Using the F-Word When Your Mom Is a Lawyer

Back To School

The F-Bomber and His Killer Smile.

Today I am inspired to share my preschooler’s pre-juvenile foray into the murky waters of the first curse word utterances. And, in keeping with his character, he went straight for the F bomb. My boy said the F-Word.

I arrived at our lovely Christian daycare one day to discover an “incident report” waiting for me at the front desk. The administrator looked at me and smiled. “Sign here, please.”

It read:

“Today, C used the word F**K. He was told by the teacher that it was a bad word and not to use it again. He used it a second time, and we discussed not using bad language. He spent the afternoon in the principal’s office.”

I thought an expletive.

I wasn’t ready for this day. I was ready for the “peeing off the play equipment” report, and the “punched a girl who took his shoe” report. Because sometimes, you just gotta pee, and sometimes, you know, you just gotta defend yourself, man. I get it. But I was not ready for this yet.

The many signatures on the form chronicled all who had already passed judgment. How could I feel such shame even though I’ve never uttered the word in front of my kids? I looked up briefly and considered having the “where-evah did he hear that word?” conversation with the smiling form pusher. Nope, not happening.

I found Captain F-Word hanging his head and I did what every good parent does when faced with child-induced perplexity: I stared.

I now recognize this as parenting brilliance. My father utilized this tool, and we shuddered. We truly believed that silence meant he was about to commit murder, possibly with bare hands, likely causing blood spatter. We lived in fear of the silence. Silence was a bad, bad sign. I wonder now if Dad’s stone cold stare was calculated, or just witless luck.

As we walked to the car my daughter prattled on about the new Zhu-Zhu pet with the pink mohawk, and I walked along with my shades on, nodding but not speaking, somewhat like the presidential secret service detail. The F-Bomber walked two steps behind us with his coat dragging on the ground, bumping his lunch box against his knee. I looked back at him, but didn’t say a word. He grabbed the coat, walked straighter, held his lunch box at his side like a good little soldier, and scurried into the car, buckling himself in without the need to be reminded. Two points for non-hysterical mom power!

After a few minutes of silence passed, I started the interrogation. I put on my super-mean-but-calm-and-totally-in-control-mom voice.

So, what happened?
You know. I said a bad word. The “F” word.
Bad choice. (I can’t believe my own ears … yep, I’m going there …) So what is the “F” word?
I dunno. It’s just a bad word.
But what does it MEAN?
Just, you know, like, you’re dumb and stuff.


Ah, sweet sweet relief. He doesn’t know. Breathe in, breathe out. Still, I remain in cross examination mode. Objection! Nonresponsive. More? Really? More? Involuntary lawyer-mom response:

I asked you, what is the “F” word?
I dunno. It starts with an “F.”
Don’t be smart. What was the word you said?
I just made it up.
You made it up and it happened to be the “F” word (not a question).
Then the teacher said not to say it again.
But you did (also not a question).
Yes. Just, just by mistake.
You said it once by mistake, and then you just decided to say it again – by mistake?
No. Well, yes. (silence) I’m sorry.

Now I think I’m on a roll. I’m really asking for it …

So, tell me, what is the “F” word?
I can’t say it. I’ll get in trouble.
Well, how will I know what you said if you won’t tell me?
Will I get in trouble?
Not just for telling me. But yeah, you’re in trouble for already using it, TWICE, and you’ll be in trouble again if I ever hear you using it.
Okay. What will my punishment be?
I’m thinking about it.
I don’t want to tell you.
Well, I already know it.
Then why do I have to say it?
I just want to see if you know it.
Oh, yeah. I know it.
Then say it.
You told me not to say it.
Don’t say it, just tell it to me. (this is how lawyers get their bad reputations …)
Will I get in trouble?
We’ve been over this.
But I’m not allowed to say it.
Just tell me the word.
No. You’ll be mad.
Just say it. (now I’m just being ridiculous)
I’m just going to keep asking you.


Fuh – What? Oh, no. No he didn’t.  Hold it in, hold it in, keep that snot in your nose, look away, DO NOT SMILE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Mad mom face, mad mom face …

Long silence, followed by whimpering and apologizing. Daughter is surely taking notes. More channeling Dad. Crickets.

Before I know what I’m doing, I say the unthinkable.

Just so you know, that’s not the “F” word.
Oh. Whuh, what? It isn’t?
No, but it’s close enough. And if I hear you using it, or any other word that SOUNDS like it, you’re in big trouble.
Okay, mom. I’m sorry. Mom, uh …. well, what is the “F” word?
I’m not allowed to say it.
Oh. Then how will I know it if you don’t tell me?
You won’t. That’s the point. It’s close enough.
Okay. But it’s not Fark?
If you say that, it’s close enough, and you’re in trouble.
Okay. Okay. So, don’t say “Fark?” Is that the word? “Fark?” That’s the word I can’t say? I’m not supposed to say “Fark?”


You’re in trouble.
I know.

24 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Inadvertent Exposure «
  2. Matt
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 22:18:17

    I am never reading your blog again.

    …at least not while drinking water.

    I think you might owe me a new keyboard! 🙂


  3. knowntohaveanaughtymind
    May 27, 2011 @ 18:02:23

    Enjoyed every second of the interrogation, knowing it would result in Preschooler knowing and indeed accepting he was in trouble.


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  7. Tracey - JustAnotherMommyBlog
    Mar 10, 2011 @ 10:39:59

    So glad you linked this! Excellent post.


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  10. Amy
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 18:32:25

    HA HA HA! I loved this. I think my kids have been through an interrogation of similar sorts!


  11. Stephanie Reimer
    Dec 02, 2010 @ 08:17:58

    Okay, so I finally had the time to get on your blog. I had gotten the link from Lori S. Your writing is amazing! I can tell I could spend hours reading! I plan to send the link to our daughter, whose husband is 2nd Lieutenent in the Army, currently training in Kentucky. So good to get back in touch with you. I think of you often. Take care and God bless you.


  12. arlene
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 19:44:19

    i sooo love this! i also have a preschooler and Oh boy I almost faint when i heard him say the “f” word – faccuum (he meant our vacuum cleaner!) kids – they can drive you crazy, i swear to God they can… 🙂


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  15. wittylittlesecret
    Oct 04, 2010 @ 18:59:32

    I know, Rika Mama. I was also momentarily horrified when Preschooler announced he knew both the “C” word and the “S” word (crap and shutup). Whew.


  16. marika
    Oct 03, 2010 @ 21:03:00

    well my kids used to think it was fart…oh for the simpler times


  17. Lindsey
    Sep 29, 2010 @ 20:26:43

    This is hilarious….I had no idea of this incident.


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  19. wittylittlesecret
    Sep 22, 2010 @ 19:14:48

    Well, Mizz K, that is approximately the time of the aforementioned Incident Report. And in this case, I think we can safely say that it’s a gift that just keeps on giving.


  20. Kat
    Sep 22, 2010 @ 17:55:14

    I wish I’d known this in August. In the truck, on the way to the park and ride for the fair, C and O started talking about “The F Word.” Maddie just looked at me out of the corner of her eye. I said something to change the subject, and it miraculously worked.

    The next day, Maddie asked me, “What’s the F word? I heard C and O talking about this word and other kids at school talk about it and I want to know what it is.”

    Lori. I told her the word. I wish I’d known the word was “fark.”


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