Mom, I Know What The “C” Word Is


We were doing the bedtime tooth brushing routine last night and M suddenly hit me with this zinger of a statement. “Mom, I know what the “C” word is.”

I immediately adopted that wary, walking-in-a-minefield attitude that all parents have when faced with adult-content topics.

“What’s the “C” word?” I asked as calmly as possible.

M leaned forward conspiratorially.


I exhaled and nodded wisely.

“And I know the “F” word too,” he exclaimed. I held my breath again and waited.


This is not normal vocabulary for our house so I started to wonder where he’s getting this kind of information. But I also started to relax that nothing too serious had been acquired yet.

Then M hit me with “And the “S” word is “shit”.” He barely breathed the word when he said it. The sheer power of the illicitness was almost overwhelming for him.

I talked with Z later about how to handle this and he reminded me that it’s something that all kids get exposed to as they grow up and mix with older kids on the playground. Kids figure out early that words can have huge power. They delight in acquiring and sharing that knowledge.

It made me think of a great, funny story that Michael Lewis shared in his book about fatherhood called “Home Game.” He reads it in this video from an Authors@Google talk. It’s worth grabbing a cup of your favorite beverage and taking the few minutes to listen. Fair warning: don’t play out loud at the office or where children can hear you.

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