My two-year-old daughter has a new favourite word.
No, it's not 'Horsey' or 'Chocolate' (mind you, she's very fond of those too). It starts with F… and well you can use your imagination to figure it out from there. I'm not going to lie and try and tell you I don't swear. I swore on live TV after falling off my chair during the 6pm news; I have form.
I'm not proud of these 'potty mouth' moments BUT I'm much improved since becoming a mother and I'm generally very careful around my daughter.
The 'incident', lets call it that, occurred a little while ago during lockdown. I'd bought a stand-on vibrating machine; those exercise platforms that vibrate, then apparently you look like J-Lo in two weeks. Well, fair to say I didn't look like J-Lo.
I used it twice before realising I'd been conned once again by an infomercial and the promise of being able to eat crap, drink wine, and still boast the body of a professional athlete; all from the comfort of my lounge room.
So like all the other things I've bought that have let me down, I pushed it into a corner near Eliza's bookcase and forgot all about it. UNTIL, of course, I went to get her a book one night and, with the greatest amount of force you can imagine, stubbed my little toe. Not just a regular toe stubbing, but the kind you feel deep inside your soul. It came out automatically: 'F---!' I screamed.
As I fell rather dramatically to the floor. I thought there must have been an echo; in the faintest of little voices it came. Not once or twice, but over and over and over again.
At first I tried the 'No Eliza. Don't say that – naughty word', to which she would just get louder and louder. Then I started laughing hysterically. She joined in and it was all over.
She had a word that evoked all sorts of reactions and attention and boy, has she milked it ever since.
Her dad also tried tough love, but that ended in hysterical laughter too.
A week later I picked her up from playgroup and one of the lovely ladies pulled me aside and told me that Eliza was wonderful, BUT had performed a rendition of 'Let it Go' from Frozen for all the kids and staff. And then right at the end had thrown her hands wildly into the air and screamed, yup, you guessed it: 'F---'.
It's now a favourite when we FaceTime the grandparents, when I put her in her car seat, when I tell her we have to wash her hair and when she asks for a kinder surprise at the corner store (and I say no!).
We're now trying to just ignore it and not react to see if that helps. If not, I'm open to suggestions for replacement words that she might enjoy a little more than the current obsession!
Erin Molan is a Sports Presenter on Channel 9