Friday, November 22, 2013


Aerie and I have been working on a reasonable profanity policy for Thumper. Or should that be capitalized? Profanity Policy? I don't know. Anyway, we want him to understand not only that they are just words, just sounds that our mouths make that stand for ideas, but also that they have powerful potential to affect people's emotions. It comes down to knowing your audience and knowing that some words will deeply offend some people, so it's best not to use them all willy nilly. Complicated stuff for a 6 year old. Mostly he just loves the thrill of being allowed to say forbidden words out loud in front of his parents.

Case in point: while driving 20 minutes to the cool toy store (that's the new, second location of All Things Kids, for those of you keeping score) to buy a birthday present for a friend, we listened to my iPod on shuffle. iPod on shuffle often leads to  interesting conversations. Today, "Little Lion Man" by Mumford & Sons popped up.

"Did he say a bad word?"


"Did it end with 'ck'?"


"Did it start with 'fu'?"


"Did it have four letters?"


"Oh, like [neighborhood kid] said. His mom got really mad, and I had to come home so she could yell at him some more."

"What did he say?"

"He said, 'What the fuck did you do to your face?'" [This after Thumper spectacularly wiped out jumping off the furniture and gave himself an angry red rug burn on his chin.]

"Yeah, that's why you have to be careful with words like that. You should always assume it's going to make somebody mad, unless you know ahead of time that it's not. Like you should never ever sing this song at school, OK?"

"I would NEVER do that!"

But he does get an incredible electric jolt of excitement out of being able to say to his dad, "He said, 'What the fuck did you do to your face?'"

Then "Andrew in Drag" by The Magnetic Fields came on, and things got even more complicated. Did you know that "shag" means some of the same things that "fuck" does, but people in this country don't use it very much and don't really consider it a bad word? I know! Language is weird!

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