My six-year-old daughter drew me aside the other day.
"Mummy, I know I shouldn't have but I taught Ben some bad words. I told Ben about the 's' word and the 'h' word."
I was perplexed. The 's' word I could figure out, although I was a little surprised to realise Laura was familiar with it (I'm no saint, but I try to curtail my swearing when my kids are around. Dammit! Bother! and Bugger! - if I'm really upset - are my catchcries these days). But what was the 'h' word? What new swear-word was this?
I asked Laura what these words were. She squirmed, she wiggled, she beseeched me, "Don't make me say them Mummy. They're bad words."
"C'mon", I coaxed. "Just whisper them in my ear then."
Laura eyed me warily for a moment. Suddenly deciding in my favour, she nodded, and leant towards me as I bent down to her pigtailed head. In a rush of warm little girl breath, she murmured damply in my ear,
"Shush up and hush up!"