My kids are at that age when it is ubiquitous for parents to say the phrase to their children, “That’s inappropriate.” I often hear my best friends reprimanding their small children, when the poop talk starts up during lunch, with, “That’s inappropriate.”
The problem I have with this particular instruction is that I LOVE everything inappropriate. As an adult, my favorite things are ALWAYS inappropriate. I love crass and irreverent books, movies, memes, and conversations. Ok, even hand gestures. I LOVE THEM.
When I remind my kids to be appropriate, I always cringe a bit like I do when telling tales about Santa. Sooner or later the truth is going to come out.
Currently, I leak the truth anyway.
Here is an example: My daughter goes to Waldorf School, which postpones learning to read until later grades, but she has taught herself the basics so no longer can I spell the word I-C-E-C-R-E-A-M without her jumping up and down. Imagine this:
I am reading “Hyperbole and a Half” on the couch, which qualifies as inappropriate with little cartoon pictures. Amelia cuddles up next to me and asks me to read out loud. So, I read, editing the parts I think are inappropriate.
She stops me, looks up with her cherubic face and bright blue eyes, “Why didn’t you read the motherfucker part?”
Ok, no more Hyperbole and a Half. This is one of the many places my actual personality bumps into my role as a parent.
Jennifer Olden, Child Whisperer