Saturday, February 03, 2007

Parenting on the Verge

I was in the midst of the final fifteen minutes of my morning countdown until the time I needed to drive my youngest daughter to the bus-stop. As I was brushing through her night-time tangles, my dimple-cheeked cherub looked up at me in wide-eyed innocence and asked, “Mom, what’s a ‘har’?” Barely breaking with my rhythmic brush-strokes, I responded, “Har? Well, that’s one of the words I use when I meditate during yoga.”

I could see the frustration flash across her face. In addition to her dyslexia, she also has some central auditory processing issues that prevent her brain from catching the subtle differences of sounds within a word. Squinting her eyes and wrinkling her nose, she vigorously shook her head. “No, no, not ‘har’… I mean ‘whore’.”

Rule #1 of parenting: Never let them see you sweat.

My mind raced as I quickly took a moment to catch my breath. “Where’d you hear that?” I casually asked.

She rushed to assure me, “It’s not a swear word, mom”.

I assured her that while I understood it didn’t strictly fall within the category of a swear word, it still wasn’t a particularly nice word to use either.

Apparently, a third grade boy at her school had felt it necessary to announce that “whores are bad”. My daughter’s voracious appetite for information compelled her to ask one of the other students what precisely a whore was. The child she chose was a veritable fount of information. She shared with my daughter that “a whore is someone who wears really short skirts, shirts that show their belly-button, and they always wear their hair up”.

Still mindful of the minutes ticking by, it was at this moment that I innocently asked if she’d like her hair in a French braid. The rolled eyes, and the fact that her working definition of the word “whore” would include a high percentage of the female population during the summer months clued me in that I’d need to quickly come up with a definition I deemed appropriate, and that she would feel was acceptable.

My eye on the clock, I explained that a whore was someone who typically didn’t feel very good about herself and, as a result, would engage in negative behaviors to try to attract male attention. I knew I was giving a very broad definition, but it was 6:45 in the morning and how explicit do you really want to get with a precocious nine year old?

I was relieved to see an expression of understanding dawn on her face as she began to slowly nod her head. “Oh, I get it… you mean like a stripper?”

Rule #2 of parenting: When in doubt…PASS!!

I did the only thing I could…I said, “We’ve got to go… you can ask your dad later…”



Linda said...

Hi - I popped over from Claire's blog and I just wanted to say how much I emjoyed reading this post! I hope to come back and read some more soon.

Good luck with the whores and strippers!

two crows said...

kids do ask the darnedest things.
and parents have to come up with enough info to get by and little enough so that every parent in the school doesn't start phoning---
congratulations on your tightrope walk. :)

Deb said...

I think you covered yourself very well. Nicely done. I recall some moments like that when my kids were requires some very quick thinking.

Very enjoyable reading indeed..a nice light moment.


Sweet ....
You now hold the title of the most posts at my place in one session. Lovely parting gifts are on the way.

bskaad said...

kids and their nice questions..
Let's hope Dad has the right answer:-)

Thanks for the comment on my blog.

Women on the Verge said...

linda, deb, colorado, and bskaad--
Thank you all for the kind words! I'm glad you enjoyed it...

tc- That's all that I could think of... "good heavens Mrs X., your daughter was expounding on the charecteristics of a whore today at lunch..." Yikes!! My girls certainly do keep me on my toes...

gledwood said...

THANKS SO MUCH for your BIRD FLU advice. Very much appreciated!

RUTH said...

This really made me smile...think we've all had similar experiences. I had to tell my son 27 years ago that he shouldn't use the F*** word; I then heard from his teacher that he was going all round the school telling children, parents and teachers "I mustn't say F***!"

Anonymous said...

ah! they are incredible!! So I'll bet you did a few 'har's' in yoga that day, didn't you?!!

RUTH said...

Can't remember exactly where I got the flag translator from but lots of info and codes here;

Gene Bach said...

Very funny post! Man, you NEVER know what kids are going to come with do you? LOL!

TomCat said...


That's your prize for a very astutely maneuvered duck!!


WOTV ... Send me an email and I'll send you the instruction sheet I wrote for a translator.

The comments here won't take the code.

crpitt said...

Oh dear! i think you handled that rather well!
One of the kids i babysit, well used to, recently told his mum not to worry he knew what wet dreams where!
She also used 'Talk to your dad about it' and he replied 'i have just told you i know what they are!'
This is not something i look forward to dealing with when i have kids!

Claire xx
Ps, thanks for great comments on my blog!

Inmatez Wife said...

Hi. I found your blog on Gene's blog--am I glad I clicked the link!! That is so funny. My kids are always saying the darndest things. Looking forward to more posts!!!


Because a girl can't have too many graphics ....

The Big Trailer


The Lovely parting GIF ... by Colorado Bob

Lizard Princess said...

I truly cherish moments like that with my son- for they will fly by all too quickly!
You mentioned dyslexia; did you hear that new research has discovered that it is an auditory condition rather than an ocular one as previously thought? I found that very interesting when I hear it on NPR (I am admittedly a NPR junkie).
I really enjoyed this article- thanks for coming by my blog!

crpitt said...

Check out my 2000+ visitor post please!

Claire xxx

Women on the Verge said...

Colorado bob--

Thank you so much for the lovely parting gifts... like I say," A girl can never have too many wool sweaters... OR graphics"!!

Lizard Princess--
I hadn't seen the new research on dyslexia, but I'm not suprised... I'm going to have to go check it out. Did they have any therapies that were suggested?? I'm a talk-radio junkie myself!!!

Thank you for the "hat tip" :-)


Women on the Verge said...

I have to add... never too many graphics, wool sweaters.... OR SHOES!!


Libbys Blog said...

I miss that!! The time when you have a spoonful of food in your mouth and then they ask the most outrageous question! So you either choke or spit it out!!!!! Happy days!!!

Women on the Verge said...

Libby,thanks for dropping by!

Yep, that happens a lot at our house!! My husband was laughing at a short movie our daughters made that he dropped to the floor... you don't want to know... we will be holding it in a vault for security until it can be used by us as leverage against them :-0


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