|gotta protect precious little (newborn) ears|
One substitute word I started using even before Cal was born was "goodness." And it has a very odd genesis. So. There I was in the hospital labor & delivery unit, room 2307, working very hard to give birth to the most wonderful, beautiful little one I've ever seen. And it is generally accepted fact that this process tends to be quite difficult and painful. Even though I'd had an epidural earlier in the process (best. decision. ever.), it's still very, very hard work. But for some reason, I didn't feel... right about cursing in front of the various nurses and doctors ***(as if they haven't heard everything in the book). To this day I don't /know why I suddenly became so proper - maybe I was attempting to make up for */**half the world getting a full-on view of my undercarriage. So instead of peppering my language with various words that start with d, s and f, I instead kept repeating the word "goodness." Getting through another contraction? "Oh my goodness..." Catching my breath after an intense series of pushes? "Goodness!" The more I think about it, though, I also think maybe it was my way of keeping control over the insanity that is giving birth. But for whatever reason, it worked for me, as my birth experience was absolutely wonderful overall.
Nowadays, 14+ months later, I still say "goodness" all the time. At Cal's school, they always respond to a sneeze with a hearty "goodness!" and we've picked that up at home with him. He smiles every time. :)
Parenting can be SO challenging (and I only have 1!), but there's also SO much goodness to be had, and I feel like I must be doing something right when the good far outweighs all the rest.