The things a child can absorb amazes me. They can learn so much from their environment and the things around them, especially when you don’t want them to.
The other day I was sitting on my bed watching one of the endless reality shows you can find twenty four hours a day. My daughter was with me, and we were having a great time picking out our favorite contestants. We weeded out one, then another, then one particular guy caught her attention and she asked what I thought of him. I told her I didn’t really like the guy because I thought he was a bit too cocky. My daughter looked at the TV, considering my comment, then peered back at me with her innocent seven year old eyes and said, “Your right dad, that guys a real C#@k!”
I cringed inside then did what any responsible dad would do; I pretended it didn’t happen. I just nodded, trying to keep a straight face, hoping she would forget the whole thing. I think it might have even worked had my wife not poked her head around the corner to shriek, “What was that?!”
Needless to say we turned off the television and we had a long conversation about the proper terms we should use for “Boy Parts.”
It wasn’t really her fault that she gleaned such a word off my comment, it just happened. The innocence of a child combined with a desire to fit in seems to almost beg for such a result. I can still remember singing the Banana name game song when I was a kid but I could never understand why my name was always off limits. I would always start, “Chuck, Chuck, Bo Buck, Banana Fanna Fo…” Well you get the idea.
Even when you try to teach them something the right way, it seems to go badly. When my daughter asked how babies got out of their mommy’s tummy, we did our best to explain things as simply as we could. We went through the G rated version of the process and none of it fazed her in the least. That is, until we got to the part where the baby comes out. As soon as we told her how a baby was born, she looked down at herself, then back up at us with grizzled revulsion and said, “That’s disgusting; I don’t ever want to hear that again!” Then she got up shaking her head in disbelief, and walked out of the room.
I guess it’s not what we say, or even how we say it that matters, it’s all in how our children perceive it. It’s so hard to keep them innocent. I wish my daughter would stay seven forever, but I guess there’s no stopping her from growing up. Creative words will continue sparking interesting conversations, we will no doubt have the birds and bees conversation again, but she will never know the joy of singing the Banana song with her dads name in it. Oh well, such is life.
I would love to hear your Oops stories. Let me have it. Tell me all about the time you said “They said WHAT!”