It’s 3:11 am and there are some people sleeping in this house, but Carter and I are not among them. I was dozing in and out, trying mightily to find my way into unconsciousness when Carter woke and started one of his sing-song chants:
Butt fucker butt fucker ass fart fuck
Butt fart ass fucker fart my ass
Ass fucker fart fucker stupid ass
There is more, but I’m sure you get the idea. It is all accompanied by the swinging of a plastic retractable light saber.
Charming, yes? I swear, my kid could make a seasoned Naval seaman blush. The fact that he doesn’t know what fucking actually IS, is small comfort in these moments, which in all honesty are mostly disturbing because they are interrupting my sleep. The cursing? I won’t say I like it, or that I don’t notice it, but it is what it is and I got tired of dishing out the consequences every time he spilled one of his foul songs, so we’re sticking with making sure he doesn’t call names and we make clear that racist/sexist/etc. hate language never makes itself comfortable in our home. Thankfully he hasn’t heard those words yet so for now, we’re safe. First person to teach my kid a racial epithet gets it right between the eyes.
No, instead of trying to force him to stop (a losing proposition during the day, when I’m rested; a doomed exercise in escalating frustration in the middle of the night), I tell him that if he needs to continue he has to go to the garage.
“But there are cockroaches out there, Mommy! I can’t go out there with the cockroaches!”
“I sprayed the garage weeks ago, maybe even more than a month. The cockroaches are long gone.”
“So you want me to go out there with the poison?”
“That poison can’t hurt you, but it it’s a problem there’s always the option of laying quietly in your bed until you fall asleep.”
“I guess I’ll die of cockroach poison, then.”
And he took his plastic light saber and went to the garage, where from my office nearby I can hear him sing-songing his blue way through his elaborate Ninja sword routine, which is actually quite graceful and balletic.
Soon, he’ll come in and try to go back to sleep. I will go to sleep. The light saber will definitely go to sleep. And to think, we still have 2 1/2 hours until we have to get out of bed!