I was doing my dadly duty last week, taking my 7-year-old daughter to a school skating party.
She had missed the previous skating party and was totally jonesing for a skate. She was so eager to go to the party that we were able to hold it over her blackmail-style and get some extra good behavior and chores "or else your not going to get to go skating."
Anyway, we get to the skating rink, put on her skates and let her out on the floor to knock herself out -- not literally of course, she's not a great skater but she only fell two or three times. And with the exception of a quick snack break, she spent pretty much the whole time on shuffling around the skate floor.
Toward the end of the skating party, I was standing on the carpet waiting for her to come out to return the skates. She rolled off the floor and we went over to a bench to change shoes.
She pulls me down to say something into my ear.
"One of those bigger kids out there said the 'F Word'" she said.
I just kind of blinked and I think I may have done a short sigh.
"Well, just don't listen when you hear that," I replied. I was pretty calm. I said it in the same tone you might use when saying "Just remember to wash your face after the dog licks all of the peanut butter off."
You see, I'd done this quick calculation in my mind. I don't want to fly off the handle and make "The F Word" seem like it's this big magical mystery word. I don't want to encourage her to say the word by banning her from uttering it. It's human nature to want to do something that someone tells you you can do.
I didn't want to turn "The F Word" into some kind of forbidden fruit.
But I also want to let her know that I do not approve of her using that word at her age.
But later, when we got home, I know she was still curious. Out of earshot of her Supermodel Mother, she came and whispered in my ear once again...
"Do you know what the F Word is," she asked, as if she were privy to secret information that I didn't have. "Do you want me to tell it to you?"
"No" I said. "I don't want to hear it and I don't want you to say it."
I don't think the issue is over. I'm sure she heard it at school. In subsequent conversations, she implied that one of the boys (Boys... sheesh... don't even get me started!) in her class had been saying it.
Well, I guess first grade is when you start learning these things...
tagged: family, vocabulary, parenting, F Word, first grade, fatherhood