There comes a time when every parent wishes they could say to their child, “You have to f’ing eat!” during meals, or maybe a nightly, “go the f to sleep!” Only you wouldn’t just say f.
Regardless of whether or not you actually say, or scream the words, the desire is present. I have no doubt there are parents out there with plenty of control when it comes to self-censorship, I’m just not one of them.
I happen to know that I’m not the only one unable to always keep it G-rated, so for my fellow potty-mouthed mommies I have good news! There is now a perfectly legitimate excuse for uttering both of these sometimes necessary and desperate, if slightly profane, phrases thanks to Adam Mansbach’s two books.
The little ones will of course enjoy the rhymes, along with the exquisite illustrations by Owen Brozman in You Have to Fucking Eat and by Ricardo Cortés in Go the Fuck to Sleep. Meanwhile, the adult reader will for once genuinely enjoy the story they are likely going to be forced to read upwards of twenty times. So what if the enjoyment comes from a free reign of f-bombs?
Both books were gifts to me from my own famously foul-mouthed mother, and I’ve been reading them to my daughter since she was an infant. She is now three, and in the last six months or so I’ve sadly had to start censoring my readings of Mansbach’s books.
The poor kid repeats my expletives often enough during normal conversation, I figure she probably doesn’t need the extra reinforcement of hearing it during her nightly bedtime stories.
“The tiger reclines in the simmering jungle. The sparrow has silenced her cheep. Fuck your stuffed bear, I’m not getting you shit. Close your eyes. Cut the crap. Sleep.”
“Your cute little tummy is rumbling and pancakes are your favorite treat. I’m kind of surprised that you suddenly hate them. That’s bullshit. Stop lying and eat.”
Sadly these and all my other favorite lines just aren’t as satisfying now that they have to be read without swearing. As soon as she’s old enough to understand she can’t repeat mommy’s bad words around anyone but mommy, and grandma, all expletives will return to the reading of these gems to my daughter.
Currently she innocently refers to the books simply as “eat” and “sleep,” but in reality we’re probably not far off from those titles being preceded by “fucking.” With my luck, the first word she can read will be the f-word. She is her mother’s daughter after all.
I think both books are meant more for the parent’s enjoyment, and in this they absolutely succeed. The decision to read the naughty words aloud to your child or not is up to you. If you have a toddler the decision is essentially made for you, but if you need a laugh at the end of a long day, still read these two books to yourself. In your head they can be as profane as they were intended.