Monday, November 28, 2011

You Mean, Like, Fudge?

One day before Thanksgiving, I pulled up in the preschool car line to get Hank. His teacher helped him into the car. Then she said, "Becky, I told Hank I would speak to you about this when it happened the third time. Hank has been using potty words."

I said, "Oh, he has?" I was Very Serious.

She said, "Yes, today he said the f-word."

I don't know what my face looked like, but I went, "He said WHAT?"

She hastened to reassure me. "No, no, not that one, the other f-word."

The other f-word?


I'm sure I looked as blank as a cloudless winter sky. She was very solemn. I waited. Then she explained, "The word for passing gas."

Oh, FART. Hank said fart.

You know, fart. The "f-word."

I just don't even. I began laughing and have never stopped. I laugh in my sleep and even while eating.

But what I said was, "Oh, got it. Okay, thank you Miss L, we will talk about it."

Hank was sinking further and further into his seat while this conference took place. On the way home I talked to him about controlling his words, that he knows the right way to talk and he has better manners than that, that when he acts rude, it is embarrassing to both of us, etc.

The thing is, right after she said, "Hank said the f-word," I thought that it was perfectly possible he had finally said "fuck" in his classroom. He's never said that at home, but he has certainly heard this word in his lifetime. And we all enjoy that CeeLo Green song. I finally had to download the bowdlerized version because the kids liked the song so much and always wanted to sing it. I have long held the position that I don't really care what words are in songs the kids like, they're just words, we need not act like they have magic evil-summoning powers. But I also don't want to have many car-side conferences about my children's vocabulary.

(Fart is a really crude word. I would secretly rather he'd said fuck. At least that word has a tradition.)

Hank and I agreed that this unpleasantness would remain between the two of us. But of course when he wasn't around, I told Matt. We enjoyed the incident even more in the telling of it. Matt was like, "But her calling that the 'f-word' is the most adorable thing that has ever happened!" I was surprised he didn't get in the car, drive back to the school, and hug her neck. I mean, honestly.

Let's watch our language out there.


Aimee said...


And, may I say, it's nice to hear someone else say they'd rather have their child say "fuck" than "fart." I feel exactly the same way. Swear if you want to, but leave the potty language out of your vocabulary.

Becky said...

Aimee, exactly!

Ginny Marie said...

Oh, my, I don't think I could have said that to a parent of one of my students without giggling a little bit myself!

Amy said...

Well, you know we weren't allowed to say fart growing up. Our parents probably saw it on par with that other f word. It has taken me YEARS into adulthood to say it without feeling self-conscious. I mean, not that I'm saying it all the time, but you know what I mean!

Nate told me Ava used the "s word" the other day. He meant " stupid".

Oh--and I totally thought that song was "Forget You" until someone told me otherwise.

Becky said...

Amy, I know, mom and dad always thought it was just vulgar, totally off-limits, and that is deeply ingrained in me. Same with turd.

Amy said...

Oh, and call me a pearl clutcher if you must, but as crude as the word is, I would still rather them say fart know. ;) Lawdy mercy!

Oh and I love Matt's comment.

Lisa Lilienthal said...

I love Matt's comment ... and I am waiting for Hank to recall the part of the conversation where she said, "no no that one ..." and ask you, "what is the other f-word?" When Annabelle was in second grade she came home asking what was the f-word, because it got somebody expelled. I said, well, if it got somebody expelled we probably don't need to know it. Several months later she came home and helpfully said, mom, I found out what the f-word is -- it's futt, and I think it is spelled with two t's, you know, like butt??

Elizabeth said...

This is one of those things that makes us all blissful to be mothers. I've had similar experiences, and really -- I love them.

Becky said...

I agree, Elizabeth. I enjoy these things so much.

Futt! Futt the futtheads! That is my new favorite swear word.

Amy, "pearl clutcher" sounds more vulgar than anything we've said here.

delaine said...

Bless Hank's little heart! They tattle too much on the boy! Do they not ignore anything? I have always cringed at the f word and the p word. But , strangely, the s word can be very satisfying. Go figure. Language divides and joins us, huh?

Becky said...

It truly does, Mom. But wait, what IS the p word?

Bren said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hootie said...


Michele R said...

I would have loved to have seen what happened if Matt picked up Hank that day!
Oh, and I'd prefer hearing the word fart at my house over hearing the actual event itself on a daily basis.

Steve said...

My brother and his six-year-old son were driving to school recently when his son turned to him and asked, "Dad, is whathefuck" a real word?"

I guess some of his classmates have rather interesting families.

Justine said...

Recently my preschooler was playing in our living room and I overheard her say 'shit.' I asked her if she knew what it meant, and she said, "Yes, it's when you put a blanket on your head, and you crawl around the room, and you say 'shit shit shit.'"

I've since tried it, and I must report the swear-crawling to be very therapeutic.

Anonymous said...

This exact story lives in infamy in my husband's family--

His sister Ashley has always been very very very good...she loves rules and order and the rightness of things and has apparently been this way since she arrived on earth. BUT. Their mother did get called to the principal's office when Ashley was in kindergarten because Ashley had used the 'f word'. Unfortunately, unlike your kind teacher, Ashley's teacher never clarified which F word was used and so her mom left the meeting wondering where her daughter might have learned such a thing (unlike me...there will be no wondering when we hit this milestone with our son). Upon asking Ashley where she learned that word, she looked up at her mother and said, "I just called him a fartface, mama."

And indeed Fartface is an F word, and pretty inappropriate, but oh my, I love what children say.

Meghan said...

I began laughing and have never stopped at your comment to Amy about her "pearl clutcher" comment. Although, the entire post was priceless.

Amy said...

I know, Meg! Me too! I feel so dirty.

Keely said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who's had this 'lecture'. I *totally* assumed my kid said 'fuck', because he has laid that one on me before. But apparently he knows word-appropriateness better than I gave him credit for.

On a related note, I am really going to miss your daily posts when December hits.

Camp Papa said...

Amy, I'm gratified to hear that you remember and were influenced by our language preferences. We weren't sure that our parenting had any effect at all.

puncturedbicycle said...

This post - and comments - are hysterical.

I also grew up in a household where the word 'fart' was verboten, but in recent years my mother has become quite the free spirit and it delights me endlessly to hear her (infrequently and at well-chosen moments) use either f-word.

Incidentally, it was also off-limits to say 'shut up' (to anyone for any reason) and remains so to this day.

Nina said...

OK, I think this must be one of those US/UK translation issues. (Possibly UK English is generally more profane...) "Fart" means the same thing here but I can't imagine any teacher objecting to its occasional use enough to tell a parent! Perhaps Hank would like to substitute "trump" or "pump" instead? My sister and I always found those words particularly hysterical. And in case you think I just have very sweary parents, "stupid" and "shut up" were unacceptable in our house up to the age of about 15, and only recently has my mum started saying "shit" in front of us (I'm 31).

Christian said...

I vividly remember the hot shame of getting into trouble for use the word "fart" in pre-kindergarten. However, Mrs. Collier saw no reason involve my mother.

On the bright side, perhaps this is a testament to how orderly Hank's class is. The teachers have nothing better to worry about.

On the brighter side, I initially thought Hank said "fag" in class, and while I'll take "fuck" over "fart too, it's probably better that "faggot" is off the table for now.

Becky said...

Oh geez, Christian. If that had been the f word, I would have lost my shizz. He's never heard that word though, YET.

I love hearing what words were verboten in y'all's households. Nina, I like "trump"! Our "polite" words for fart are poot and toot.

I love the "whatthefuck" scene. So hard not to laugh in these parenting moments. Fartface! Futt!

Actually, that reminds me that Matt's grandmother, his genteel Nana, when she really needed to swear, would let loose with, "Oh foot!"

Dad, your comment is rich and I'll leave it at that.

AlGalMom said...

These comments are futting awesome.

My oldest daughter, as a 3 year old, was wont to say "manit!" when frustrated. Apparently she overheard SOMEONE (I can't imagine who) say "dammit" enough to incorporate her own version into her daily life.

Once my dad--a very upstanding, impossibly righteous (to my teenaged perspective) man--told me he would rather hear me say "fuck" than "oh my God." My mind was boggled (although now I frequently do say "fuck" but generally manage to keep from taking the Lord's name in vain).

We went a long time without crude words in our house, but I've lost the battle on "wiener" and "booty." (My current 3 year old laughs hysterically whenever we encounter pirates' booty in a bedtime story.) But thankfully "shut up" and "stupid" are seldom heard.

Anonymous said...

I guess what strikes me abt this story is how inappropriate it is for her to use the B-word. WTF pearl-clutcher, tattletale paragon of what is right using yr Christian name? No! She's boring.

Also, I agree w yr mom: tattling on a child? She is the teacher, right?

Charity said...

The "f-word" was a big no-no in our house too. To this day I cringe when I hear it, and I never use it. But I have zero qualms about using the word "fuck"....assuming my mother isn't in the room. I still feel the need to protect her from crass language to some extent.

Charity said...

The "f-word" was a big no-no in our house too. To this day I cringe when I hear it, and I never use it. But I have zero qualms about using the word "fuck"....assuming my mother isn't in the room. I still feel the need to protect her from crass language to some extent.