Can I Say?

I pick Eddie up from school every single day. A couple days a week he stays late and goes to the after school program so I can can stay late in my classroom. The other three days I brave the dumb school parking lot and get him right after school. Every day I ask him how his day was. Every day we end up chatting during the short, three-mile drive home. His booster seat is in the middle in the back seat with Charlie’s carseat directly behind the driver and Alice’s carseat behind the passenger side. During our chats, I can glance up and see his little face full on in my rear view mirror.

Our conversations range from the mundane to the exceptional. We have talked about both math and God on these drives. But it’s one of our most recent conversation about language that I wanted to share today.

Eddie: Mom today I learned about swear words.
Me: Come again? What?
Eddie: I learned that “shitty” is a swear word. It is, right?
Me: Um. Yeah. It is. May I ask how you learned this?
Eddie: Well. We were in our groups and we were doing word cards and I said the word “city” with and “sh” on the front.
Me: Why?
Eddie: Because I got mixed up and thought “ci” sounds like “sh”. But later Mrs. D told me that “city” with an “sh” on the front is actually a swear word and I should probably not say it. So is it? Is “shitty” a swear word?
Me: Uh. Yes. Yes it is.
Eddie: but “shit” is not, right?
Me: Well, yeah. That is a swear word too.
Eddie: Oh. Ok.

We ride along in silence for a couple seconds and then…

Eddie: Mom?
Me: Yeah?
Eddie: Who says swear words anyway? I mean, I know we’re not supposed to say them because they are bad, but they are words, so someone must say them, right?
Me:  Usually adults. When they are angry.
Eddie: Do you say swear words?
Me: I have. Yes.
Eddie: But they are for adults to say? Because they are bad?
Me: Yeah. They are just not nice. They are pretty ugly and you only say them when your feelings are ugly.
Eddie: Like when your classes don’t listen and you have a bad day?
Me: No….even uglier and angrier and sadder.
Eddie: Like when someone dies? Yeah, I would think death would be shitty.
Me: Yes. Yes it is.
Eddie: Ok mom. I promise not to say it. Not until I am an adult.

The very next day, on the way home.

Eddie: Mom?
Me: Yes, Bud?
Eddie: Did you know I am the only kid in first grade who can’t say “fart?”
Me: I doubt that.
Eddie: Well, all of my friends say it. And they laugh when I call it a “toot”.
Me: Why are you guys even talking about that anyway? Bathroom talk is not for school.
Eddie. Mom.
Me: What?
Eddie: We talk about it at recess. Not in class. (and I actually looked up in time here to see the massive eye roll you are probably imagining.)
Me: Well what should we do?
Eddie: I should be allowed to say “fart”
Me: But daddy and I don’t think that little kids sound very nice when they use that language.
Eddie: Well I am not a little kid. I’m almost seven AND almost a 2nd grader.
Me: But you have a little brother and sister who are little kids. If you start talking like that, they will do what you do.
Eddie: Do you and dad say the word “fart”?
Me: Yes. But not in front of you guys.
Eddie: Ok. How about I am allowed to use the word “fart” with my friends, but not at home because it’s a “friends word only”.
Me: Huh. Ok. I guess that would be Ok.

When we get home from school, Eddie is allowed to watch Netflix for an hour. Just this week he asked me if he could watch a “not cartoon show”. It’s called Mighty Med.


The show is about these two comic book fans who find this secret entrance into a hospital for superheros. They end up getting jobs there and hilarity ensues. The thing is, the kids are all high school-aged which means they use words like “fart” and “butt” and other things that are not bad (I mean, it’s Disney, after all), but it’s not something I want to hear my four-year-old saying. So since Eddie and I had discussed “fart” as being a “friends only” word, we also talked about how this show is for after school when his younger siblings are not around.

Eddie then asked if this is why he and Charlie and Alice had different profiles on Netflix–to keep their shows separate. And I said, yes. That is exactly why.

I know he feels pretty special being the oldest and having the privilege of using “friends only” words and watching shows that The Littles are not allowed to watch. I feel pretty awesome knowing he feels comfortable enough to talk these things over with me.

Hopefully our lines of communication will always be this open, although I am going to guess he will use the word “shitty” before he’s an adult.


China Misunderstandings

About four months ago, Eddie inquired as to why I sit when I pee prompting my very brief and simple explanation that girls do not have penises.  Apparently his mind then assumed we ladies pee out of our butts, so I needed to tell him about vaginas.  There was no “show and tell” or anything, I just said girls do not have a penis that hangs out like boys have, we have vaginas and we need to sit or peeing would be very, very messy.

Other than his randomly peeking around the corner of the bathroom door at me when I was peeing, he let that explanation be enough.


Eddie has started to ask “is this for boys or for girls?” about almost everything.

If you know me at all, this question makes me simultaneously sad and angry. Gender stereotypes at this age are, at best, annoying.

Our answer is “if you like it, it’s for YOU.”

We try to discourage anything being “for boys” of “for girls” at this age.

(don’t even get me started on how I almost lectured a poor McDonald’s’ drive thru worker for asking if the happy meal I ordered was for a boy or a girl. I’m not proud of that momma snap moment).

Anyway, Eddie has a lot of girls he plays with at daycare–his best friend is a girl–and he loves princesses, purple, and tiaras.  He also loves dinosaurs, monster trucks, and trains.

It’s all good, yo.

But it is a constant, conscious effort on my and Cort’s part to make sure he knows that we support his interests no matter what they are.


Eddie has a responsibility chart.

Each night while he brushes his teeth, we go down the chart.  If he has done a good job with each “task” he gets a magnetic smile face:

“Did you get dressed on your own?  Did you clean up your toys?  Did you say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’?  Did you use your listening ears?  Did you get ready for bed?”

If he gets all his smile faces for a week, he gets to pick a treat.

A few weeks ago he did it and picked going to the donut shop with Cortney.  They got their treats, and sat at a table chatting and eating.  When they were about done, Eddie asked for a quarter to get a cheap piece of crap prize out of one of those bubble gum-looking machines.

Since Cort is much nicer than I am, he gave Eddie a quarter.  The prize?  A pink ring.

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Eddie turned it over and looked at it and asked Cortney what it said.

“Made in China.”

Eddie took it back, frowned and thrust it at Cort.

“I don’t want this. It’s just for girls!

Cort sighed and asked him why he thought that, prepared to once again explain that pink is NOT just for girls if he likes it.

“Because, dad.  Only girls have chinas!”

“Um. Ok.  Tell your mother about that,” Cort replied as he shoved the ring in his pocket.


I tried to explain to Eddie that CHINA is a place and a VAGINA is what girls have.

He didn’t seem convinced that I knew what I was talking about.

And then, later that day, we were listening to the Sofia the First soundtrack’s song “Blue Ribbon Bunny”.

I dig up a tasty gourmet lunch
and serve it on china
’cause when we’re talkin’ ’bout food my friend
there’s nobody fina!

And then Eddie asked me if Clover was a girl since he is singing about his ‘china.

I think I have to wave my white flag.

I just…I can’t anymore.

and then Eddie learned the word “awkward”.

I was lounging on our couch tucked up next to Cort one evening this weekend.

Charlie was on the floor laughing at his feet.

Eddie decided to climb up on the couch next to me.

He started to stroke my lower leg.

It was…awkward.  And so I said with a giggle, “Eddie. Cut it out.  That is awkward.”

He just smiled and kept doing it…and then he started tickling.

My retaliation was to cow bite his leg.  Of course he started laughing so hard he hardly made a sound.  When he could finally catch his breath he yelled, “DON’T MOM!  THAT’S AWKWARD!”

Funny.  But not the end of the story.

Later that weekend we were at a friend’s house, and Eddie says in front of everyone…

“Hey mom, remember when you did that awkward thing to me on the couch?”


Yes, there was uncomfortable silence.

Along with Cort snorting because he was laughing so hard.

Thanks for the back up, dude.

It should be clear that I most certainly did NOT do anything “awkward” to my 3-year old son.  Other than teach him the word “awkward” without a clear lesson on how to use said word.

God and avocados

On the drive home from daycare yesterday…

“Mom? Did you have a great day?”

“I sure did, Bud. Did you?”

“yeah I did.  me and Cha-ee had a great day!”

“Well great!”

“Mom? Who put dat twee dare?” (Who put that tree there?)

“Well I suppose maybe someone planted it there.  Or maybe God put it there.”

“God puts da twees pwaces?” (God puts the trees places?)

“He does.  And he made the grass and the flowers and the bugs and the animals…”

“And wood? God make wood?”


“And God made mailboxes?”

“Sure, bud.”

“Wow.  God is…a pweeeety busy guy, mom.” (a preeeeetty busy guy)

“He sure is Ed. He sure is.”


“yeah, bud?”

“Does God have a back pack for he lunch?”


And if that conversation wasn’t enough, less than an hour later I gave the baby avocado for the first time.

not my most shining solo-parenting decision.

Things are going well so far.

Extremely exhausting and different, but good.

Thank you for believing in me.