WTF? According to an article in USA Today, most kids learn to swear before they fully learn the alphabet. And who's to blame? We parents, of course.
So says a new book by Mellissa Mohr, In Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing. Apparently we English speakers cuss once every 140 or so words, give or take. Yes, our swear words are as prolific as our personal pronouns "our," "us" and "we."
It all starts when a kid is around three or four, and swearing varies according to economic status—with the middle class making a point to curse less than the truly wealthy. "Aristocrats have a secure position in society, so they can say whatever they want—and may even make a show of doing so," says Mohr.
But it's not all bad. Cursing has its upshots, like helping us commiserate and bond over, say, a despised colleague or manager. It also somehow relieves physical pain (think stubbed toe).
Swearing is as old as the hills. As old as the Romans and even Ye Olde English, from whence that swearing gem 'shit' derived.
Do you swear as much as this freakin' mommy? Don't want your child to swear? Then soap your own tongue first. But just know that when they start school, all bets are off.
In another Holocaust-related headline, a New York state teacher was put on leave after assigning six graders a writing exercise in which they would to pretend to be Nazis.
According to an article in Jezebel, the ill-advised prompt went like this: “You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!"
Imagination is one thing, but do we truly need to put ourselves in the shoes of Nazis in order to better under the horrors of the Holocaust?
Needless to say, the nameless teacher has been put on leave while the equally nameless school deals with ensuing media attention and decides on an appropriate course of disciplinary action for the teacher.
Vague as to whether or not the teacher faces termination. Cue the sensitivity training.
"You asked a child to support the notion that the Holocaust was justified, that's my struggle," said school superintendent, Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard. "It's an illogical leap for a student to make."
As the Jezebel article states: "nothing ever good comes from pretending that you’re a Nazi."
Better to, say, pretend you're a "monstrous verminous bug" a la Kafka. Not a bad metaphor while we're at it...
Did the exercise go too far, or is there inherent value in understanding an ideology we don't support?
Moms-to-be are reverting to increasingly natural births. The latest in going it au naturel involves leaving the umbilical cord attached following delivery rather than cutting it off, a phenomena known as a Lotus Birth.
According to an article in the Daily Mail, mothers opting for 'umbilical nonseverance' allow the cord to detach naturally in the days following labour. That's right—days. It reportedly takes up to 10 days for the placenta and cord to fall away, meaning moms have to cart around the birthing luggage, so to speak.
Lotus Birth advocate and midwife educator, Mary Ceallaigh, believes mom and baby both reap numerous health benefits from leaving the cord in situ: from diminished risk of infection and added nourishment "at a time when the baby needs [that] the most." Not to mention the very literal bonding perks of being tied together!
If you're struggling to get your head around the idea, 47-year-old Ceallaigh claims it's easier than you might expect, with around five percent of her client base now opting for a Lotus Birth.
In most cases the cord dries off around the third day, anyway, so it should not impede the mother's schedule. In humid areas, though, the process can take longer, so mothers should be prepared to do less. Not a bad thing, really.
But what about the, er, smell? Ceallaigh insists that if the placenta is kept in a nice cloth and the cord itself wrapped in silk or cotton, the cord should remain odourless for the first day, and then "slight musky" by the second and third day. But she strongly cautions about keeping it in plastic wrap or in a sealed tupperware container since the placenta risks rotting before it dries out. And no doubt that would be just nasty.
The other important consideration is laying the baby on a safe, flat surface while the mother goes about her business. Fans of the Lotus swear by the perfect belly button that comes with letting the cord fall off on its own.
"When one cuts the cord, the navel does not heal for at least two weeks," said Ceallaigh.
Are you convinced? Would you consider going Lotus for a future birth?