Monday, September 17, 2007


No, the title is not indicative of my mood, but rather a polite way of expressing what MK has been saying recently.

As recently as March, MK was very upset by swearing. Hearing people swear, and especially children (even on TV) would bring him to tears. I think it might partially have been a cognitive dissonance thing -- if it's against the rules, then why on earth are they doing it?

At the same time, he was fascinated with it, especially as he was hearing more and more of it in the school yard. I myself don't swear often, but not often is not the same thing as never. And I have always explained that swearing is an easy (or even lazy) way to add impact to language and express familiarity.

In his typical way, MK began experimenting by editing videos. He learned from his YouTube Poop colleagues that much fun can be had by taking a perfectly innocent phrase, such as "That's a nice red dress," and adding censor beeps, so it comes out, "That's a nice *beep* dress." MK produced dozens of such videos. There are grammatical and semantic issues in this editing trick, so sometimes his videos sounded natural and funny, and sometimes they made no sense. I gave him feedback and explained some of the theoretical underpinning of four letter words, and he kept experimenting. Within about three months most of the beeped videos made sense.

As he was doing this, MK also began experimenting with actually saying some of these naughty words. I had given him permission to say them around me, as long as no one else was present to be offended. Having never in his life blurted out so much as a single syllable, there is not much risk of him doing so with off-limits vocabulary. There are few people who spend more time weighing their words than my son.

At first he only said them in the car. We would be talking, he would get half-way through a sentence and then stop and ask me to roll up the windows. After a few furtive glances around to make sure there were no lip-readers in nearby cars (or perhaps perched on rooftops or overpasses with binoculars), he would whisper the expletive, ask me if it was grammatically correct, and then sigh like a golfer who has just completed a difficult putt.

By now he's relaxed a lot. He'll come down and watch Jon Stewart with me, just for the hilarity inherent in potty-mouthed newscasters. He has even developed certain amount of panache in his delivery. Yesterday, he asked me what "contemptible corpuscle" meant. I explained a length, covering etiology and implied meaning. He listened to the whole explanation and then said, "So it's basically a stupid f****er."

I'm always amazed by what I end up considering as progress.


Steve D said...

This post is %&#@ing great! Seriously, your finishing line so aptly captures life as the parent of a special needs child. I love it.

mcewen said...

Ooo you are advanced! We're just experimenting with Stop Go Animation but we're more 'stop' than 'go.'
Just thought I'd let you know that I tagged you today.

Casdok said...


Niksmom said...

Hilarious! Yes, be careful what you wish for!