“Damn, this looks good!”

These are the words that came enthusiastically pouring out of my daughter’s mouth last night at dinnertime.  She was really excited to eat, apparently.  Actually, it was more like “daaayuum, this looks good.”

Four faces turned toward her with open mouths.  

“Meems, what did you say?”

She immediately sensed that she might be in trouble, so she was hesitant to answer.  “Damn, this looks good?”  Downplaying the damn.

Her brothers came down on her disbelief that she had said a cuss word.  My husband and I looked at each other all agog (what a great word!) and then giggled (inappropriately) out of pure shock.  She immediately burst into tears and hung her head. “I didn’t know it was a bad word,” she sobbed.

It’s true.  The kid, who just turned 9, is quite possibly the most naïve child on the planet.  She still thinks the “S” word is “stupid.”  Bless her heart.  Why tell her the truth?  

But, maybe I should.  What if she’d said that at a friend’s house?  She’s old enough that I’m sure the parents wouldn’t think it was an accidental, I-don’t-know-what-this-means slip.  If I tell her, I run the risk of her saying the words when she’s trying to be funny (she thinks constantly pushing the envelope is hilarious).  If I don’t, I run the risk of embarrassing her.  But how do you have that conversation with your child?  “Honey, the “S” word isn’t “stupid” it’s “sh--.”  Also, the “F” word isn't fudge, it’s “F---.”  Shudder.

Her brothers learned the words, unfortunately, from other neighborhood boys.  This is what happens when you ride the bus.  With boys.  

She said she didn’t know where she’d heard that word, said that way.  She probably overheared it from one of us when we thought no children were around.  How is it that they can hear you when you’re whispering something they’re not supposed to hear in another room, yet can’t seem to hear you when you’re standing right in front of them NOT whispering?  But I believe her.  The child can NOT lie.  And she was so genuinely distraught, it made your heart break wide open.

We assured her we weren’t angry, as long as we never hear her say it again.  Of course, an entire conversation ensued about “what if you’re talking about a beaver/river dam” and the appropriate and proper usage of the word.  For example, it’s not OK to say “river dam that’s nice” or “beaver dam it!” 

Because, yes, my children will try that.  


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