My baby boy must be growing up. He no longer cusses at me, and I miss it. They don't stay young forever, that's for sure.
Not three months ago he had his favorite swear word and exercised it regularly. Whenever I would sing in the car or talk in funny voices, my two-year-old Danny would screw up his face and cry out, "Trrassh!" Whenever his older brother would wag his finger at him and scold him, the rebuttal was, "Trrassh!". Whenever his sisters would not give up a toy he wanted - "Trrassh!" Or, heaven help us, if he didn't get a proper nap, the T-bombs fell like hail on our heads.
I don't know whether he was really trying to say "trash", as in "that's a load of garbage!", or whether he invented his own hyper-cool cuss word that meant much worse in the language of Terrible Twos. At any rate we all so admired his vehement delivery that we started to mimic it (I did anyway). Oh, how many afternoons driving home from school when Danny began to denounce this or that with his peculiar curse word did we in our turn throw out "Trrassh!" and giggle in unseemly, raucous fashion! Of course, Danny Sammy soon realized that he could not only grab our attention and make us feel his displeasure by cussing in increasing frequency and pitch, but he could also make us laugh. He pronounced it first in ugly earnest, then more shrilly when we chortled, and then not three moments later with a twinkle in his narrowed blue eyes and an endearing grin on his face.
Eventually, though, someone was going to have to be responsible and teach the little whelp that cuss words aren't funny in any shape or semi-coherent form. (And it wasn't going to be the lady who shouts "damn" and "hell" at every toe stub and loud noise.) So one day my nine-year-old boy spoke up and said to me, "Mama, I really think you should stop laughing and copying when he says that. You're teaching him it's okay."
Never mind. It didn't matter what I did or didn't do as a parent. An era of language experimentation and laughter production was coming to a close. The fact that we laughed at his cuss word took the edge off of it for Danny, I guess - decreased its shock value and utility. He began to say it only every other day, then every few, then only for special occasions and now I haven't heard him exclaim, "Trrassh!" in a month or two. When I sing at or tease my kids these days, Danny prefers the more dignified and mature holler of, "Stop it, Mama!"
Like so many things when kids are growing up, his adorable toddler cussing has become nostalgic conversation fodder for future Thanksgiving visits: "Oh, let me tell you! When Danny was two he used to cuss up a storm! He'd scrunch up his little face til his eyes were just slits and cry, 'Trrassh!". We were never really sure whether he was trying to say 'trash' or something much more insulting...."