We were running late. I was trying to rush the kids out the door to get Keith to preschool on time, and as usual, shoes were missing. My patience was stretched like a raw hide over a drum with all the dilly dallying. I hurried the kids into their room, grabbed Faye's shoes and began to put them on her while Keith was digging through the closet, his little legs poking out like the end of a worm from an apple.
"Mom, I can't find my F'n shoes" he said calmly.
Praying I had misunderstood, I asked "What?" I asked in a serene voice, quite the opposite of the screeching in my mind. I didn't want to have any kind of reaction in hopes I had heard him wrong.
He repeated himself. Exactly. Clearly.
Still hoping, I asked him to repeat once again.
He did. Again.
Finally accepting the fact my ears and his words were perfectly attuned, I told him it was a bad word and asked him where he learned it.
"Grandpa says it." came the innocent reply.
Which is somewhat true. I have heard my Father in law use the word, but never ever when children were around. He simply would not do that.
"When did Grandpa say it?" I asked, desperately trying to not sound like an interrogation, yet still gleaning all the info I could from him.
"When he was mad at Faye." Keith answered.
And that is where the mystery was solved... or got deeper.
Little Faye has her grandfather so deeply enchanted with her, I don't think he has ever been mad at her. And if he were to get mad at her, he wouldn't ever use language that was anything above G rated.
Keith cleared my Father in law's name.
But how he learned that word, and the proper way to use it still stands as a mystery.
And that was the day I made my 3 year old say the F word three times.