Thursday, January 03, 2008

the berrying curse cup

A few years ago, Charlie and I instituted the concept of a curse cup (#29). That is, any time one of us curses, we would - theoretically - put a quarter in the cup. We initiated this cup because we really and truly want to be good role models for our children and we need to be cognizant of our language, in front of them - and on the whole.

My mother never swore. My father never swore. I don't remember any of my siblings swearing. But I am ashamed to admit that I am a different story. My ability to make a sailor blush makes me think that maybe I really was left on the doorstep in a clothes basket as an infant and am not one of them, after all.

Whatever the case, whenever I get really frustrated, bad language will flow from my lips like the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon gorge.

And flow.

And flow.

When I started throwing IOU's in the curse cup because I ran out of money, I knew that I had a problem. Try as I might to shield our children from the dump that is my mouth when I get angry, there have been moments when their delicate ears are exposed to my vernacular garbage.

It shames me to write that.

I know I must do better. By and large, I don't curse at all around our children, but $*#%!! it is so difficult for me to hold my tongue when a 3-year old hijacks a new container of mayonnaise out of the refrigerator and squeezes it all over the kitchen counter, their hair - their siblings hair - and the cordless phone you accidentally left within their reach.

Recently, I came to the conclusion that I am completely incapable of not cursing, it's just not a reality for me. Especially not as the mother of three year old triplets. I'd have better luck willing my blue eyes to be brown.

Although I think the idea of a curse cup is a good one, the punishment of a quarter for each time I uttered, or screamed as is often the case, a bad word was not enough of a deterrent. So, I decided that in lieu of continuing the futile effort that came with scribbling down notes that read "Due curse cup $10.50" I would try word substitution.

With great trepidation for the respect that I am positively certain I am going to lose from many of you, I hereby admit that the absolute worst word in my bad word arsenal is the f-bomb. It is only used in the most horrific of circumstances or when I am really irate, but when it is uttered, I can honestly say that I am immediately filled with a sense of satisfaction. But that sense of satisfaction is quickly offset by self loathing at my inability to not use this dreadful word.

It's classless, I know.

Because I do not want our children being damaged by the shrapnel every time this bomb is dropped, I have tried desperately to substitute the word "berry" in it's nasty, ugly place. It is for this reason that Charlie and I had a "conversation" this past weekend that went something like this...

Me: "Charlie. If we're going to get to the zoo at a reasonable hour, we should probably get the kids packed and in to the car. Why don't you head up getting the triplet's shoes on and load them in to their carseats while I change the baby's diaper?"

Charlie: "Sounds good."

I walk in to the nursery and am greeted by every single linen that we own, strewn across the floor. There is an entire sleeve of diapers - out of their sleeve - across the ground along with all of Henry's burp cloths and all the tissues from a box of Kleenex. My blood is instantly boiling. Charlie was just in the nursery with the triplets. Did he not notice that things were ... how to say ... a little out of place?

I change the baby and stepping over the mess, walk to the front door where I am greeted by my happy and smiling husband.

Me: "So, uh, what the berry happened in the nursery? Did you not see all the berrying stuff all over the berrying ground? It's like a berrying bomb went off in there!"

Charlie: "Jen, I don't look at that stuff because if I do, it will drive me nuts."

Me: "What do you mean you don't look at it? How the berry can you not look at it? I'd much rather have you be 1/2 nuts and me be 1/2 nuts than have me be 100% BERRYING nuts."

Charlie: "We need to get out of the house to get to the zoo. It will be dealt with later."

Jen: "It will be dealt with later? By whom? The berrying cleanup fairy? Everybody needs a berrying cleanup fairy. I could use one for sure! Maybe two. Heck, I'd like a berrying bucket load of berrying cleanup fairies!! What the berrying BERRY. You know who I am?? I AM THE BERRYING CLEANUP FAIRY. The one that is incapable of leaving the berrying house when it looks like a big old berrying bomb went the berry off."

Now before anyone gets the wrong idea that my husband doesn't contribute to cleaning up our house, that is simply not the case. He does a remarkable job of helping to insure order. But without question, he does not wage the same neurotic fight against entropy that I do.

I'm not sure if this is a woman thing, or what. But I truly envy his ability to look the other way.

You know what else I envy?

His ability to never swear.

I don't know how the berry he does it.


  1. You crack me up as usual! Oh and my last name is Berry, for real!

  2. You are hilarious! Curse words have been heard flying from my mouth, but luckily I've been pretty good around the kids. Now my husband on the other hand could use a curse cup! Can't wait until the kids start throwing the "B" word around. "Mom, where's my berrying dinner!?!?"

  3. I thought I was doing a great job with word substitution (Fudge, shoot, etc), but my darling daughter showed me that the worse isn't when she swears. Apparently I say other things that I shouldn't be saying.
    I just sent my sweet child to her religious daycare providers, and every other sentence coming out of her mouth starts with "Oh my God." I don't think it's going to go over well... and it's 100% my fault.

  4. I have the exact same problem. I've actually gotten worse lately and Hubby hates it. It's really bad when my 10 year old tells me "Mom, don't talk like that in front of the kids!"
    Oh, the F Bomb, it's my favorite word. I don't think "berry" would make me feel nearly as good as the real word coming out.

  5. Jen- My mother swore like a sailor and I don't (anymore) - except on my blog. And I still clean it up for Greg's mom, who doesn't even watch PG movies. G is actually too risque for her. Since I'm your therapist, I hereby give you permisssion to begin cussing on here immediately. It's all berry good!

  6. I don't know how you do it! You had me laughing out loud with this entry. I know all about the berrying cleanup fairy, and the berrying potty-mouth. I had my 2 year old say 'Crab, mummy, crab!' when he stubbed his toe yesterday. Oooops.....

  7. I dropped the F-Bomb last week and Shayna asked what "F-Bomb" was and so I told her that I said, "Duck." I think I'm gonna try Berry from now on! Thanks!
    ps- when are you going to get together? Let's ink a date!

  8. i bet there are handfuls of moms (and non-procreating women) out there who would admit to the same exact thing, if pushed...

    i cannot agree with you more about the sense of satisfaction that the f-bomb brings. i agree, to trash talk for no reason on a daily basis is, well, less than classy. but when it is warranted - nothing brings home the emphasis better.

    happy new year!

  9. LOL Jen - I am so relieved I am not the only one.I can put my hand up to be a being a 'berry' word curser too - with a husband like yours who never swears.

    The F bomb is heard here too but more in relation to my teenager than my twins but they of course contribute to the exasperation at times when my brain explodes and I the bomb goes off.

    The teenagers whinging,laziness and antics are my worse trigger ... OMG wait till my twins get there.

    I never swear at the twins directly ... like one or other will be crying or trashing everything while I'm busy with the other - and the teen and Daddy blissfully ignore the mayhem. So I lose it eventually.

    Word substitution works when you remember it. I resolve to try harder and I know we can do it together. I used to say 'farmer brown' but I like the ring of the word berry ! I am taking it .I am also going to get my husband to read this.

    I might start my own curse jar and see what I come up with ...I really want to tackle this.Thanks for your honesty in sharing.

  10. In my experience (but my sub word was not berry), this works well....Until the day that you adorable youngster tells the car in front of you to get the berry out of the way...casue momma has to pee really berrying bad. hehehe

  11. Ah, someone else with the same vice. :-(

    It shames me to say that when I lose my temper I lose control of my tongue as well. I got that from my dad. He lost his temper the majority of my childhood, (in fact I don't have many memories of him NOT screaming or beating us) but only when I pushed him to the limit did he swear. Swearing was SO against the rules of our house that we weren't allowed to say "stupid" or "pissed", words I find fairly bland...not swear words at all. I think that's why I said whatever the berry I wanted to when I moved out.

    Now with our first little one here, I know I need to clean up my act. My only hope is that I don't have triplets AND a baby, so hopefully I won't get pushed to the limit as you do.

    Berry. I need to find myself some replacement words too.

  12. Next time you're really mad like that, would you mind taking a moment to record your conversation so we can hear it? I know hearing the word berry used with such violent undertones has to be even funnier than reading it. And just reading it had me rolling.

  13. Jen,

    that is so berrying funny. We say "Zark" instead of Berry. We also say "Freak" and you can bet our kids sometimes say Zarking this and Freaking that. But it's not as bad as the real thing!

  14. Jen,

    That is so berrying funny!

    At our house, we say "zark" instead of "berry", and sometimes "freak".

    You can bet my kids sometimes say zark and freak -- but it's a lot better than the big F bomb!

  15. Hellooo Jen,

    I am now 'de-lurking' because I want to tell you that the berry-bomb isn't as bad, in my opinion, as the JC and GD words. So there's the two cents of a seasoned mother of only two (who are now 18 and 20) - who now drop their OWN berry-bombs (but not the JC and GD words- ha! That makes even me laugh!)

    As long as I am 'here' I want to say thanks for so many hours of fun, interesting, and entertaining reading. Your writing is fan-tas-tic, and I am SO glad you rose above the "Anonymous Commenter". I had hoped you'd come around again and continue to tell it like it is!

    When you are feeling berrying frustrated, just remember; "Some Days are Like That - Even in Australia."

    Becky (a random teacher from MN who probably won't bother you again!)

  16. Ha ha! I know how you feel, my husband is practically a saint. However, he can walk over a pile of clothes for a week in Cooper's room & he NEVER swears.

    Maybe I will adopt "berry" in place of my foul language. BTW, I use the f-bomb too- even though I think it is such a horrible word!

  17. What the @#!$? Your mother never swore? Your siblings never swore? Didn't your maternal grandfather stay with you awhile? Isn't that why you came to visit the Finnell's for a week? I thought that's where I got &*^! mouth.

    Then again I bet it was from "one of your many cuzzins".... That would make more sense... IN fact I think that's where I got my &%$! mouth. (not trying to start anything; I'm just sayin...)

    Even though you are one of my many cussin-cuzzins... still Love ya'll;) Love, Marg

    PS's a lot of fun.

  18. By the way; I remember that picture! Isn't that "berry" baby you?? (sorry couldn't resist)
    Love ya. Marg

  19. Since I am divorced and my ex-husband lives in another state I blame him. Once I picked my daughter up from daycare and the daycare worker informed me my daughter had said, "What the hell is that?", I looked that woman straight in the eye and said, "I have told her father a million times to watch his mouth around her!"
    The cool thing is he wasn't around to defend himself from my shameless finger pointing.

  20. Ever since "Battlestar Galactica" came into my life, my husband and I use "frak". Probably too much. I have said "hell" in front of the kids before, but usually use the biggies only with other adults (like yesterday when my best friend told me she miscarried again). When my daughter started saying "Good Grief!", I knew all those Peanuts cartoons had paid off.

  21. This so true on our house also! We were convinced that the trio's first word would be "berry." Every year my husband has a New Year's resolution to stop saying it but it usually only lasts 5 minutes past midnight!!

  22. vety the nuts mom1/4/08, 9:31 AM

    I use the f-bomb too. So I replaced it with fudgsicle or fudge. This has worked really well for me.

    For instance if I saw what you did in the nursery (often do...ugh) you'll hear "Oh FUDGE, FUDGE, FUDGE!" or "Oh Fudgesicle, that stupid fudgesickle"

    I also use
    "Oh Schlitterbahn"
    "Oh Shackazooloo"
    "Oh crapazoola"
    and my latest is "snarfblat" although for the life of me, I don't know which one that substituted, it just came out one day.

    However, apparently I say "oh Lord" way too much because yesterday my little william kept saying "Oh Lord, Oh Lord, Oh lord", can't say his own name yet, but he can say "Oh Lord". gggrrreeeeaaattt....

  23. I wonder who deemed the 'f' word to be a swear word? It is a pretty disgusting word. Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason for what is considered a swear word- for instance, I hate the word "fart" but don't mind "crap". (Is it okay to write those words?) What I really hate to hear is the Lord's name used as a swear word.

  24. You should watch the movie Johnny Dangerously. The gangster in there has some interesting swear words, like 'farging iceholes', and 'bastages', and he says 'I'll put your bells in a sling'. Maybe you could adopt some from that movie. I used to have a swearing problem too, but one year in college we gave it up for Lent, and I've been pretty clean ever since.

  25. You are hysterical! I've got my 2 year olds walking around saying Dad Nabit for my favorite curse word.

  26. i have had a potty mouth pretty much since birth. it's refreshing to hear that i am not alone....

  27. Seriously LMAO here...hold on while I stop choking long enough to talk!

    Hi, dropped over via baby~amore', and glad I made the trip.

    Berry makes a great substitute...I wish I could make my husband use it. He's the garbage mouth in our house, though I've been known to let fly with a few expletive deletives at times...but for me, it's almost always when the wee man is not around. His Dad hasn't got the same filter, and it drives me mad!

    The wee man has made himself the Word Police, though, as they often do, and has been known to pull me up for saying "sh*t". He often checks with me if a word is a bad word - yesterday it was "poopa" (not so good if you are saying "poopa head", okay if you are talking about trumpet noises! lol).