Friday, October 3, 2008

The aggressive and unmannerly mother

The first Friday of every month, the moms of young kids at our church drop the kids off so a group of "old grandmas" (as Frankie calls them) can watch them and we go have breakfast together. Normally we just make a lot of small talk, but today we talked a lot more specifically about problems in parenting. I came away really feeling like the odd mother out. One mom was telling us how her six-year-old daughter is really intimidated by this group of three girls on the playground who say things like "You better run, girl." There was a lot of talk about equipping her daughter with skills to stand up for herself and not rescuing her from situations she'll face her whole life. Right. Your whole life. Because just yesterday I faced down a group of menacing soccer moms who told me I was stinky and I was so tall I ought to be in the fifth grade. I think I was the lone mom there thinking that I would be signing up for playground duty and then getting right down in their little faces and telling them what's what. Forget role-playing how she should tell them "I don't like it when you tell me that you hate to play with me," I think the situation calls for some good old-fashioned ass-kicking. I don't care if they are in first grade. It just means that I could take on all three at once. This may be one of the reasons I should home school.
The other parenting issue about which we parted ways was the use of Bad Words like "stupid," and "pee," and "poop." One mom actually prohibits the use of the words pee and poop even IN REFERENCE TO THE ACTUAL BODILY FUNCTION. Instead, and here is the really STUPID POOPIE-HEADED part, she makes them say "pee-pee" and "poo-poo." Saying it twice makes it less offensive. Who knew. I mean, I am all for curbing the malicious flinging of scatological epithets in anger, but heck, nothing makes Frankie laugh harder than when you yell "Poopie, poopie, poopie!" and make a flatulent sound at the end.
This is not to say I don't believe in good manners. I strictly enforce "yes, please," "no, thank you," "May I have such and such, please?". We teach Frankie to be kind and consider others' feelings. And I don't allow loud shouts of "MINE!" followed by wresting toys from another's arms. But when Frankie told a knock knock joke and the punchline after "Who's there?" was "POOP," I'm sorry but I laughed right along with her.


Molly said...

sylvie has been strictly brought up to say "I need to void my excrement, mommy" or "I am in need of a diaper by which to discharge my urine", so it's hard to relate to your semantic struggles.

leedekam said...

AMEN! We say forbidden words here, too :)