Coughing Up Your New Favorite Swear Word

Ah 3am, my fickle little friend, I wish I could say it’s good to see you.

I’ve been spending a lot of time with 3am recently, and while there is a certain beauty to the world at an hour where the only sounds are those of drunken college kids parading down the street singing the Canadian national anthem, it’s really a time I’d prefer to know on a less intimate basis. Lately, 3am has been even worse, as my friendly neighbors to the North are being drowned out by an even more unfavorable sound: Coughing.

So much coughing. Dry, hacking, endless coughing, that often results in a slimy deposit of barfslobber sliding down the chin of my confused, exhausted toddler. But she’s not the only one responsible for this racket, as both my husband and I have the same pestering tickle, and at any given moment, one of us is likely in the throes of a body-shaking coughing spell that has griped this household since Cough-tober.

There are several reasons why this cough is worse than drunken college kids singing the Canadian national anthem, namely the Canadian national anthem is actually kind of nice. But the coughing? Well it’s the goddamn pits because there is nothing we can do to stop it. After several trips to the doctor, it’s been established that we don’t have pneumonia, or TB, or whooping cough, or kennel cough, or any other kind of treatable cough. It’s probably viral. It will pass. You just have to wait it out. Try lemon! Try honey! Try steam! Try elevating the pillow!


This seems hella safe, amiright?


My 3am mind is quick to draw a connection between this month long monster cough and another C word that should be a four letter word: Colic.

Spending hours each night in the rocking chair, trying desperately to comfort a miserable, exhausted, sick kid, while wondering if contrary to what the doctor says, there is actually something wrong with them seems an awful lot like how I spent the first 3 months of our daughter’s life. The Googling. The absolute crap homeopathic remedies that do nothing. The suggestions by well meaning individuals who swear it works (but it doesn’t). The dreading of nighttime because you don’t know if you have more patience to do it all over again. The guilt for feeling frustrated. The questioning of EVERYTHING (Is it her blanket? Something we’ve fed her? Mold? Allergies?) The full body exhaustion of grossly interrupted sleep for going on 6 weeks.

Yeah, I’d say colic and this monster cough aren’t so different.

So what do you do? Obviously you make lemonade out of your disgusting, phlegmy lemons, by creating a new form of swear word.

Next time someone cuts you off in traffic, or, you know, posts some hateful, idiotic meme about gun control/politics/baby wearing -or all three if you have a REALLY interesting group of friends- instead of labeling them with your old standby (mine is douche canoe), replace the bad word with cough.

Cough-canoe. Cough-head. Cough-bag. Cough-er. Mother cougher. Donkey cougher. Cough-hole. Son of a motherless cough. Or my new personal favorite; cough sucker (be sure to annunciate when you’re throwing this bad boy around).

Knowing there is a chance some of you weirdos purists out there don’t cuss, I have another brilliant idea. Starting tonight, I’ll be recording the various coughs echoing throughout my household, and using them to record a Christmas album, a la Jingle Cats. It will be cough-tastic!


Image credits: Cover image, cough medicine


  1. HA! Our toddler (are 4 year old still toddlers?) has that same cough. Vick’s Vapor rub worked on him one night – the old vicks on his feet and put sock on trick. We’re a fan of swear words, too.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s