I Am A Better Father Than You Are

I am a better father than you are…especially if you are a mother. And believe me, some of you fathers can be described as mothers. Of course if you have done your homework and read all of the posts in this blog you know that my son and I sat down last year and discussed his last of “bad words” and what they mean. For the sake of both posterity and clarity here is an incomplete list of the words we reviewed:

  • ass
  • asshole
  • shit
  • fuck
  • fucker
  • motherfucker
  • dick
  • dickhead

During our conversation I explained what these words mean and why people use them and I did so with a straight face. I know, that comment about straight face sounds kind of silly. I am an adult, it is silly to think that I wouldn’t or couldn’t do this without maintaining a straight face. However that assumes that my son did n0t say anything that made me want to laugh hysterically or crawl into a hole. And since we all know what happens when you assume something it is safe to say that this did not happen. So let’s move on and review for a moment how we got to the point where  a discussion was necessary.

I attribute the need for the talk to school and traffic. For those of you whose children have not made it into school yet allow me to remind you that one day your kids will come home with all sorts of new words, thoughts and ideas courtesy of other students.

jacksteiner

Sometimes that is because “Johnny” has an older sibling in middle or high school and you benefit from their teaching their younger sibling all of these really great things that they in turn pass along to your child.

And sometimes it is because while driving they witness other drivers giving you the old one fingered salute or they actually hear them say XYZ to you. In my case my son heard another driver call me a motherfucker and then wanted to know what that means.  That really was the impetus for this vocabulary lesson. That and the fact that I had heard him and his friends swearing and then laughing hysterically. Actually their joy in saying “ass” and “shit” made me laugh. They didn’t know that I was standing outside the room and that I could hear them say these words.

Anyway, as a writer words are very important to me and I am a believer in having a well rounded vocabulary. Not to mention that as a father I knew that one day I would need to teach the kids what was appropriate and what wasn’t so it made sense to me to take advantage of the opportunity to try and turn it into a teaching moment.

And because G-d likes to laugh at me he ensured that my too smart for his own good baby boy would come up with all sorts of nifty comments. The shining example of this was when he tried to use motherfucker in literal terms to explain that it wasn’t bad because it was true. I quickly shut down this line of thought and explained that wasn’t how it was meant. It was another reminder that nuance is sometimes lost on children.

Did I mention that my son told his mother that he thought that Mother’s Day wasn’t a good idea and that we shouldn’t do anything for it. Why? Well he said this because he thought that it was unfair that I had to share celebrating my birthday with it and then in spite of my request not to say it he repeated it again to both of his grandmothers and all of his aunts. I thanked him profusely and asked him to allow me to cause my own trouble because if I am going to be punished I might as well earn it myself.

And lest you think that my son is the only child who asks tough questions let us not forget my daughter who managed to ask the one question that left me speechless. Remember, she was the girl that mistook a moose’s tail for a different part of his anatomy and then was offended when I told her that this cartoon character wasn’t gifted with anything that would allow us to call him tripod. I didn’t expect to have that conversation with her anymore than I expected to argue with her about whether dads have a crotch or not. Not to mention that she noticed that Ken of Ken and Barbie fame isn’t anatomically correct either.

Way back during the dawn of time when my son was quite little we had the penis talk a few times. I expected those conversations and was prepared for them. But there was one that I never expected to hear from him. In fact just typing it out makes me shiver. Ok, it doesn’t make me shiver but I am laughing thinking about it because this was more proof that you can’t anticipate what your children will come up with. Believe me when you son says to you, “She Broke My Penis” you really have to work hard to maintain your composure.

I mention all of these things because last year my children gave me a hat and t-shirt that said “World’s Greatest Father 2010” and I intend to hold onto my title. And unlike my beloved Lakers my reign of terror shall last for quite a while longer.

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36 Comments

  1. Kristin Alexander May 14, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Hi Jack, I’m visiting you from TRDC and thoroughly enjoyed this post. I did laugh at your expense, but only because I’m relieved my daughter isn’t old enough to talk yet. Although she’s getting there. We’re actually in the “repeat” phase right now. Last night I said two words back to back in front of her – ‘uh-oh’ and ‘shit’ (which often naturally follows ‘uh-oh’). Luckily, she just repeated ‘uh-oh’. I realize I got lucky. 

    And may I just say kudos to your son for defending the use of motherfucker. He might have a future in debate and forensics.  

    • The JackB May 14, 2011 at 12:22 pm

      @twitter-234367120:disqus   They are good at repeating back what they hear/learn. Much as I hate to admit it, my kids have learned all sorts of salty language from me.
      You are absolutely right about my son, attorney in the making. 😉

  2. What She Said May 14, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Hi Jack, I’m visiting you from TRDC and thoroughly enjoyed this post. I did laugh at your expense, but only because I’m relieved my daughter isn’t old enough to talk yet. Although she’s getting there. We’re actually in the “repeat” phase right now. Last night I said two words back to back in front of her – ‘uh-oh’ and ‘shit’ (which often naturally follows ‘uh-oh’). Luckily, she just repeated ‘uh-oh’. I realize I got lucky. 

    And may I just say kudos to your son for defending the use of motherfucker. He might have a future in debate and forensics.  

    • The JackB May 14, 2011 at 8:22 pm

      @twitter-234367120:disqus   They are good at repeating back what they hear/learn. Much as I hate to admit it, my kids have learned all sorts of salty language from me.
      You are absolutely right about my son, attorney in the making. 😉

  3. Carina Clark May 11, 2011 at 12:51 am

    I would love to hear how that conversation went…. a 7 year old (?) defending the use of motherfucker… it’s almost as bad as my defense of the term bastard (because technically…). Anyway. This is leading to a lot more reading…

    • The JackB May 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm

      @google-ce6b1f8ea80af2ee7554d4638a53329c:disqus There is no real secret to it. Once he understood what “fuck” meant he put the two words together and asked why it would be offensive to people.

  4. Carina Clark May 11, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I would love to hear how that conversation went…. a 7 year old (?) defending the use of motherfucker… it’s almost as bad as my defense of the term bastard (because technically…). Anyway. This is leading to a lot more reading…

    • The JackB May 11, 2011 at 9:53 pm

      @google-ce6b1f8ea80af2ee7554d4638a53329c:disqus There is no real secret to it. Once he understood what “fuck” meant he put the two words together and asked why it would be offensive to people.

  5. Stan Faryna May 11, 2011 at 12:04 am

    But, Jack, I want to read your explanations too! On the same page.

  6. Stan Faryna May 11, 2011 at 8:04 am

    But, Jack, I want to read your explanations too! On the same page.

  7. Seattledad May 10, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Oh, I CAN wait for those conversations. Kind of like when your kid laughs at another guys junk in the shower. Good post Jack

  8. Seattledad May 11, 2011 at 4:49 am

    Oh, I CAN wait for those conversations. Kind of like when your kid laughs at another guys junk in the shower. Good post Jack

  9. Alex | Perfecting Dad May 10, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Nice one. It’s hilarious as it reminds us of our owns kids. Here’s one for you: NEVER EVER SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT SOMEONE THE CHILD WILL EVER SEE AGAIN. It’s not swears, but even more embarrassing when the child says to someone out of the blue “You know, my mom said that you don’t know how to drive and you should have to give back your license because when you backed up you almost hit our car.” So innocent, yet so able to destroy friendships 🙂

    • The JackB May 10, 2011 at 9:42 pm

      @d867f5b7346d6b0778f5db620991ecd5:disqus That is so very funny and true. My kids have done that and I have been the “victim” of a comment that I wasn’t supposed to hear. It is part of the joy of children, you never know what they’ll say but you can be certain that sometimes it will make your ears burn.

  10. Alex May 10, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Nice one. It’s hilarious as it reminds us of our owns kids. Here’s one for you: NEVER EVER SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT SOMEONE THE CHILD WILL EVER SEE AGAIN. It’s not swears, but even more embarrassing when the child says to someone out of the blue “You know, my mom said that you don’t know how to drive and you should have to give back your license because when you backed up you almost hit our car.” So innocent, yet so able to destroy friendships 🙂

    • The JackB May 11, 2011 at 5:42 am

      @d867f5b7346d6b0778f5db620991ecd5:disqus That is so very funny and true. My kids have done that and I have been the “victim” of a comment that I wasn’t supposed to hear. It is part of the joy of children, you never know what they’ll say but you can be certain that sometimes it will make your ears burn.

  11. Nina Badzin May 10, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Hi! Jack this was so funny. And you’re totally justified in applauding yourself for the straight face. I laughed at the IDEA of discussing those words and their definitions. You are the best father! 😉

    Can I lodge a complaint as your blogging friend??? Of course that was rhetorical because here goes . . . this whole “sign in” thing to leave a comment is a little different on your blog than most and I find it takes extra time–at least on my computer. Okay, I feel better now. Just thought you should know!

    • The JackB May 10, 2011 at 9:39 pm

      @twitter-111710312:disqus I had to laugh when you asked if you can lodge a complaint. 😉 I don’t know why DISQUS takes longer on your computer. I blame it on your being in the frigid midwest where the pace of life is just slower. 😉

      You know that if you were in Chicago things would move faster but then you’d be stuck with inferior pizza.

  12. Nina Badzin May 10, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    Hi! Jack this was so funny. And you’re totally justified in applauding yourself for the straight face. I laughed at the IDEA of discussing those words and their definitions. You are the best father! 😉

    Can I lodge a complaint as your blogging friend??? Of course that was rhetorical because here goes . . . this whole “sign in” thing to leave a comment is a little different on your blog than most and I find it takes extra time–at least on my computer. Okay, I feel better now. Just thought you should know!

    • The JackB May 11, 2011 at 5:39 am

      @twitter-111710312:disqus I had to laugh when you asked if you can lodge a complaint. 😉 I don’t know why DISQUS takes longer on your computer. I blame it on your being in the frigid midwest where the pace of life is just slower. 😉

      You know that if you were in Chicago things would move faster but then you’d be stuck with inferior pizza.

  13. Lori Gosselin May 10, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Ah! Now I see it! The adventures of parenting! I so LOVED those years! I remember once when my son was upset and we asked him why and he said, “I hurt my lap!” Another time he did something wrong and was said, “You broke a rule. What do we do when someone breaks a rule?” and he replied, “Fix it.” LOL
    Nothing like being a parent, as @johnfalchetto:disqus said. I share Mother’s Day with my son. I was still in the hospital that Mother’s Day. I don’t mind a bit – he’s half of what makes my Mother’s Day something to celebrate!
    Lori

  14. Lori Gosselin May 10, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    Ah! Now I see it! The adventures of parenting! I so LOVED those years! I remember once when my son was upset and we asked him why and he said, “I hurt my lap!” Another time he did something wrong and was said, “You broke a rule. What do we do when someone breaks a rule?” and he replied, “Fix it.” LOL
    Nothing like being a parent, as @johnfalchetto:disqus said. I share Mother’s Day with my son. I was still in the hospital that Mother’s Day. I don’t mind a bit – he’s half of what makes my Mother’s Day something to celebrate!
    Lori

  15. John Falchetto May 10, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    LOL! I laughed so hard,’she broke my penis” I can imagine how hard it would be to maintain a straight face.

    Jack, I’m in no hurry to have this talk with my daughter 🙂 She is just one so I have a few years.

    Being a parent is tough, but the rewards we get are immense.

    • The JackB May 10, 2011 at 9:35 pm

      @johnfalchetto:disqus The broken penis conversation is among my favorites. I expect that one day it shall cause nightmares for my son. 😉

      One is a good age. They are cute and full of personality.

  16. John Falchetto May 10, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    LOL! I laughed so hard,’she broke my penis” I can imagine how hard it would be to maintain a straight face.

    Jack, I’m in no hurry to have this talk with my daughter 🙂 She is just one so I have a few years.

    Being a parent is tough, but the rewards we get are immense.

    • The JackB May 11, 2011 at 5:35 am

      @johnfalchetto:disqus The broken penis conversation is among my favorites. I expect that one day it shall cause nightmares for my son. 😉

      One is a good age. They are cute and full of personality.

  17. Justine May 10, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Unfortunately, as much as I try to watch myself, I have quite the mouth to begin with and my toddler, who’s at the mimicking stage, has pretty much repeated most things I’ve said in a fit of passion (not directed at her. It’s usually in the car with me behind the wheel).

    I think it’s hilarious that you explain the meaning to them – I should too.

    • The JackB May 10, 2011 at 9:33 pm

      @9765707ca81f9da23ffcad6b3e1e8e48:disqus For years I didn’t try to explain the meaning- I simply said it was a grown up word or that it was inappropriate. Eventually they got big enough to warrant doing it differently.

  18. Justine May 10, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Unfortunately, as much as I try to watch myself, I have quite the mouth to begin with and my toddler, who’s at the mimicking stage, has pretty much repeated most things I’ve said in a fit of passion (not directed at her. It’s usually in the car with me behind the wheel).

    I think it’s hilarious that you explain the meaning to them – I should too.

    • The JackB May 11, 2011 at 5:33 am

      @9765707ca81f9da23ffcad6b3e1e8e48:disqus For years I didn’t try to explain the meaning- I simply said it was a grown up word or that it was inappropriate. Eventually they got big enough to warrant doing it differently.

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