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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