Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Baby Swears

She of the foul mouth . . .
There are creative ways of making one's anger and frustration known.
Even when one is little . . .
My friend's two eldest children were having 'one of those days'. When arguments erupted at regular intervals. And no one was happy.
Periodically, one of them would go to their mother and say, “Sister said the 'S' word!”
Now their mother was an adult.
I probably don't need to point that out.
She knew what the 'S' word was. But had no idea how her children had learned it.
Appropriate punishment was carried out.
A few minutes later, the other child was at her side. “Brother said the 'S' word!”
This went on for some time.
Finally, totally exasperated, their mother pulled both of them aside and asked them where they had learned the 'S' word.
“Well you and Dad say it!”
Now my friend lived in a non-cursing home. Expletives were kept strictly within certain bounds. She knew she had never, in her entire life, said the 'S' word.
She shook her head. “When did I say it?”
“Mom, you say it all of the time!”
“Really?”
“All the time!”
Finally, she realized that there was one question she had not asked.
“Kids, what is the 'S' word?”
Together they chorused, “Stupid!”
Ah. Okay. Not a desirable word, but not quite what she was thinking, either . . .

We, too had our forbidden family curse words.
Mom and Dad had a problem with children abusing each other verbally.
Stupid was a no-no.
But we were raised on a ranch.
With hired men.
Whose language was, how shall I say it? . . . spiced with colourful metaphors. And it was inevitable that we should pick some of them up.
I remember the first time we heard our little sister curse. It shocked my younger brother and I to our toes.
That's a lot of shock.
We stared at our tiny sister in disbelief. Had we heard what we had just heard?
Mom was gonna have something to say about this!
We ran to tell her. Let's face it, getting each other into trouble was the thing we liked doing the most.
Because.
“Mom! Mom! Anita said something bad!”
Mom stopped what she was doing and followed us to where the guilty party stood.
Feet planted.
Chin out.
Bristling with anger and defiance.
Mom knelt next to her.
“Anita, what did you say?”
“Nuffing.”
“Anita, Diane and Blair told me you said a bad word. What was it?”
“Didn't say anyffing!”
“Anita!”
Finally she sighed. "Stupid Poop,” she said.
Her two-year-old ears had heard what the hired men had spouted and processed it to this?
There was hope for the world after all.

6 comments:

  1. I swear. A lot. Neither of my boys do, though. I wonder if that's considered reverse psychology.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Aww ... innocent ears hear innocently ... well, sometimes. It's shocking these days to hear little ones REALLY cursing, but it's no wonder. Nothing seems out of bounds for many parents, and we learn what we see and hear. But then I'm from the era where "darn" was pushing it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My sweet Nana taught me, indirectly, about using such language. She used one word, once in her whole life, and it shocked the family so much that Papa learned his lesson and never pushed her to that point of upset ever again.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hilarious! pays to pay attention!

    ReplyDelete

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