Sometimes I forget the two-ply super absorbent fluid locking surveillance sponges Jack and Adam can be when it comes to every dribbled vulgarity, every unconsciously uttered impropriety, every sassa-frassin’ racka-frackin’ carrot-chewin’ fur-bearin’ varmint I take for granted, every breath I take, and every move I make because even when I think they won’t be, oh they’ll be watching me.
I have been moderately successful in my vigilance to avoid soiling their innocence, for example steering mostly clear of episodes of road rage wherein I become the face that launched a 1000 of F-Bombs, yet they each from time to time will say or do something that is a reminder that it’s not just my verbal incontinence or the impurities that trickle from me that are soaked up by the two of them; the adult diapers of my indecent vocabulary. No, my two “Depend”-ants come with tabbed straps and are fitted for maximum protection to absorb every ounce of my verbal and nonverbal leakage.
Rather than come over to the dark side by assimilating these ill-timed blasphemes into his own lexis though Jack has taken it upon himself to assume the role of my own personal FCC; telling me which words are “bad”, reminding me which are inappropriate to use around him and Adam, and issuing landmark fines for a recent wardrobe malfunction that regrettably exposed the horrors of my nether regions to the neighbors when a gust of wind Marilyn Monroed my robe as I bent over to retrieve the newspaper from the driveway. What? I’m bringing sexy back.
The way he matter-of-factly repeats my curses back to me with such a tone of clinical admonition however it’s difficult for me to chastise him for technically using a “bad” word.
Case in point, while in the kitchen by myself I accidentally snapped the last elastic hair band we use to fasten shut the cabinet doors under the sink because hair bands are the only thing that can effectively keep Adam from yanking open the doors to dig through the garbage. Aggravated I reactively exhaled, “SHIT!” (This happens a lot when you’re as full of crap as I am.) I glanced up and Jack had somehow materialized next to me. “Shit’s a bad word Daddy.” he said censoring me with a monotone delivery. Contrite I explained “You’re right Jack, I shouldn’t have said that.”
Exhibit B, while with him in the car recently we got cut off by someone talking on a cell phone and angrily I blurted out, “Nice fucking driving jerk-ass!” From the back seat Jack hit the dump button and reminded me, “Fuck and Jerk-ass are bad words Daddy.” Even though the guy was clearly a jerk-ass I was ashamed and I explained “You’re right Jack, I shouldn’t have said that.”
Now whereas Jack’s moral compass has had time to mature allowing him an opportunity to choose whether he wants to grow up to be a foul-mouthed open-robed apodysophiliac social pariah or to emulate someone other than his father, Adam is still in the mimicry stage. Everything he learns right now is because he sees someone else do it first from waving bye-bye and clapping to kissing everyone from Kathleen to my father with an open mouth. We’re a very close family. The one imitation he hasn’t quite nailed down yet nevertheless is answering the telephone. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so judgmental, I mean he is only 14 month’s old, but when the phone rings he races to his Little Tikes Work Bench, grabs his green plastic phone and rather than put it to his ear as we all do in this house he instead places it against the back of his head.
If it were only that I might be able to convince myself that it is only a phase that he’ll outgrow, but it isn’t just that; it’s in fact much more. He doesn’t just answer his green plastic phone, he answers everything. RING RING… he answers a vibrating teething ring. RING RING …he answers a Lego. RING RING …he answers my flip flop. RING RING…he answers the television remote. Every time someone calls the house Adam holds random objects to the back of his head.
Some may say that his emulation is just how he, at just over a year old, perceives our actions, but I say he’s doing it just to mess with me. RING RING… “No Adam. Why the hell would someone call the house on a Matchbox Car?
“Hell’s a bad word Daddy.”
“You’re right Jack. I shouldn’t have said that, but your brother….”
RING RING…. “ Oh come on… that’s a damn pretzel rod.”
“Damn’s a bad word Daddy.”
“You’re right Jack. I shouldn’t have said that, but a pretzel rod? He’s got to….”
RING RING…. “I’ll get it …I’ll get it…. Hello? Oh Hi Harry. Yeah it was windy this morning. You were? Harry I am truly sorry about…OK…OK…well tell Janet I’m sorry she had to see that.”
“Who was that Daddy?”
“That was Mr. Harry Jack. He said he would appreciate it if I wore pants when I went out to get the paper from now on.”
“Mr. Harry is being a jerk-ass Daddy.”
“You’re right Jack…