Monday, May 31, 2010

Do they make 'bad word' flash cards?

Why didn't George Carlin write "7 Words You Can't Say on the Playground?" Wouldn't that be great for parents? Maybe the Wiggles could sing them in a song. Dora could teach the Spanish versions of them. A whole Hannah Montana episode could focus around them...something. Otherwise, how am I going to teach my kid "bad words?"

Am I supposed to make bad word flash cards for her now that she can read? That's not a horrible idea but I embarrass rather easily and don't know that I could write them. Does Hasbro or Mattel sell something like that?

I didn't know how little Syd has heard until she repeated a story to me this morning. She was watching "Everybody Hates Chris" on Nick Jr and said that every time something went wrong, the mom said, "Bamn."



I was relieved at first to know that she didn't hear it right. It's hard to notice a word you've never heard before. Then it hit me. Maybe I've protected her too much from TV approved profanity.

I first saw Carlin's list of 7 words when I was 19 years old and working at a small radio station in college. I didn't know what two of the 7 were. One was a compound word and by breaking them apart and assuming, I figured it out. But there was a one syllable word I'd simply never heard before. I pointed to the word and asked my cousin who also worked there, "What's that?" His face turned red. Another coworker asked what we were doing. He couldn't believe there was a word on the list I didn't know. I pointed to it and he couldn't bring himself to tell me either. They went to our boss. "Ronna doesn't know one of the words on the list," they said. He was amused. He would tell me. I showed him the word and he simply walked away with a bright red face. It was like I was actually living the "Zots" story we told as an epic joke when I was a kid. It took me about six months to track down a nursing student with a medical dictionary to help me figure out that word.

So now my kid is the same way. True, she's only 7. But by her age, I'd heard just about all the common profanities (including a few from Carlin's list) because I grew up in a neighborhood full of older boys. And 5 uncles -- two of which were teens when I was young and impressionable. I don't remember anyone ever saying them intentionally when I was around, but I overheard a lot as a kid. And I knew if I was overhearing it, I probably shouldn't repeat it.

I had the bad word talk with Syd when she started watching the older shows on Nick Jr. I explained that the shows used some language that we simply don't say, words that would get her in trouble if she said them at school or around friends. If she had any question as to what a word means, she is to ask us.

Lucky for me she knows exactly what "Bamn!" means.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Summer stink

Summer vacation has officially begun and that means on thing -- so has the summer stink.

Syd's idea of summer vacation is not doing anything, including hygiene. Couple that with the heat, afternoons full of kickball and bubble blowing, and the result is one stinky kid.

I learned today how to get her into the shower without argument.

She was outside blowing bubbles for the puppy to pop. She said, "There's this flying bug that keeps flying around me."

"It's because you're stinky. The stinkier you get, the more bugs that will swarm around you."

That did it. No pleading or begging. She got into the shower without a fight.

I don't remember hating cleanliness so much when I was seven. I asked my mom if I'd ever acted that way, but she never answered. Instead, she talked about when she was a kid.

"When I was a kid, we worked so hard all day long that it felt good to get a bath. Our legs hurt so bad that the warm water helped."

My mom was not only Prescrunchistoric, she was Searsandroebuckhistoric. That refers to an era where the Sears and Roebuck catalog had multiple uses.

One use was for a source of fashion. My mom and her sisters would pick out clothing from the catalogs, then Grandma would make the dress for them. Often without a pattern because Grandma was cool like that.

Another use for the Sears & Roebuck catalog was for toys. Mom and her sisters cut out the women models and cut out various outfits for them, making their own paper dolls. They'd put the paper dolls in a dresser drawer when not playing with them. Sometimes, snakes would get in the drawer and rattle the paper dolls.

The third and arguably most important use for the Sears & Roebuck catalog was for toilet paper. I've heard this all my life and have tried to imagine the effectiveness of glossy paper as a toilet tissue. I finally saw an old catalog a few years ago and it makes a little more sense now. The catalogs of the Searsandroebuckhistoric period were of a thin, not glossy paper. It made a little more sense, but didn't sound comfortable regardless.

I guess the biggest toilet paper difference between my generation and my daughter's is that Mr. Whipple used to pimp out Charmin when I was a kid. He policed the TP aisles to make sure no one was squeezing the Charmin.

Now, it's cartoon bears. I really don't understand the appeal, but apparently the marketing gurus know what they're doing. From the time Sydney was three, she's asked specifically for Charmin Ultra because it's what the bears use.

We were on the paper products aisle one day when I was feeling especially cheap. I was determined to buy a cheaper brand. I tried to break Syd of her TP preference by telling her that when Mamaw was a little girl, they used pages of old catalogs for toilet paper. They didn't have super soft Charmin Ultra.

She got that look on her face. The one where she expects me to hand her a catalog to put the TP holder.

"You know, we don't get catalogs except for the party supply ones," she said. "And I'm marking stuff I want to order for my birthday parties in there." She does. She's got parties planned until she's 14.

I explained that we weren't going to use magazine pages, but I was only trying to point out that toilet paper doesn't have to feel like a quilt on your booty to do its job effectively.

"But the bears use less of the Charmin Ultra because it's thicker," she said.

Thanks, marketing gurus.

This Prescrunchistoric mom has bought it ever since.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My kid said the "F" word

Not that "F" word. The other one. The one that refers to the passing of gas.

I hate that word.

To me, the other "F" word is better. It starts with a sliding consonant and ends with a plosive that just halts the word. It's over. Done. It's been said. You can't take it back, but it didn't take long to say.

Not like this "F" word. The "ar" in the middle just drags out. This is a slo-mo "F" word that kids think is funny. Especially when they see an adult cringe when it is spoken.

I'm trying to act like it doesn't bother me, but my poker face is lousy. She sees right through it.

Thanks, Nickelodeon. Glad you could work my least favorite word into a cartoon.

I was thinking about this word I hate and it reminded me of another time Syd said something. Accidentally. But it was one of those things she kept repeating over and over and over. In public, of course.

We are an info-mercial family. Syd is a marketing sponge. That's why we use Charmin Ultra, drink CapriSun, and why she desperately wants a Rocket Fishing Rod. But the thing that really grabbed her attention a few years back was the Shed Ender. She was super excited to see it in the #6 checkout display at our local Walmart.

I can't even phonetically spell how she said it, although I'm laughing just thinking about it. All the d's were turned to t's and Ender somehow sounded like Eater. And as she kept pointing it out, she kept repeating it.


It's always loud when a kid is excited. This time was no different.

People were starting to look so I leaned down and whispered in her little ear, "It's Shed Ender, sweetie."

"That's what I said!" And naturally she began saying it again. And again.

All we could do was snicker. When she told the cashier that Roman and Lacy would certainly use one of those products, Jim turned away to bust out a good laugh. He regained composure quickly. The cashier thought we were horrible people, but hopefully thought we were this kid's aunt and uncle, not mom and dad. Aunts and uncles can get away with stuff like that.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Apple Cashew?

I met a little girl on Saturday afternoon at a church youth ice cream party. She'll be 2 next month and was so smart. I was amazed and saddened at how self-sufficient this little girl was. She's in the foster care program and has probably learned to fend for herself out of necessity.

She came to me at one point and handed me a huge bubble wand, the kind that makes super big bubbles. Then, she patted the driveway.

I wasn't really sure what she wanted, but we went to blow bubbles. I heard my own daughter call out so I turned to see what she needed. Another nearby adult gasped, but couldn't stop what was happening. The little girl took the bubble solution tray off the small table it was on and put it on the driveway. Naturally, soap was everywhere. She tapped my leg, pointed to the tray (that was virtually empty at this point), then squatted to pat the driveway.


So that's what she wanted. I've never been really good at interpretation like that.

It reminded me of a time when Sydney was just a little older than that. She had only been 2 for a couple of months when we piled in on Mom while our house was under renovation. The great thing was that my mom and aunt lived side by side and Syd got to play with her cousin Faith when she visited her Mimi (my aunt).

Every afternoon, Syd and Faith would go out to the driveway and play in a pile of gravel and in the driveway sand. They'd take their plastic buckets and shovels and play until we had to drag them kicking and screaming away.

One day, Sydney came to me and asked, "Apple cashew?"

She'd never eaten anything made of apples and cashews so I wasn't sure what she was talking about.

I asked her to repeat it again. She got in my face and moved her little mouth slowly, "Ap-ple ca-shew?"

I began wondering if it was something she'd seen on The Wiggles. They were always singing songs about fruit salad and such. Or maybe Dora. But all I could recall from Dora was the chocolate tree. I had no idea where apple cashews came from.

So I got my mom. I told Syd to tell Mamaw what she had told me.

"Apple cashew?"

Mom looked puzzled. "Did she say 'apple cashew'?"


Poor kid. We did this all afternoon. We had no idea what she wanted and all I could do was apologize for not knowing. She knew I was trying.

Finally, Jim came home from work.

"Tell Daddy what you've been telling me," I said.

"Apple cashew?" She looked at him with hope that had diminished several hours earlier.

He studied her face for a minute then said, "Does my baby want to build a castle?"

She jumped into his arms and hugged him.


It was "I build castle?"

So we took her out to the pile of rocks and sand and we all helped build a castle that day.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I AM better than some people

A cousin's Facebook status one day recently was "I am no better than anyone else." He encouraged his friends to copy and paste it into their status. I started to, but didn't. Something kept me from it.

I totally get what he means. I don't believe I deserve any special consideration since I'm a female. I don't believe my educational background alone should open doors for me. I don't believe it's okay for me to park in handicapped spots because my husband could get me out of the ticket. Blah, blah, blah. In that way, it is true. I am no better than anyone else.

Having said that disclaimer, I do want to say, that I AM better than some people. And it's okay for me to know that.

Fueled with a little anger and feeling verbally "stabby" right now, here's what I believe:

I am better than a drama-driven janitor who is so insecure about her own life that she creates situations for others.

I am better than the parent who day in and day out hears their 7 year old child substitute "w" sounds for "r" and "l" without so much as considering speech therapy.

I am better than the teacher who doesn't insist on speech therapy for kids like above.

I am better than the teacher who leaves one child behind to catch up the others to that child's level.

I am better than the person who believes that the "Leopard Cone Man" is the St. Patrick's Day guy with the pot of gold.


I started this blog for the purpose of recording silly family moments for my daughter to remember as she grows up. But, she'll need to know this stuff, too, so I'm including it here.

Back when I was a kid -- back before scrunchees and liquid soap -- public school was an extension of home. It was a learning experience. And it was positive for the most part. The adults were adults...not big people who still act like children.

There's a phrase: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." That does not always apply. It's always better to be true to yourself.

So,I say to my daughter: if you grow up and discover that your Rome is full of ignorance, pettiness, and small people with smaller minds, for goodness sakes -- don't do as those Romans! Make your own Rome. Be your own emperor and don't let small-minded, stupid people in.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Who sings to a meatloaf?

We were on our way home from a birthday party Friday night when Syd noticed that the radio wasn't registering the name of the song and artist like it usually does. You know -- radio caller ID. I told her that when I was a kid, radios didn't do that. She was amazed. When I really want to flip her out, I'll tell her about 8-tracks.

"What's this song?" she asked.

"Meatloaf: 'I Will Do Anything for Love,'" Jim replied.

A few silent seconds went by, then she said, "That's a crazy name for a song."

It dawned on me then that what she'd heard was "Meatloaf, I Will Do Anything for Love" instead of Meatloaf: "I Will Do Anything for Love."

I laughed til I cried. Jim was explaining to her that Meatloaf was the guy's name. He said the singer's father used to call him that because he thought he was worthless.

Poor meatloaf. Not Meatloaf with a capital M. How is it that a food gets such a bad rap? Is meatloaf so worthless? "Shouldn't that have been Meat Head?" I asked Jim. "You know, that's what Archie Bunker always called his son-in-law."

"Or Meat Ball," chimed Syd. "Or Pork Loaf."

Pork loaf?

"Olive loaf," added Jim.

Most families play travel games like looking at license plates or passing cars. We name loaf varieties.They beat me in that game by far. All I could come up with was pimento loaf.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sugar high

To blame it solely on the sugar would be wrong. I know the horses had something to do with it, too.

We got the invitation to Abby's birthday party on Monday. I picked it up in the mail on my way to get Syd from school and let her open it on the way home. It was a horse invitation and the party was going to be at the rodeo arena Friday night. Didn't take her long to figure out what they'd be doing at the party.

"I get to ride a horse! Horsey horsey horsey! Horse horse horse. Horsey horsey horsey horse." That lasted for the trip home, 15 miles. I was really glad I made her watch Mr. Ed with me once. She interrupted her chant with a short rendition of that theme song: "A horse is a horse of course of course and horses can't talk unless of course the horse you are talking about is a horse named Mr. Ed."


Friday night finally arrived and the party was a blast. Syd got to ride the horses twice before dinner and cake was served. The hot dog was a hit as well as the cake Chelsey made for her little sister.

After eating, Syd jumped off bleachers, ran in circles, jumped just to jump, climbed a fence, sneaked in another horse ride or two...talking the entire time. Sometimes there was no one else around her.

As we said our goodbyes, Jim corralled Syd. She ran circles around him while she talked. Then she skipped circles around him. Then she ran again. Just as I was trying to figure out where he gets that kind of patience, he blurted out, "Just how much sugar was in that frosting?"

We all laughed. Except Syd. She was still running in circles.

Sugar high? Maybe. Horse high? Definitely.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Friendships that don't pass the yo-yo test

In my life things go one way -- and it's always the way I don't expect it to go. I'm finally letting go of my optimism and accepting this as fact. I learned this lesson from those stupid yo-yos.

Remember my previous gripe that a self-esteem program was pimping yo-yos at Syd's school? I checked the products out on the NED Program website provided on the handout/order form. The site has only a very brief mission statement, nothing about the importance of today's youth, and features several pages of merchandise for sale. I determined that the products were "jank" after deciding my choice of "crap" and Syd's choice of "suckish" probably weren't good terms to use at school. I figured no one would buy those things.

I figured wrong.

I picked Syd up Friday afternoon and she immediately complained of a horrible headache. On the ride home, the source of the headache was revealed. She'd had a terrible day. Everyone bought those stupid yo-yos.

One little girl in Syd's class wouldn't let her look at the one she'd bought. One of Syd's old classmates from pre-school was taking turns with her yo-yo on the playground with some other girls. Since she isn't in her class this year, they pushed her away and told her she wasn't their friend. The "old friend" from preK let her classmates do the talking. She simply turned her back to Syd.

So thanks, NED Show, for instilling those 3 values your flier (with 50% advertising) says your program promotes:
N--Never give up (focus, persistence)
E -- Encourage others (kindness, shared learning)
D -- Do your best (diligence, excellence)

They say The NED Show is free. It cost my kid a bad day at school and some tears on the ride home. It cost students some wasted instructional time because one teacher had to take the first 20 minutes of the school day to sell more yo-yos this morning. That's right. We got a yo-yo this morning. We were among about 10 kids who bought them today. Kids who get free lunches were in line buying these $6.50 to $15 yo-yos. They're on sale thru Thursday. Know what the school gets out of this? Two free how to yo-yo DVDs (value $7). If someone will ask me next year, I'll pay $7 to keep the NEW Show from returning.