What is it, exactly, about the F word?

by Wolf Pascoe on July 27, 2011

I’m guest-posting today over at Motherese, one of my favorite blogs. You’ll find an excerpt of the piece below. To read the full post, “What is it, exactly, about the F word,” on Motherese, click on the link underneath the excerpt. For more on Motherese and its author, the fabulous Kristen Stiefel Levithan, see ABOUT MOTHERESE below.


Who wants to hear about the lucky, or the rich?
The rest must step up. They have to say
I’m going blind, or
I’m about to go blind, or
nothing’s working right, or
the child is sick, or
here and there I’m patched together,
more or less.

Rainer Maria Rilke, from “The Voices”

Lately, a lot lately, I’ve been feeling like that voice in the Rilke poem. God bless Rilke. Have you read the “Archaic Torso of Apollo?” You should. It’s an upwardly mobile poem, and right for a land of upwardly mobile metaphor. But thank God Rilke gets down, too.

My son Nick got down the other day and dropped the F bomb. As in, “F— you, dada.”

I left the room. “I’m sorry Nick, I can’t do business with you now,” I said.

Because what I really wanted to do was punch a hole in that fat mouth of his.

What is it about the F word? . . . .

Read the entire post at Motherese.




In the eleven months since hoisting sail and setting forth into the bloggy sea, much have I seen. Salt storms, icebergs, whirlpools, sharks, shipwrecks, great liners, dinghies, dolphins, an albatross or two. Mostly, though, it’s empty sea. Which is what makes the occasional appearance of a tropical island such a relief.

Once such find is the blog, Motherese, to which I was introduced by the redoubtable Big Little Wolf (Daily Plate of Crazy). Motherese is the brainchild of Kristen Stiefel Levithan, writer, history teacher, wife, mother of three under four, restless mind and spirit. Her tagline reads cultural commentary and musings on modern motherhood. But what really is being fashioned there is a crucible for the exchange of–I was going to say thought–but it’s more like intuition. Take her most recent post, called Guilty Boredom. Has she been reading my mind? It seems so. Not that I would have thought of such a juxtaposition, or dared write it, or written it so transparently well, beginning with a deceptive simplicity, then leading her readers ever further into the brambly wood, from which you can watch them emerge in their comments with baskets of ripe blackberries.

So I jumped when Kristen invited me to write something for Motherese. I went with what was on my mind, this problem with the F word. I hope by now you’ve clicked (or are about to click) on the link and read the whole piece in entirety on Motherese. While you’re there, be sure to have a look around. This is a writer who can uncover surprises anywhere. Her’s one about a night out that took a left turn. And another, about accents, and another, about time and play. Keep digging. I’m sure you’ll find, as I do, one kindred to your soul.



Bad Words from Good Kids – from Hand to Hand Parenting

. . .

Image Credit: Dorothy and Scarecrow, Warner Home Video



Leave your comments about the F word over on Motherese. And let me know here how the whole experience worked for you. I’ll be responding in both places.


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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

BigLittleWolf July 27, 2011 at 9:46 am

A beautiful, honest, insightful piece of writing, Wolf. One I imagine I’ll read over and over.


Wolf Pascoe July 27, 2011 at 11:00 am

As I said, shucks BLW.


Kristen @ Motherese July 27, 2011 at 1:52 pm

Thrilled to have you and honored by these kind, generous words. Thank you for both.


Wolf Pascoe July 27, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I’m thankful to have been honored by you, Kristen. Your generosity and kindness are fresh wind in my sail.


Barbara July 27, 2011 at 3:28 pm

After that tease and the introduction to Motherese, how could I NOT go over there??


Wolf Pascoe July 27, 2011 at 3:32 pm

You’ll love it, Shallue.


Barbara July 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Wolf, it’s wonderful you’re learning how to handle it now when he rips those holes – they’ll continue to do it, because who but your children can so perfectly find your weak spots? Beautiful post (as always!) (And don’t forget the praying!) (tried leaving this at Motherese, but it wouldn’t let me!)


Wolf Pascoe July 27, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Thanks for the encouragement, Barbara. And for persisting with your comment!


Aidan Donnelley Rowley @ Ivy League Insecurities July 28, 2011 at 9:32 am

Wolf – I loved your words at Motherese and am thrilled to be here where there are so many more words to sift through. Parenthood is something that we all celebrate and struggle with I think. I am heartened to find another soul out there, out here, asking the big questions, even, especially, if they don’t have answers. Wonderful to be here.


Wolf Pascoe July 28, 2011 at 1:19 pm

No answers here, Aidan. Just stories and questions, imperfectly rendered. Thanks for stopping by.


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