The Dormouse has been in the stage where she repeats everything she hears for some time now. We've known since before she was born that we need to clean up our language - less because we knew a baby was coming and more because we should just be more creative speakers than to use the same arsenal of six words all the time. It reminds me of the oh-so-sage advice my mother gave me when I was 15 or 16-ish... "Don't swear honey... it sounds like hell." She was joking, but you get the point.

But even given that, we still have a hard time on the actual follow-through. Between KingofHeart's anger issues and my addiction to the television, she's repeated some fairly inappropriate things. Which isn't to say we aren't doing a better job with curbing our speech patterns and keeping the adult-themed movies for after bedtime, but every so often there's a slip and then I find myself having to explain to her why "we don't say things like 'damn'." and feeling like a total hypocrite because, damn, she just heard me say damn and now I'm telling her that we don't say damn, when clearly, I do say damn... sometimes. Damn.

We've had pretty good success by not reacting too much to the word we don't want her to use and just giving her something different to say that sounds funny. If she gets a kick out of the new word, the old one will pale by comparison.

Some of the replacement phrases we've come up with so far:

"We don't say ____, we say:

"'Hmhhmmhm' " (a la Marge Simpson)
"Holy Moly!"

"Holy Schneike!"
"Oh! My! What. In. My. Life!"

"Oh maaan!" (appropriate inflection here cannot be adequately described in print)

She's getting old enough that she's asking unsolicited questions now about appropriate words - trying to figure it all out in her mind. The problem is, she's already reasoning way above me.

"Momma, is it okay to say 'stupid'?"

"No honey, it's not nice to call someone 'stupid'."

That will then backfire on me later when I tell KoH in front of her that I saw the video for that Pink song 'Stupid Girl' and the Language Police is suddenly on my case: "Momma!! We don't say that word. That is not a nice word."

*backpedalling* "Well... um... it's not nice to call someone stupid, but um.... *stammer* stupid is an adjective... and um... sometimes it's okay to say it when we're talking about something... but er... just not about someone."

Yeah. Try getting a three year old to understand that.

"Momma, is 'gads' a bad word?"

"Well, I sometimes say 'gads' and it's not really a bad word per se. I suppose thought, that it's not really the best thing you could say. It would probably be better to say something else if you can think of it. Like you know... how Daddy says 'Holy Moly!'"

Later to dad: "Only Momma and I say 'gads', Daddy... you say 'Holy Moly!'"

The KingofHearts is much less judicious about it all and simply tries to keep one step ahead of her by changing expressions more often than he changes his shoes. A few weeks ago while driving in the car, another driver pulled out in front of us. KoH wanted to say what we all want to say, but instead curbed himself and invented a new, PG-rated insult. "Stupid Freakin' Cow!", he yells, shaking his fist at the offending car.

The Dormouse repeats, "Snoopy Stinky Cow!"

This is now our new favorite insult. We use it all the time.