My husband, Chad, and I, swear...a lot. With three English degrees between us, we subscribe to the "words have only as much power as you give them" philosophy, and so it seemed silly to attempt to curb it when our daughter, Auden, was born. There wasn't much discussion about it; we just continued talking as we've always talked.
Auden recently turned 3. One Saturday a few months ago, her former nanny came by to take her to the museum. As I was helping Auden on with her high tops, I mentioned that these particular shoes were "a pain," subconsciously editing myself in the presence of our much-loved nanny. Auden took the opportunity to remind me that that's not who we are. She looked at Becca and said, "Pain in the ass." Her rhythm in speaking those four words was perfect.
But that's about as far as Auden goes with swearing. Neither her dad nor I has ever told her that certain words are "bad"; she just knows, and she avoids them.
There was one exception. One evening Chad was irritated--as he often is after a long day of meetings--and Auden asked him a question. "I don't fucking know!" he responded. Auden then cocked her head and asked, in her little girl voice, "Why don't you fuckin' know?"
Chad had that one coming, and I think Auden knew it. We felt sheepish enough after that incident to clean up our language in conversations had directly with her. Conversations had near her, though, are still fair game.
As for the real world and being practical parents who don't want people to think their daughter was raised by wild monkeys (or sailor monkeys), we will tell her, eventually, that certain words are inappropriate at certain times. Still, one day it will thrill us (in a we're-such-liberal-parents kind of way) when she'll tell her grandmother that she doesn't like to put on her pink high tops because, well, they're a pain in the ass.