Our Little Boy Said WHAT?
On the first day of attending Hebrew school you would think – and I would hope that our children would learn about Judaism and the diaspora. About 5 minutes after hebrew class ended our six-year old-boy said, “Papa, what does the work “f**k” mean?” Two days later he innocently asked, “What’s an assh*le?” Then, just a day later, another question.. “Papa what is a dope addict?”
What happened to those easy days of changing diapers laden with poop and temper tantrums at Target? Since before birth, I was told by my husband that I am “verboten” from using my Brooklyn-esque potty mouth anywhere on planet Earth for fear that those little nascent ears may pick up a hint of cursing during my sometimes “bad moments”.
Frankly, the now seven- year-old kids have no idea what they are saying let alone what it means – but they think they do. For example, when our son was asking what the word “assh*le” meant – his pronunciation was way off. He initially said “asher-hoooool.” When I didn’t understand what the f**k he was saying (oppps.. I slipped) he said it really, really, REALLY slowly so I could unnnnnnderrrrrrrstaaaaaannnnnd it. He was talking to me like I was some hard-of-hearing, obtuse old man. Ugh! By then everyone else around me knew what he was saying and only then did I finally get it!
So why are we here in potty mouth land? Well for one reason, kids learn these curse words, not on a weekly vocabulary test, but many times from kids who have older siblings. I remember last year, our son used the word “sh*t” in a sentence, albeit as a verb not a noun. Now, grammar aside, he learned this short new word from his best friend who has an older brother.
Lately, I’ve realized another repository of naughty words are some children’s books. Believe it or not, one of my favorite childhood books, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, famed author E.L. Konigburg, which won the Al Newbery Medal for excellence in American children’s literature in 1968, refers to refers to “dope addicts.” I guess, that’s what you get for reading too much.. plus the book is based in New York City in the late 1960’s – so no surprise.
But I am a believer in wanting our kids to come to us – like they did – when they are confused or have questions. The only problem is how the f*** do I explain dope addicts to a young boy still in 1st grade? I feel like such an asshole…
What about you? What do you do when your kids have potty mouth? Have they ever dropped an “F” Bomb? How did you respond?