I was quietly sitting at my desk when my phone rang. (ok, I was really quietly listening to salsa music.) It was my mom. She called to tell me that Enzo had forced her out of CVS. Qué pasó??! I asked. He started “diciendo malas palabras.” (Cursing.)
My mom said that he went from singing alabanzas (church songs) to repeating a certain curse word* over and over again. Living in an ethnically diverse neighborhood, of course, there were other Spanish speakers around, who had been delighted that Enzito knew how to sing the Lord’s praises.
Well, those smiles quickly turned upside down when they heard my sweet boy cursing. (Probably some raised eyebrows as well…) So my mom left her purchases and ran out of the store, and called me to let me know, partly upset and partly ashamed.
How does this happen?
Well, I’m not going to lie. I’m guilty. My son probably (ok like 99% sure) heard me say it. The thing is, I say the rated PG version of the word in question… but either Enzo figured it out or since he is a toddler, he is repeating what I say (the PG version), except you can clearly tell it’s the curse word.
Perhaps I should at least revel in the fact that he knows how to say it in context. For example, if he hits himself on the corner table he will say it, or if he can’t figure out what he is trying to do—it is even accompanied with a loud sigh sometimes. (Looking at the glass half full here!)
So what’s a mama to do? First, I ignored it. I didn’t want to pay much mind because then he would know we don’t want him to say it, which, if he is like most children, will just make him want to say it more.
But it is getting to the point where I feel something needs to be said.
The other day he started repeated it over and over again, to the tune of the Barney song. (No, I swear I am not making this stuff up.) So I tried diverting his attention, “Esa no es la canción, vamos a cantarla de verdad.” (“That’s not the song, let’s sing the real one.”)
I proceeded to sing the Barney song, and tried to get him to stop thinking (obsessing) over the curse word.
Clearly, I have to watch my mouth. The first time it happened, I couldn’t believe it and it was a bit funny. But when the cursing makes Abuela run out of the store, clearly there’s a problem!
I hope this is just a phase. I don’t want him turning into a “malcriado.” This even isn’t one of those things that I can blame my husband for, because he doesn’t speak to Enzo in Spanish. if he’s a potty mouth, it will all be mi culpa.
Anyone else out there suffering from potty mouth kids? I’m all ears for advice… anything that doesn’t involve washing his mouth with soap. Gracias.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, it starts with a CH and ends with an A… with a CH in between.
Diana Limongi-Gabriele works hard juggling a full-time job, motherhood, family, grad school and her blog, LadydeeLG where she writes about issues she is passionate about including teaching her son Spanish, motherhood, parenting, Latino issues, good quality food and women’s issues. Diana is a regular contributor for Mamiverse. She has a MA in Migration Studies, and is pursuing an MPA in Nonprofit Management. Her most important job however, is being mommy to Enzo, a French/Hispanic/American (one day trilingual) 2 year old boy. You can connect with her via Twitter, @dianalimongi or on Facebook.