Monday, 30 April 2012

Daddy, What Does &$@*# Mean?

I’m firmly middle-class and Christian. And while I drop the odd swear-word (usually in traffic), our household is neither a prissy one nor a cussin’ one.

But we live in a colorful world and speak a colorful language. So I wasn’t entirely surprised when my 7-year-old  asked me one morning, “Daddy, what does c**t mean?”

This is the lad who – as a first-grader – was advised by a second-grader to Google-search images of “boys having sex with girls”! So this is not the first time we’ve had to navigate these waters…

But I must admit, I had one of those “How do I field this one?” moments.

When in doubt, I’ve tried to make it a policy to be affirming and answer the question as simply as possible, while adding my own message. Sometimes, I’ve gotten it horribly wrong, sounding like a cross between Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner. This time, it went a little something like this:

Me: “Where’d you hear that? …

Him: "I dunno."

Me: "Ok, well, first, it’s probably the rudest word there is and us Aldins don’t say that. Second, you asked me what does the word mean. Well, do you know what a vagina is? No? (Quick matter-of-fact anatomy lesson follows...) So this word is a rude word for that like d**k (I knew he knew that word) is for penis, but worse. Does that answer your question? … Ok. Mate, I’m really glad you asked me ’cause if you’d asked your teacher or Grandma … (then I ham up a horrified-old-woman-reaction – sorry Grandma – it gets some laughs) – You can always ask me anything, buddy.”

Him: “Ok, Dad and I won’t say that word. Ever.”

And five years later, he never has... my knowledge...

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