I think it is great that young children have no internal filter. This makes my boy extremely expressive. His face beams enormous smiles, and his eyes sparkle more than any adult’s can. When he runs around and decides to strike a pose, wide legged and arms reaching to the sky, he is more commanding than Elvis. I imagine this is what actors try to tap into when they bare their souls on stage or on screen.
Sometimes, though, I wish there was a bit more of a filter. We were sitting down watching an episode of Mythbusters last night. It was about their third attempt to replicate the JATO car myth. My son loved it, even though he is still very young. It had cars and rockets, everything he needs to dash about “oohing”, “aahing”, and “wowing.” It’s hopefully a great way to get him interested in STEM.
The show culminated with the Mythbusters launching their rocket-powered car off of a ramp in an attempt to get it to soar through the sky. Instead, the car disintegrates into a spectacular cloud of dust, fire, and debris. And that’s when it happened.
“Oh, $#@^!” Say what? What did my kid just say?
“$#@^!, $#@^!, $#@^!” My toddler keeps repeating as the car tumbles into yet another skyward roll.
“You mean, oh boy.” My wife tries to gently correct him, hoping that a lack of overreaction will ensure that he isn’t rewarded with our attention for having uttered such profanity.
“$#@^!” bubbles out as the car comes to its final rest.
I look uneasily towards my wife. She looks back. Her face is a mix of uncertainty and barely contained laughter.
The swearing stops. It is as if it never happened. My boy looks on as the Mythbusters go about examining the wreckage. The toddler is fascinated by the outcome.
Then the replay. “$#@^!”
Gah! We spend a few more minutes coaching him into more suitable alternatives.
I’m not quite certain where he picked it up, because we don’t exactly run around the house lacing our conversations with profanity. He may have heard it once, and then it stuck. What is quite amazing is that he knows exactly in which circumstances it would be used.
I just wish he had picked something a little less vulgar with which to express his surprise and anxiety.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go buy some more soap bars. There’s a filthy mouth that may need some cleaning.