Out of the Mouths of Babes: #$@&!

I learned two important parenting lessons this week. The first was this: Always expect the unexpected. Especially around 3:07pm when you are picking up your kid from school.

Case in point …

The other day I had just kissed E’s soft cheek as he sat down in the car when he announced, “I learned a new bad word at school.”

I immediately thought, Oo-kay. Well, it can’t be that bad. 

After all, the bad word the munchkins discovered last year was stupid (yes, we are a sheltered family), and the bad word they heard last week was dummy (which I found out wasn’t so bad because they were actually referring to a wooden puppet).

So I really wasn’t feeling one bit worried when I asked, “What is it?”

“#$@&!” E answered in his oh-so-sweet-and-innocent 8 year old voice.

Image courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages/freedigitalphotos.net

O.M.G. As soon as I heard the word, my eyebrows shot up and a whole chorus of bells, whistles and alarms went off in my body. This was NOT the word I had been expecting. Far, far, FAR from it. Like a billion, KAZILLION miles away from it.

Since this word does not bear repeating, I will give you a hint as to what came out of my dear son’s mouth. It sounds like duck (which was exactly what I wanted to do at that point – duck and cover!) and rhymes with luck (which I had certainly run out of in that moment).


As I relayed the whole conversation to hubby later that night, I demanded (in a whisper so as not to let the kids hear us), “Why do I always get stuck with these crazy questions?!”

Hubby replied with a hint of a smile, “Because God knows you’re better at answering them than me.”

Grrr. Um, thanks?

The good thing though about having experience dealing with deep theology questions, sweat-inducing birds-and-the-bees questions and now, wild profanity-laced questions is that I’ve become quite good at putting on a poker face. And keeping an even tone of voice. You’d almost think I was talking about the weather instead of a four-letter swear word with my second grader.


So how did my conversation with E turn out? Something like this (from what my traumatized brain can remember):

Me: Which friend said that? Does your friend know what it means?

E: N said it when we were eating lunch. P heard it before. K didn’t know it. They spelled the word out. Someone wanted to tell the teacher but he didn’t. The teacher almost heard it cause she was standing really close. Do you say it to someone? N said, “I am not a #$@&!.” (Thank you dear son for saying the word AGAIN.)

Me: Oh, I don’t think he knows what it means. But yeah, it’s something you say to someone when you are upset, but we don’t ever want to say it. It’s okay to know about the word, but both kids and adults should not say it.

C (who was listening to our conversation the whole time!): But then why did someone make up the word if it’s bad?

Good question, my dear baby of the family (whom at age 5 has heard the #$@&! word TWICE now). I actually didn’t have an answer for that. Cause in all honesty, words are words, but it’s their meanings which lead people to smile or faint. And thank God my munchkins know more words of the former kind than the latter.

Phew. AIYA. (As you can imagine, I’m still recovering from this incident.)

As I mentioned earlier, I learned two parenting lessons this week. So, what was the second lesson? It’s this: Relationship over comfort. As much as I dislike having to address these “interesting” topics with my munchkins, I value every cringeworthy moment. Why? Because I’m glad I’m available to listen to their questions, even if I don’t have all of the answers. But, most of all, I am thankful they feel comfortable and safe enough to have these crazy conversations with their mama.

Sigh. Let’s just hope my poker face holds up during their teenage years. 😉

What better song to go with this post than Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”? LOL. Here’s a nice instrumental (piano) version of it.

What crazy conversations do you remember having with your parents or have you had with your kids?


  1. Amy says:

    Ha! Oh boy, that would be a shock to hear! You are a good momma for staying calm and explaining, not just flying off the handle…good work. 🙂

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