The baby bag was packed, I had my ‘bag for life’ for the shopping, both boys were dressed and I had even managed to brush their teeth and mine. All was good with the world. I was finally succeeding as a parent!
“Noah,” I shouted through to where my four year old sat in front of the tv, blinkered and focused on the black square in front of him in an almost Orwellian way. “Can you please get your jacket on, we’re going in two minutes!”
No reply. No movement. No reaction. “Noah! Get-Your-Jacket-On!” I bark, still keeping myself in check, doing my best not to spoil the mood.
“Oh, Fucking Hell!” came the reply.
“Pardon?” I say with some incredulity. “What did you just say to me, young man?” And I have no idea why I have started calling my son ‘young man’. I sound like a 1950’s school teacher.
Anyhoo, long story short - that evening my wife and I have a discussion about Noah’s swearing. Well, I say ‘discussion’ but it was more one-way traffic from Becky, pointing out the only place he could pick up that language is from me and that I swear far too much around the children.
“I fucking don’t!” I protest before immediately realising I actually don’t have a leg to stand on. “Shit and Bugger.” I think to myself.
So, we have a chat with Noah and point out that while no words are ever “bad” words there are certain words that can be seen as “rude” words and aren’t really suitable for little boys and girls to be using and largely he seems to take this on board and life in the Railton household returns to being suitably peachy.
Days pass without further profanity and just when I feel we have weathered the storm Noah asks me if the Queen lives in a castle.
“Well, babe,” I start to explain to him, “the Queen lives in several places. She lives in Buckingham Palace in London but sometimes she does live in a castle in Windsor and sometimes she lives in a castle near granddad called Balmoral.”
“You are very smart, Daddy,” Noah says. “Do you know everything about all things?”
“No, babe, I don’t know everything about all things. Nobody knows everything. I only know some things.”
“I don’t think that’s true Daddy,” he says and he puts his little hand on top of mine with some gravitas. “You really do know fuck all!”
“Yes,” I think. “I fear your mother would agree.”