The line I won’t cross is this: I don’t swear in front of my mum and dad, and I don’t swear in front of my kids. Apart from when I do the odd monumentally stupid thing like dropping my car keys down a drain, obviously.
Now, I’m not an idiot. I know that my daughter encounters some fruity bon mots when out in the big wide world - say, for example, on the Special School bus packed with older kids with various levels of emotional and learning difficulties. But I take pride in the fact that she doesn't repeat them.
Or so I thought.
Child Two (nicknamed Cato, for his interest in suddenly jumping on people in the manner of Peter Sellers’ trained surprise assassin in the Pink Panther films) was having a particularly boisterous day. And after one too many instances of him leaping on her and wrestling while she was trying to read, my daughter’s patience snapped.
Sitting over the other side of the room, out of view, I heard her utter the following phrase, perfectly enunciated, perfectly stressed, and, grudgingly, I have to admit it, perfectly sworn:
“Oh for F**K’S sake!”
I nearly fell off my chair. Spotting my husband’s shoulders go up and down as he tried not to laugh at the utterly bizarre sound of our sweet daughter somehow managing to swear brilliantly in context, I fled the room, in order to compose myself, covering my parental duties by saying, as I went: “You are in so much trouble, young lady. I’m so angry I can’t talk to you about it until I’ve calmed down.”
By the time I’d swallowed my giggles and returned, my uncharacteristically potty-mouthed daughter was in floods of tears. Before I could utter a word, she turned to me, looking stricken. “I swore Mummy,” she sobbed. Then confusion and panic set in. “Did I swear? I didn’t swear, did I? I did. I did swear.”
I then watched, in a kind of awestuck amazement, as my contrite child, so mortified by her own use of a really bad word, proceeded to tell me she should not be allowed to go to Guides that night, and then concluded her guilt-ridden, self-inflicted punishment by sending herself to bed.
Video is Super Furry Animals - The International Language Of Screaming