Words. They can be powerful. They can be meaningless. They can send chills down your spine. They can go in one ear and out the other.
Or is that just me getting all giddy to use a word like “PERPLEXING.”
So why is it that we have all these “RULES” about words? They’re just… words. Meaningless until someone attaches a feeling around it.
We’ve called my daughter, “Stinker” her whole life. We’ve called her “Pooper” “Pooper scooper” (honestly, I have no idea why, but it’s a term of endearment, I swear) and “Stinker Butt.” We rarely call each other our real names in this house at all, actually. “Man Baby!” “Buddy” “Babe” “Little Man” “Yo I want some more milk.”
So it was a bit of a shock yesterday when our daughter informs us that we’re no longer allowed to call her “Stinker” in school. “We’re not allowed to say Stinker” she scolded us. “That’s a bathroom word. You use it in the bathroom.”
I taught four year olds for a few years back before I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. I learned that words get tossed around as a way to “test” their power. If you give the word power, the kids will run with it. My husband and I always said cussing is just that.. cussing. Meh. I do it all the time. But there is a time and a place and that’s what we want our children to understand. At the playground? Not the time or place. When you smash your finger with the car? Let out a huge fbomb if you want. We won’t judge. It’s a word.
I often say back to my children, “Hun, we’re not going to say shit at the playground, ok?” Because it shows I’m not afraid of the word “SHIT”. She knows it’s a word and that word we don’t say here. In fact, I remind her, let’s just say “OH MAN” like Swiper the Fox? Ok? Because you’re four.
So far so good.
This is the “Take my picture, Mommy! I wanna look fourteen!” look. She’s perfected it, yes?
We’ve decided that teaching our children to handle various people will do them more good in the long run than sheltering them from said variations. In theory, this will work out lovely. We’ve yet to come to cross roads with that theory but I’ll be sure to fill you in on that day.
So the day my daughter comes home to tell us she can’t stay “STINKER?” The word we’ve used as a love pat to our baby girl since her first fart 3 days old? Well, it’s a little heart wrenching. It’s like we’ve been doing something wrong these past four years unknowingly breaking some rule of parenting by calling our child little shit to her face.
But also? What the hell.
And I didn’t even close the bathroom door to say that.
Stinker in all her glory.
*Stealing the idea from The Bloggess: Best Comment Of The Post
Kid: Mommy, what dat called? (pointing to her little girl parts)
Me: That’s your vagina.
Kid: (looks at me confused, puts her finger to her chin) MOMMY, MULAN IS FROM FUH-CHINA!
Me: (cue me, laughing my ass off) Yes, darling, we’re all from there at one time or another.