Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Good bye, D_____"

Dear Em,
I would like to thank our love of reading, & Fancy Nancy in particular, for your growing vocabulary. It makes Daddy & I smirk to hear some of the big words you insert into conversation- perhaps because some of the time you are using the big words in a totally inappropriate context. It's sometimes comical, but it also makes my heart happy to see how you're learning & growing.

Except that sometimes instead of using big words (appropriately or inappropriately), you make up your own words. It wouldn't be that big of a deal except sometimes the words you are making up sound very close to real words that shouldn't be said by sweet, little four year olds. There are times when your made up words are quite small & sound very similar to words like "sh_t" & "f_ck"- words that we don't say in our house.

Daddy & I talked about it a long time ago, & we decided not to make a big deal when you say words that could sound somewhat like swears. We figured that the bigger the deal we made about it, the more you would continue to repeat the sounds. We hoped that by acting like you had just said gibberish, you would move on from the gibberish to real words, & I think that has mostly held true.

But then we were saying goodbye to my parents. Papi had scooped you up in his arms to give you a hug. He said his goodbyes & you looked at him & said "Goodbye...doosh." It was one of those things that was so horrifying it felt like it was happening in slow motion. You could not have just called my Dad a douche! Daddy & I exchanged horrifying glances as we tried to exit ourselves from the extremely uncomfortable situation.

You, we could tell, had no idea what you had just said. It's true that "douche" is a word that Daddy & I have used often. This is probably going to sound really bad, but douche is kind of our go-to pet name for people who do unkind or aggravating things. But I swear we would never say it in your presence. You were just making up your own words again, & you love to make up nicknames. You clearly didn't understand that "doosh" is really not a great nickname for your grandfather.

It was then that Daddy & I started to rethink our previous policy of not reacting. This time it had gone too far. So, we've started to talk to you about only using real words. We remind you that there are so many real words to choose from & ask you to use the words you know instead of making up your own. We explained that sometimes when you make up words they sound like words that hurt people's feelings, & we don't want to hurt people.

Is it the correct way to handle the situation? I don't know. I haven't exactly read a manual on this. I'm hoping that we're not somehow stunting your growth & creativity by trying to limit your vocabulary to real words, but I really don't want you to call my dad (or anyone else really) a douche ever again.

I love you so,

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