It’s 80 degrees in Lubbock. Two weeks ago it was snowing and, as I just found out, a bunch of students constructed a large, snow penis–balls and all–only to have their work of art bulldozed by censoring University officials.
But that’s not what I wanted to write about. I wanted to write about teaching my child the F-word.
You see, when I walked Nico down to the park today in the 80 degree weather, she brought with her–and read the whole way–a copy of her new favorite book Go The Fuck To Sleep. It’s a silly rhyming couplet sort of tale told from the point of view of a father who, as you can imagine, is getting tired of waiting for his child to fall asleep. Marta’s brother and sister-in-law gave it to us as a present two Christmases ago. It’s funny, in a kind of Shouts and Murmur’s way.
It also happens to have really quite beautiful illustrations, and that seems to be the reason Nico’s taken to carrying it around and “reading” it in the car and in her stroller. We’ll pass people walking their dogs and usually they smile when they see a toddler in her stroller reading, but if they happen to get a glimpse of the title, I can see their faces change.
Then today at the playground she was reading the book near the sandbox and I noticed a couple of older kids (i.e. those that can actually read) looking over. And then their parents looked over too. No one said anything but it was clear the parents disapproved.
What kind of parent, after all, lets her child read a book with the F-word in it?
Probably a parent like me who was brought up in a household where swearing was not taboo. In our house the rule was always that we could swear, but we couldn’t swear at someone. So I could say fuck, but I couldn’t tell my mom to go fuck a pig.
Granted this book breaks that rule, given that it’s kinda swearing at all obstinate non-sleeping children, but you get my overall point. Swearing doesn’t have to be bad. And in some ways those armies of non-swearing parents are imposing on the minority of us who feel the way I do. That is, that “damn” is sometimes a damn good word. And “fuck” can have a beautiful sort of resonance is said right, in the right context, etc.
I’ll have to admit that this is all based on the fact that up until this point Nico’s yet to actually use a swear word. Right now she likes words like yellow, adrilla, eat, and animales. So I might feel differently if she all of the sudden starts screaming “Shit!” every time she drops a grape or loses a babydoll. But for now, I’m sticking to my guns.
Go the Fuck to Sleep; I support that message in more ways than one.
On a different note, but because I know you all like Nico photos, here she is in one of her favorite spots: