While I make jokes about my kids being little demons, they're generally polite and respectful. More than once, people have commented on how polite and articulate they are. They have their moments.
For the most part, I think my husband and I have modeled good behavior. We're not the Waltons, but we don't drop f-bombs willy-nilly when they're within earshot. Usually.
After years of working in newsrooms with colorful journalists, &%$* became my word of choice when computers crashed, stories broke at 6 p.m. on a Friday, or other deeply unpleasant things occurred. Even now, it slips out when whole cartons of juice spill or I realize, halfway to the office, that I've left my laptop at home.
Anyway, we were at Borders today when my daughter announced she was ready to head to the children's section. I was in the middle of browsing and told her to wait. That's when I heard her sigh and mutter &%$* under her breath. This wasn't an innocent mimic routine. Her delivery was so perfectly world-weary that the twentysomething hipster to our right turned and raised an eyebrow. It's one thing to hear your kid repeat something sketchy, but quite another to hear them do so with style.
Of course, I was mortified and delivered a stern "don't say that again" talking-to before beating a path to the "new in paperback" table.
This happened with my son when he was about 5, but it was much, much worse. He showed off his new vocabulary word in front of my mother, who, despite having cursed liberally when I was growing up, was shocked.
Thanks, kids. Way to sell Mom out.