Emery loves words. She loves saying them, hearing them, dissecting them, rhyming them, teasing them and shouting them.
But mostly, she loves repeating them.
Again and again. She is never, ever silent. We can’t go anywhere without her engaging absolute strangers in deep conversation.
Hi! What your name is? (we’re working on that) I’m Emery. (To which they say, ‘Emily?’) Em-er-y. Do you have any kids? What there name is? (again, at least she’s consistent) How old are you? I’m 3. This is my sister, Blair. (as the little one is trying to climb out of the shopping cart or run into traffic) She’s 2. It was really nice talking to you!
You could say she’s a talker. Once upon a time, before children, I also loved to converse. Now I appreciate the silence that comes with the written word. Which is probably directly correlated to having a child who loves to talk.
At nearly 4, it isn’t often that she hears an unfamiliar word. So when she does, she savors that sweet nugget under tongue and waits for the right chance to use it. And more often than not, her ignorance to these words was rather intentional.
I’m pretty careful about what the girls watch and hear because you know it’s coming back out of her sweet little lips. And kids just know when a word is one not meant for repeating. This draw to forbidden words was kicked up a notch when she started preschool last fall. Suddenly “poopy,” “dirty underwear” and “stinky” became her favorite words.
It bothers me. It’s crude. It’s unnecessary. But they’re kids. I don’t want to be that mom who expects her kids to be perfect and always proper. They should be polite but they’re learning the power of words – both positively and negatively. So we talk about words and their meanings and the right and wrong way to use them.
So I ask her not to say “poop” unless it’s referring to actual defecation and she obliges. Until it sneaks out while she’s sing-songing in the backseat and I shoot her a glance in the rearview mirror. She giggles and squeaks a “Sorry, Ma!” and proceeds to tease me with every word (real and imagined) that rhymes with that four-letter word without actually saying that word again. She’s being silly and as much as it makes me cringe, I roll with it. Mostly.
But I draw the line at name calling and hate. Those aren’t allowed in our home. Name calling is unproductive and unnecessarily hurtful. And hate is an ugly word with a meaning that kids shouldn’t be capable of understanding. So they shouldn’t use it.
So It really surprises me how many times this comes up in television shows and movies targeting preschoolers. Dummy, stupid and other crude names are tossed around frequently. Em called me in this afternoon, confused because the fairies in her Tinkerbell movie said they hated another fairy. I’m sure we were exposed to this as kids, too, and it wasn’t an issue. So maybe I’m being oversensitive. But is it really necessary?
This kid is a sponge. I suppose I just want to make sure what she’s absorbing is clean.
How do you handle “bad” words? Are you strict with your kids words or should “kids be kids”?