushes his teeth and washes hands on request, etc. Quite frankly, his big sis does A LOT of the talking for him.
So this is our current combination — one child who reveals in her mother's tongue and the other, who is a sponge-like absorbing mute.
Last week we decided to be moral pillars of modern language in our home and attempted to wipe out the butt cussing. We thought if we let her know this is it — that she can say all her cuss words now, get them out of her system and then not say them again — it may help curb her desire to use the words fart, poop, toot and butt with everything.
Yes, it was an incredibly creative and hilarious five minutes. So, naturally, out of all the language learning moments in our 20-month old son's life, this is one he finally decides to pick up on — butt and all.
Aw, the continuum of language development and the humbling reality of parenthood...high-five universe. High-five.
Kristine Rohwer is a marketing professional who resides in Omaha, Nebraska with her husband and three children. Founder of Elkhorn Family, you can follow her page on Facebook.