Tuesday, October 09, 2007


It never fails. Every time one of my children starts kindergarten, they learn a whole new vocabulary. It is always a very undesirable vocabulary.

I often wonder what it is like at the homes of the children who teach my kids words that I do not want them to repeat. I am always amazed to hear cussing come from any child, but especially from a kindergartner. Surely those sweet faces do not understand those words coming out of their mouths.

When I was in elementary school I learned a new word. I had no idea what it meant but I noticed that a lot of people said it or wrote it on walls in the school restrooms. One day I found a piece of chalk and decided to try that word out. Since it always seemed to be coupled with some one's name, I picked Jamie who was a boy who lived across the street. On every square of the sidewalk on one side of my street I wrote "Jamie is a _____________". I think my mom found out from a neighbor what was going on and came running out to stop me just as my chalk was running out. My daddy was the ward bishop, and there was his oldest daughter writing profanity all over the neighborhood.

The first thing my mom did was give me a scrub brush and a bucket of soapy water and make me scrub those words off of every single square of sidewalk. That night she sat me down and told me all of the swear words that she knew so I would know them, too, and never use them. I can remember feeling horrified that the word I had used was not a compliment. I went back outside the next morning to make sure none of the words on the sidewalk could be seen.

With that lesson burned into my brain, I thought I was prepared when DS#1 came home from kindergarten and saying the Lord's name in vain. I sat him down and told him all of the words, just like my mom had. I explained very calmly how we don't use those words. We even talked about the commandment that says Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain. I did every thing just like my mom did and expected things to turn out the same way.

DS#1 still said the Lord's name in vain. I tried to teach him to say "Oh wow". I took away privileges. Nothing seemed to help.

It turns out that a little Tabasco on the tongue worked great.

This same procedure went by the book with DS#2 and DS#3. Explanation, removal of privilege, Tabasco. I ended up doing Tabasco every time.

Today I picked up DD from kindergarten. She usually runs out the door, arms open wide, yelling "MOMMY!!!" (which makes my day, by the way.) Today she ran out the door, backpack flapping, huge artwork in hands, and yelled "OH MY HECK!" I am proud of myself for keeping a straight face while DD's aide and teacher both tried to cover laughs. What do I do with this? Nothing for now. In the meantime, everything is "OH MY HECK!" this and "OH MY HECK!" that.

We had her favorite mashed potatoes for dinner. "OH MY HECK!"

DS#3 was practicing his handwriting and did a perfect 'e'. "OH MY HECK!"

I told DD it was time for bed. "OH MY HECK!"

I have got to stop this somehow. Quickly. Before it rubs off on the rest of the family.

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