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It’s all about the intent

By   /   March 20, 2012  /   Comments Off

 

 

I would think she was playing me if she didn’t look so sincere.

“We don’t say, ‘butt’ because ‘butt’ is a bad word.” And that’s pretty much how the conversation begins, but it’s far from over. For Jellybean there’s an ever-growing list of words and phrases that she’s not supposed to say … and yet says constantly under the guise of double-checking (or else to make sure that I’m still paying attention.”

These words include: “hate,” “butt,” the aforementioned “shut-up,” “idiot” (thank you Toy Story 3) and virtually anything we here Daddy saying when he’s digging holes out in the yard. Oh, and “holy crap” has recently reared its ugly head, so we’ve also nipped that one in the bud. Jellybean also said “damn it, move you fool!” But that was my fault … can I help it if people who text while they drive makes me nuts?

I cleared up the confusion right away with the age old, “do as I say, not as I do” routine, which I guess should be more like, “do as I do and not as I say” … now I’m just confusing myself.

But what’s funny is that while these words have entered the Toddler Lexicon under the heading “Utterances not to utter” she says them now way more than when she initially got them in trouble for saying them in first place because it’s part of her daily school report, telling us the naughty words that her friends said. Thus far we’ve established the precedence of, “as long as you’re repeating words used by others and not firing them off yourself, you’re in the clear.”

I guess it’s kinda like how on TV it’s OK to say, “Dick,” as long as it’s referring to the nickname of a man named Richard and not referring to … well … you get the gist.

So afternoon conversations at the kitchen counter go a little something like this, “Savannah told Ella Claire to ‘shut-up’ today when we were at the tire swing, but I told her that ‘shut-up’ was a bad word and that it wasn’t nice to say ‘shut-up’ ‘cause saying ‘shut-up’ is mean can hurt somebody’s feelings. But then you know what? She said ‘shut-up’ any way. And then I said, ‘We don’t say ‘shut-up’ …”

You get the idea. The same goes for “butt” and “idiot,” which Jellybean actually pronounces “addiot,” so I’m a little confused if that should still count considering that most people wouldn’t understand what she was saying anyway.

With kids, it’s all about intent. I remember My Dear, Sweet Mother hated (oops, I mean, “didn’t like”) whenever I said “Freakin’!” mainly because I said it really hard and fast so that it sounding more like … well … try it yourself and see what I mean.

What’s even more entertaining are the words we actually allow her to say but in limited use. These fall under the heading of “Silly Words that are Funny, but only to a Certain Extent before They become Annoying.”

These include “poopie head” “tooty face” “booty,” kooky” “poopsie” “tootsie” and about 75 variances thereof.

None of these perpetuate the reality of a child who has an impressively extensive vocabulary, but Jellybean’s also a very goofy kid. Were we to extract these words from her vernacular, she’d never speak.

It’s a fine line between funny and foul, but I gotta give Jellybean a nod for finding a loophole. She may be a poopie head, but she’s a smart poopie head.

But don’t tell her I said that.

 

 

Brett Buckner is an award-winning freelance newspaper/magazine writer who was raised in Albany.

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