You were probably a little kid, very innocent, with bouncy curls or some other angelic trait. You rode the bus, maybe, and some big kid told you to say a certain four-letter word to your parents when you got home that day. Your mom and dad probably smiled at you sweetly when you got off the bus and you started telling them about what you learned that day. For the sake of the story, we’ll even pretend you pronounced your R’s like W’s and tried very hard to look grown up.
This is precisely when you opened your mouth to share the newest addition to your vocabulary — the foulest, most vile curse word anyone’s ever heard of. You used it in the proper context and everything. You probably even smiled after you said it.
That was the moment when your parents realized their hopes of you becoming a nun or president of the United States in the future were pretty much dashed. They felt a little bit like failures. They wondered where you’d heard the word, if you’d said it to anyone else, and if it was too late to home school you and nip the whole thing in the bud. And in a bizarre twist, they also kind of wanted to laugh. Because even though it’s heart-wrenching and awful to see your baby say a bad word, it’s also mysteriously hilarious.
I know what your parents were feeling because I had a similar experience at my house this week, except I couldn’t blame it on a big kid on the school bus or even a loose-lipped uncle who has a habit of dropping F-bombs. All I had to blame was Frank Barone and myself.
Although we try not to watch movies or TV shows we consider inappropriate for our daughter, sometimes our need for entertainment gets the final vote and we end up watching “Everybody Loves Raymond.” We’re so risky, right? You might think it’s a relatively safe show to watch with a 3-year-old around, like I did, but you’d be wrong.
“Everybody Loves Raymond” is the “big kid on the school bus” that taught my sinless, perfect child to say a big bad word that rhymes with “hammit.”
It was a day like any other when all of a sudden, Molly dropped half of her turkey and Swiss sandwich on the ground. This kind of thing had happened before — she normally drops, throws or forgets to bring something, gets upset for a second, and then moves on about her day. But this time, she silently looked at the pieces of her sandwich on the ground, lying in disarray, and then at me. Without looking away, or missing a beat, she loudly cursed the floor and the remains of her sandwich.
Oh, it hurt when she said it. It was like a knife right through the section of my heart that houses all my love for her. All this emotion made me feel even guiltier about wanting to laugh. I had to admit — her timing and presentation were pretty impeccable, even if her word choice was appalling. I’ll take this experience over those kids on “Maury” that beat up their parents any day.
So, did she really learn it from “Everybody Loves Raymond?” I can’t be sure, but just in case, we’re switching to “Leave it to Beaver.”
(Editor’s Note: Debra Carpenter is a novice mother, wife and college student. She writes a weekly column on the comedy of motherhood and blogs for The Huffington Post. She’s online at MotherInterrupted.com and Twitter@interrupted_ma.)