What the Duck? by Anne Katherine Cronk

Topic: Swearing

As the parent of a three year-old and two teenagers simultaneously, I find it very difficult to remember exactly what my older two did when they were around the age of my youngest one. I’m quite sure they did many of the same infuriating and exhausting things my youngest does.

But they don’t believe it when they see how quickly she slips from being perfectly happy to fully enraged and then prostrate on the floor over something as simple as the fact that her book isn’t turning “right.”

And though I know for a fact that they did this stuff, it’s probably the same as trying to remember labor:  those kind of memories just seem to naturally fade, maybe because you are so far away from it actually happening, it becomes something that really couldn’t have been so bad.

And I know that my older two now are fully versed in all the swear words out there. And all the acronyms associated with them as well.

But for the life of me I cannot remember them ever using curse words as toddlers.

Maybe it’s because there were two of them then, close in age, and they just went and hid in a corner and cursed their hearts out to each other out of my earshot.

Maybe it’s because my husband worked very long hours when they were young and they were a little less exposed to his extemporaneous cursing.

In defense of my husband, he has always been one to pick up regional accents. When we lived further south he picked up a southern accent. When we moved to Michigan he picked up the nasally accent of those parts.

Now that we’re back to in-between land, where there’s very little accent at all, his accent is back to normal.  But he does have to work with women who curse all day.

And so in his defense, he just picks those things up.

To his chagrin, our three year-old pipes up in her car seat, “What the duck are you doing?”

“Where did she get that from?” he asked. I just looked at him. “Duck” is not a word I ever say.

It was when she used it in context, however, that he became truly proud.

He was outside on a cold day with her and she wanted to go back inside. But he had something to do and told her she had to come. “I’m going in the ducking house,” she said, and walked away. And he stood there astounded. And impressed.

I am far from impressed. And happy at least that we have not heard the duck word in a while. Happier still that she has not worked out the “F” sound. I have spent the summer avoiding any attempt at getting her to touch her top teeth to her bottom lip. She is, after all, starting preschool soon.

And I can just hear her now. “I wanna play. Don’t wanna sit for ducking circle time!”

I cringe just thinking about it.

Maybe they’ll think she’s just talking about some modified version of “Duck, Duck, Goose.”

Maybe we’ll just skip the week they cover the letter “F.”

6 Responses to “What the Duck? by Anne Katherine Cronk”
  1. talleygilly says:

    This line is so true about raising little ones – “how quickly she slips from being perfectly happy to fully enraged and then prostrate on the floor over something as simple as the fact that her book isn’t turning “right.” And I love the image of your teenagers swearing to themselves in the corners, so funny. And thanks to this hilarious post, I will never think of Duck, Duck,Goose in the same way again.

  2. mykindacool says:

    Love it! Luckily my husband has been able to restrain himself so far from using the duck word in front of our daughter. Question is: How long can he do it, especially as her 2 1/2 year old inclinations just naturally inspire the usage of some form of “duck.”

  3. Thanks for reading! Yes, my husband tries, but honestly sometimes does not even realize he’s done it! And they do inspire many, many swear words, don’t they…and try our patience endlessly! It’s a good thing they’re so lovable 🙂

  4. Haha, I LOVE this — “Maybe we’ll just skip the week they cover the letter ‘F’.”

    I remember being in the car with my father-in-law (who has a tendency towards road rage) and he let an F-bomb drop. My daughter was in the backseat and he tried to make a quick recovery with, “Truck! Truck! Abby did you see that truck?!”

    My favorite toddler cursing story though is from a little girl I was babysitting years ago. She was two years old. I was sitting with her and her brother (10), building with her and playing Xbox with her brother. She stopped, looked at her brother and said, “Kevin, you help me f***er dammit?” I looked at her brother and both of us hid our faces cause we could barely keep ourselves from laughing. I have NO idea where she got it from and neither her parents or her brother would own up 😛

    • Dayle, that is hilarious! It is so funny how toddlers absorb absolutely everything, especially things you don’t want them to. My husband seriously did not think he was the source of this – my teenagers had to point it out (and vouch for the fact that I never say “duck”! ) before he would believe it. So I’m not surprised the parents or brother did not think they were the source.
      And that’s funny too — truck truck truck! Great recovery! 🙂 Thanks so much for reading!

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