Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Anyone who knows me should have some understanding that I love language. (If you know me and this has never crossed your mind, be gone. You're clearly not paying attention.) I love words that are BIG and fun to say, like flabbergasted, debauchery, and cantankerous. I have been known to use a fascinating word incorrectly because I couldn't wait for an appropriate opportunity to come up. I love made up words and Seuss-ish rhymes and... I really, really love swear words. I adore an accent of any kind and will pick it up instantaneously. The summer that I read Bridget Jones' Diary, I was thinking with a British accent for three weeks. In high school my senior English teacher read parts of Dante's Inferno to us in Italian... my underwear stuck to me when I left third period that day. Hearing someone stumble lamely through a reading of Green Eggs and Ham and seeing text-ese ("r u ready 2 go yet?") in places it has no business being, like a note to your child's teacher, makes little pieces of my soul die. You're getting the picture, no?

Another day I will expound on all things linguistic and literary that make me purr, but today I was thinking about language in terms of how we choose to use our words. As a school professional, choosing language, especially when interacting with parents is crucial. Political correctness impacts our language choices, as does a healthy understanding that you must cover your ass at all times.

Children have the blessed privilege of being new at language and therefore don't have to censor or second guess their thoughts. What's rolling around in those little noggins is exactly what comes out of their tiny pie holes. In an utterance of as little as 3-4 words you know exactly what a child's perspective is and where they are developmentally. And now here's the anecdote that inspired all this blather today.

My husband fell asleep with the Viking earlier today and while napping, the Viking's Crocs slipped off his feet. When he woke up, one of them got a ride around the living room in the dump truck and the other stayed on the couch with the still sleeping dad. Later, we were about to leave the house to visit friends and I asked the six year-old to find the other Croc, as I has already recovered the one from the dump truck. I told him it was somewhere on the couch with Dad and it may still be on his lap. Side note: the six year old typically looks for things like any creature with a penis: by keeping one eye on the television and scanning a large, general area with the other eye, while simultaneously yelling to the closest female that he can't find it.
Knowing this, I clarify that it may be underneath Dad and he can just ask Dad to move a bit so he can find it.
The conversation that I might have heard would go something like this:
 "Dad, can you lift up a bit I gotta find J's shoe."
"Oh, here it is. It was under him."
But...... here's the monologue I actually heard (word for word, seriously.)
"Dad. (pause to look at the T.V.) Dad! Can you open your butt?"
Repeats this, as Dad does not hear or perhaps is pretending to sleep extra soundly because he has no idea how to respond to this request...
Dad finally shifts a bit and sure enough the shoe was right underneath him somewhere near his crotch.
"I got it! His penis was on it..."
PLEASE UNDERSTAND my husband was entirely clothed during this search!!

While today I appreciate and giggle about the frank and literal thinking that resulted in that ridiculous scene, I am still cringing from the day in the grocery store two years ago when he heard someone say something about her mother's angina and announced to the customers in our line and the next that his "mom has a ba-gina."


  1. The monologue was PERFECT! That is too funny. As a teacher you will appreciate the time my older son was asked, by his teacher, to write a sentence using the word "fur". Here was his sentence, "My dad had lots and lots of fur on his butt."
    The teacher called us in because it was so disruptive when he read it in class and when my husband showed up to the meeting, she was SO embarrassed to have to show him! It was hilarious!