Fook, I’m Hungry

Last night when I was putting Amelia to bed she confessed, “I know what the F word is.”
“Oh really. What is it?” I asked.
I momentarily thought about correcting her, but decided (thankfully) against it. “That’s right,” I said.
“What does it mean?” she asked.
“It’s kind of a grown up idea. Sometimes people say it when they are angry and other times people use it like an “um.”
“Oh, like fook, I’m hungry,” she immediately responded.
We started laughing together but suddenly her smile turned into a frown and tears fell down her cheeks. It was as if the door to adulthood cracked open and she peered in, felt thrilled and then frightened. The adulthood room was monstrous and overwhelming, plus it was past her bedtime.
I held her and then we crawled into bed and turned out the lights. I spooned her and explained.
“The F word is kind of like coffee and beer. Only grownups drink coffee and beer and the F word only belongs in grownup mouths, too.”
“Why,” she protested. “I’m big.”
“You are big,” I agreed. “And yet there are things you don’t know yet. That is the way it should be.”
I did go on with, “Just like a baby doesn’t know what it means to walk or talk. You could try to explain it, but the baby won’t understand. A three-year-old doesn’t understand things that a five-year old knows. A six-year-old doesn’t understand things a 10-year-old knows. A ten-year-old doesn’t understand things a fifteen year old knows. And a fifteen year old doesn’t understand things a twenty year old knows. When you are a grownup, you will make choices around beer and coffee and F words, but for now you get to be six. The important thing about being six is that you believe three things:
1) You are safe.
2) You are loved.
3) You are good.
It is a wonderful, beautiful thing to be six years old, honey. It is such a lucky time. I love you.”
“Thank you mommy,” Amelia replied.

Precious Time

Precious Time

Then I tried to get up but she held my arm tightly around her waist, not ready for me to leave. So I stayed and held her because she is six and someday that door to adulthood will fly open. I breathed in her sweet-smelling hair and touched her soft skin and nuzzled her neck. This is precious time. Soon enough she’ll be drinking beer, spending her entire paycheck at Starbucks, and swearing like a fooking sailor.

As always, parenting with heart in the real world,

Jennifer Olden, LMFT and Mother

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