~"It's a sin to kill a mockingbird"~Harper Lee
"HALT! Mama HALT!" Oscar yelled...I was on the telephone and happened to use the words "My god!" which was a total "no no" to my boy. No..he has not suddenly become religious..or even spiritual. It is just that we have been discussing language lately-words, meanings..what is proper and much more importantly-what is not. My kids have taken it very seriously-so seriously that they have become some sort of "morality" police force..at school, with each other..and sigh...especially with me.
Now, I have been known on occasion to utter certain words-or phrases if you will. The kind of things that pop out of ones mouth when one happens to step bare foot on a Lego for instance or slam their head on an open cabinet door. Colorful words that usually start with an F or an S..sometimes whole strings of such words. I admit it-there are times they just flow forth with incredible grace and ease. I can be quite poetic. Fortunately, the kids have never really noticed-or so I thought..until now. I blame the computer among other things.
Oscar, is incredible on the computer. If he is interested in something-it takes him less than thirty seconds to find it..and it is usually on YouTube. You can imagine my dismay when he turned to me one night and said "Mama..what's a boner?" To which I responded "I haven't the slightest idea! Go ask your Papa." (heehee) Oh, I knew my days were numbered and that it was time to talk to them .
Some of my kids have fought hard for their words..so we have always tried to be encouraging-no matter what they said. The only real word rules we have had in place were that they were never to call someone stupid or an idiot..nor were they to exclaim "Oh my god". The first two...well, because I think that those are awful things to call anyone..and the latter because some people might be offended by it. I never thought to discuss any others with them-it just didn't seem necessary. Until now.*sigh* I don't know what has happened, but they all have begun to notice my use of certain words-collectively. So, I figured it was time to sit down and talk about it. Especially as they are asking what those words mean.
S-"Mama...what does the "F" word mean"
Me-"ummm..to have sex."
S-"Well..why would someone yell that at someone. It doesn't make sense"
Me-"You're right-it doesn't..I really have no idea why..it is just one of those words that kind of work in certain situations.."
L-"What does the "S" word mean?"
L"Then why don't you just say poop?"
Me-"..uumm..well..I guess the "S" word just works better sometimes...uumm..it's stronger"
L-"Well can I say it?"
Me-"I guess there are just certain words that don't sound nice coming from a kids mouth."
S-"Like stupid or idiot"
O-"Mama! Sammy said a bad word!"
Me-"No..look..there is no such thing as a "BAD" word...words aren't bad..the intention behind them is what matters. A word can't be bad...but how you use it can be..not nice."
L-"Well YOU use those words"
L-"Well if they aren't bad then why can't we?"
Me-"Because I'm a grown woman"
L-"So when I'm a grown woman I can use them?"
Me-"When you are grown up AND you can give me fifty different words that mean the same exact thing..we'll talk about it."
L-"Fifty words?'......" (I can almost hear her thinking)
I thought we had settled it. that they understood where I was coming from. Until Oscar came running yelling "HALT!"( "HALT"???-don't know where that came from..maybe the computer?) at me when I said "My god"...*sigh* it took the better part of the evening to explain that the word "god" was NOT bad...but that I had indeed made a mistake in my use of it...But then again..Lily, loudly exclaimed "Holy SHRIMP" in the store the other day..and even louder explained "I say shrimp but MAMA uses the OTHER word".(.parent teacher conferences should be interesting next week. .)
It seems that I am going to have to watch what I say from now on...It is either that or not slam my knee into table corners, step on Thomas toys in bare feet,,or stub my toe on furniture. I do know one thing for sure. I am hiding the dictionary from Lily...Holy shrimp-indeed.