3yo just stepped on Lego: “Who left that bl**dy Lego there!” Embarrassed silence follows as both 7yo & J stare at me. Oops.
I've led a relatively colourful life. I've built two very successful businesses, I ran for Parliament, I helped run a business in the Czech Republic, I've been a nightclub bouncer and I've even managed a troupe of drag queens. As you might imagine I've learnt to use some choice language when necessary.
We have always been careful with our language around the children. It's common sense to do so. It's also inevitable, however, that occasionally the odd naughty word slips out from one of us.
OK, well from me.
J is way too nice for that. indeed, he very rarely swears.
I don't swear a lot. Just a bit. Now and again. Mostly when I step on Lego.
No one warned us about Lego. Those little Danish plastic bricks appear so innocent. They provide our children with hours and hours of pleasure. They also provide us with one of our greatest challenges: ensuring that they are kept quarantined in the children's bedrooms.
It doesn't work of course. A Lego spaceship, dutifully constructed in our son's bedroom, is then flown around the rest of the house, dropping small, irregularly shaped parts of itself as it goes.
Stepping on pieces of Lego is one of the most debilitating things I have ever experienced. The pain of having a Lego Star Wars stormtrooper helmet embedded in your foot is indescribable.
What's even more painful is that this usually happens when the children have gone to bed, so I don't even get to shout at them. Pain and frustration combine to create an outburst of emotion perfectly encapsulated by the B word or the F word.
Of course, occasionally, the children are around when this happens. So it shouldn't have been so surprising when, one night, our three year old daughter stepped on a piece of Lego left on the sitting room carpet.
"Who left that bloody Lego there?" She shouts. Actually, it was a really good impression of me in the same situation.
Our family suffers one of those tumbleweed moments as an embarrassed silence engulfs the sitting room. J turns to me, eye's narrowing, "Where did she hear that?" he asks.
"No idea," I say, while starring forcefully at our seven year old son to make sure he says nothing at this point.
Our response to bad language has always been not to react to it, dealing with it by way of a chat a little later, explaining why it wasn't appropriate to use the word(s) in that situation.
Our little girl isn't keen to go to bed. J is trying to get her to head towards the stairs. Deciding that she's already crossed the rubicon and she may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb, she decides to resist.
"I want to watch the bloody film!"
She doesn't know when to stop digging does she? J's stare is withering.
Our seven year old son can't hold it in any longer. "It's not that bad saying 'bloody,' Daddy uses the F word in the car all the time."
I offer to take both children to bed immediately, leaving with J's stare burning into the back of my head.
I believe in karma.
Which is why, when we reach the children's bedrooms, our son steps on something in his room. "Ow, what's that?" He cries.
"It's one of those bloody things," his sister helpfully shouts from her room.
It's a good job J is still downstairs.
J's not entirely blameless however.
We live out in the country. To get to our house from any direction you have to drive for some miles along narrow country lanes, with high hedges on top of earth banks.
Driving down one of the lanes one day we come across a lady walking towards us. I slow and wait to overtake her as a car is coming in the opposite direction.
"It's that silly cow," chimes our three year old from the back seat.
I'm shocked and look at J, sitting in the passenger seat. He has the good grace to look abashed. "I might have called her that the other day," he said, "she was walking in the middle of the road."
We watch our words around the children now even more now. They come back to haunt you, always at the wrong moment!