Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bad Words

Background: recently we checked The Gas We Pass Or The Story of Farts out of the library. Captain Adorable loves this book and requests that I read it to him often. In fact he asked me to read it on his birthday while his great-grandma was here. She covered her mouth and laughed during the entire book. Capt. Adorable Observed this closely and has brought it up a couple of times since then.

This evening we were on our way back from a story time event at his school and we were talking about Oma and Opa's arrival tomorrow. He said he was looking forward to reading Walter The Farting Dog with them. I said they might also enjoy The Gas We Pass and he responded that he hoped Oma would not put her hand over her mouth the whole time like last time. I reminded him that that was his great-grandma, not Oma! He wanted to know why great-grandma covered her mouth, so I attempted to explain. I said she probably thought it was funny, and maybe she thought it was funny because when she was young, 'fart' was a bad word. He asked what was a bad word (a term he had never heard before) and I explained that some words are considered bad because they are rude. He asked me to tell him some bad words. In my head I ran through the list: the f-word, the s-word, the b-word, the n-word, words that maybe aren't bad words, like queer and fag but not words I'd ever want my darling to say, and aloud I laughed and said no!

I thought as quickly as I could and headed off his next 'why' by telling him that words have the power you give them. If you use a word to hurt people then it is a rude word, a bad word. He wanted to know like what, so I said that some times people who wear glasses get made fun of. Others might call them four-eyes or blind or bat or mole. We know that 'bat' and 'mole' are not bad words, but when used in that way, used to hurt, they are rude and therefore they are bad words. When you use a word as a weapon, it becomes a bad word (like the n-word or queer or fag or bitch or so many others). He said he understood.

I explained that sometimes a word can be a bad word because it is too private. Some people consider the word penis to be a bad word. Like so many other times I said that his penis is only for him, for no one else to see or touch. Because the penis is private some people do not even like to say the word because saying it brings them too close. I asked if he knew what I meant and he said yes. I explained that people have made up lots of other names to call a penis because they don't want to say 'penis' and I told him a few of those (he thought the idea of calling a penis 'cock,' like rooster, was quite silly!). I suggested he ask Daddy if he wanted to hear more.

Then we talked about how some words have more than one meaning and that words are fun. I declared, "I love words...maybe that is why I talk so much," and was rewarded with, "maybe you should not love words and maybe you should not talk so much, Mama." I laughed, said ok and was silent for the rest of the drive home (which was, fortunately, only about 1/4 of a mile).

Once we got home we sat together in our fabulous glider and I read the latest issue of Ladybug to him. Then it was bedtime.

1 comment:

Diana said...

You always come up with such thoughtful ways of explaining difficult things to him. I'm going to stockpile all of 'em and whip them out when it's my baby's turn. -laugh-