Things Said in Homes with Small Children: Halloween Edition (1)

Tonight we carved our pumpkins.

Hubby had cleaned the insides of both pumpkins while I ran to the store for the batteries.  When I got home, we took turns helping five year old J with her pumpkin, which has patterns like a regular pumpkin, but instead of carving, involves poking a series of colored plastic pegs in the holes of a pattern, the light source being a fake candle that runs on a nine volt battery.  The end result is something that looks like a giant pumpkin-shaped lite brite showing whatever pattern you chose.

lite-brite-installation2After he took over helping her, I went about carving my own pumpkin in the traditional way… You know, plastic sppons and itty bitty saws… I swear I almost ended up needing stitches several times, and wondered exactly how many people per year have Halloween carving disasters.

As they were finishing up J’s lite brite pumpkin, I was doing the final touches on mine, including cleaning some extra mess out of the center.  When I am “arting” (as with my writing) I am usually intensely focused.  I didn’t care that I was getting pumpkin all over the place.

And since part of hubby and my relationship involves regularly taking the piss out of each other  (we celebrated six years married yesterday, so it must be an effective means of bonding,) hubby offered his wise ass opinion.

Him:  “I cleaned two whole pumpkins out and didn’t make that much of a mess.”

Me: ” What, do you want a fucking cookie?  Go in the kitchen and get you one.”

At which point my five year old daughter pipes up  “I want a fucking cookie!”

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We really weren’t much good scolding her because we were both laughing too much.  And I think Mommy will be getting punished tonight.  But if that’s the worst thing she hears, I think she’ll be alright.  I’m 34 years old, and I don’t much believe in “watching my mouth” around my own kid.  I’ve earned the right to swear.  One day she’ll earn hers.  (“When I grow up, I can say ‘dammit’ ?”)
Yeah, dude.  But not until then.

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Monday Morning Mortification!

Considering my and my husband’s potty-mouth, I take full responsibility if Darling Daughter pops off with the F- bomb…   It’s not ideal, but it’s to be expected.  That is to say, we know where she learned it when I carelessly swear at a video game or something and she immediately parrots me.  Sometimes it’s even a little funny.  (And if you’ve never had to fight a laugh while chastising your kid,  maybe you need to lighten up some…)

But this morning Hubby told me something that mortified us both, and we’re both honestly puzzled as to where DD learned it.  He was changing her diaper this morning and she pointed to her private parts (which is exactly how I refer to them if I have to talk to her about them) and said “pussy.”

WHAT?!

Are you sure that’s what she said???

Yeah, that’s what she said…

That is not a word that gets regular play around this household.  There are some words even I, in all my profane glory, find distasteful.  It’s not generally a word that gets said in front of the baby unless we are talking about cats!   So how…in the hell…did she learn it in connection with genitals?

I’m going over it in my head… who else does she see on a regular basis? (hardly anyone.)  She doesn’t go to day care or pre-school, so she didn’t learn it there.  Even if we watch TV shows with cursing in them, they’re generally not pornographic…  So how did she link that word and that body part?

I didn’t actually hear the aforementioned nasty word myself, so, regardless of what hubby says, for the moment, I am going to assume either he misheard her or she wasn’t saying what he thought she was.  It’s better for my peace of mind.

Any other parents out there have similar experiences with their kids learning strange things from I don’t know where?

Rob Zombie's House of 1000 Corpses

Rob Zombie’s House of 1000 Corpses

Is “That Kind of Language” Really Necessary?

Those of you who are faithful followers, or who know me personally, know that I am something of a potty mouth.  I could give you examples, or mention all the variations of the title question I’ve heard, but that’s not really what the this post is about.

Today, I finished another Dean Koontz novel, The Funhouse.  Despite Koontz’s tendency to include thinly veiled moral/religious connotations in most of his work, and his even more irritating tendency to overdo it on the metaphorical descriptives, I do like his stories.  The Funhouse, one of his older novels and based off another author’s screenplay, is in my opinion, one of his more entertaining pieces.

But what really struck me was a passage from the “new” afterword.  The novelization was originally penned in 1980 (a year before I was born, incidentally,) and the language is gritty and (to me) realistic to a bunch of rebel teens from the ’80’s.  Koontz had this to say in his newest afterword written this year.

If I were to write the novelization […] today, I’d leave out most or all of the explicit language, since I’ve learned it’s always a crutch and that it diminishes rather than enlivens virtually any story.

I immediately took issue with this statement.  To be sure, I am picky about my writing, and critical about the writing in the books I read.  For instance, Patricia Cornwell is an extremely popular crime novelist who has sold more than 100 million copies of her novels.  And I don’t like her.  Sure, her stories are fine, but I find her writing style so irritating that I just don’t buy her books.  I can’t recall specifics because it’s been a while since I read anything of hers, but I seem to remember her as one of those authors that feels like she has to “explain” everything to audience, to the point where it causes the dialogue between characters to sound disingenuous and phony.

Which brings me to my point.  One of the major things that determines a novel’s success is the ability of the audience to relate to and care about the characters.  Nothing detracts from that faster than a disingenuous character or one who does not seem realistic.  While I concede that there are people that don’t use profanity, and writers who may eschew the use of it in their work, I believe it is a writer’s job to be true to their characters.  If their characters are typical 80’s teens, as in The Funhouse, they more than likely swear at least a little.  Even if there is a token “good girl” or “mama’s boy” in there somewhere, more than likely, the rest will curse at least a bit and more than possibly like sailors.

Nothing is more irritating than to hear (read) a character tip-toe around bad words, or worse, substitute lesser exclamations as if they were the most natural thing in the world.  “Oh, crap.”

Anyway, I just think, as successful as Koontz is, on this point, he’s…well, wrong.

What do you think, my fellow writers and book worms?

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