Stupid Stupid

Caryn: I’ve written before about me not being a good mom. At least, not in the sense of being the sort of mom to whom others look for guidance or advice or wisdom. I’m a good mom in that I love my kids and am snuggling a crabby two-year-old on my lap as I type and am not reaching for my coffee because I don’t want to disturb this precious moment. But, I do a lot of things “wrong.”

Case in point: The other night I was telling a group of people about how my snuggly two-year-old is on a kick where he calls everything “stupid.” I was laughing as I shared examples of how I’ll say, “We’re going to Target.” And he’ll go, “No, that’s stupid.” Or how I’ll say, “Let’s get some lunch.” And he’ll go, “Lunch is stupid.” Honestly, it’s darling and it cracks me up.

But as I shared this—me laughing—I looked around at the faces. Total horror. One mom said, “How awful. Let’s hope he gets this out of his system before he gets to school.”

And I was reminded of how “stupid” is on the banned words list among many parents. I still don’t know why.

With the exception of calling another person “stupid” (particularly if that other person actually IS stupid) or being TOO disrespectful, I’ve never gotten the big deal with this word and kids. Maybe it’s because my kids are hilarious—and sharp–and want them to grow up being laughed at (in a good way). Maybe it’s because I say “stupid” all the time and think it’s a fantastic word. Very workable. Tons of things (and people) ARE stupid and I see little wrong with it.

So I thought this might be something to address here….What are the things that we’re cool with that might horrify others?

Carla: A friend of mine once told me she doesn’t let her kids read “Max and Ruby” books because they use the “s-word.” It was the first time I’d ever heard of that word being ban-worthy. I mean, I don’t want my kids calling other people stupid and we crack down when they use it to refer to each other, but it’s not like other “s-words” they could be using.

There’s a whole list of words like this, words that don’t bother me in the least that I worry are offensive to other people. Like butt. We call the rear end of a human being a butt. Not a bottom, not a behind, not a fanny, a butt. Sometimes it’s a tush, but only because that’s such a cute word and it suites the cuteness of my children’s butts. Anyway, I’m always a little taken aback when I hear parents “correct” their kids when they use a word like butt. I used to check myself because I figured it was me who was too lenient. Now? Well now I don’t really care. We say butt. Get over it.

As for things we think are cool that might be horrifying to other parents… where to start? Probably with The Simpsons. We don’t watch it often because it’s on while we’re at church (how fitting!), but when our oldest was a preschooler, we watched it all the time. And she watched it with us. And we laughed and laughed. Someone gave Emily a Marge Simpson doll and she carried it everywhere for a few months. She even brought it with her to the communion rail one Sunday. It was a proud moment for us. And lest anyone be horrified by a preschooler at the communion rail, it was an Episcopal church and they like that sort of thing.

Caryn: We say butt. When we’re not using what I thought was a Spanish word, but recently found out was totally made up by Rafi’s aunt. But that’s neither here nor there. With so much of this, it’s about usage and intent. Like, while I was just making dinner, my son was mocking my daughter for her pronounciation of “Messiah.” So I had to ban the word Messiah.

They asked if they could talk about Satan, then. I said sure. So now they’ve made up a nice song about “Satan Down in Hell.” It’s lovely. I’m sure they’ll someday see your Marge Simpson at the Lord’s Table and raise you a nice busted-out rendition of “Satan Down in Hell.” You think the Episcopalians can deal with THAT (Jen, can they?)?

But really, people, what are the things you are cool with that raise eyebrows elsewhere?

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