School is great for learning but there is nothing like watching your child's innocence wither away with exposure to school and other kids. Being the rule follower that he is, Rohan does what he is told but first grade certainly has its fair share of exposure.
Volunteering for just a short time each week, allows me to know my son’s classmates and understand his stories better. I cringed once when I was sitting at a table and I heard Rohan tell his teacher that Chris said the 'S' word. He then went on to explain, you know, “stupid.”
I mouthed to my son to mind his own business and do his work; I certainly don't want to watch him tattletale. He exclaimed out loud, "Mom, you're supposed to tell if someone says a bad word." Great, now the entire class was paying attention. Way to go mom! But apparently he learned that day that stupid is not a good word, but it's not a bad word either. It was such a revelation for him. He said it a million times trying to explain it to his little sister, his grandparents and to my husband and me. For at least two years he has said the 'S' word so he was excited to find out that it wasn't a bad word, which he always followed by 'it's not a good one either but you can say it!'
Once the ‘S’ word fascination subsided, he started on the ‘what the?’ almost as though he was going to keep going but it ended right there, ‘what the?’ My brother heard this and told him stop right away, assuming of course that something else was coming, but again, Rishi explained, “that’s what you say when you really want to make a point, what the?” I told him to say ‘what in the world’ instead, it means the same thing but sounds better. Apparently, that’s not the way it goes and all the boys say ‘what the’ which is said by the way with a lot of emphasis so it’s really ‘WHAT THE?’ Still, I supposed it’s innocent enough, just very annoying. But noooo, then just a couple of weeks ago he came up with one I was not expecting.
We were laying in bed reading stories and talking about his day. I didn't show my shock when he told me that if you are mad at someone, all you do is hold up a finger and it's called the "f" word. "That will tell them that you are really mad at them." WHAT WHAT WHAT?
I envisioned some rough kid on the playground telling him this but ironically it was a little girl who comes to school with a bow in her long flowing hair on a daily basis. He couldn't quite remember the finger so he proceeded to hold them all up to show me what it should look like. I try to be a cool mom, I really do - but I'm just not cool...not even remotely cool. That's why I married my husband, he projects a much more palatable reaction...to most things anyway.
But with my kids, I do try... So when I told Rohan that we don't use that word and he reminded me it's not a word, it's a letter...I told him that it's a very bad way to express how you feel and we have words for that...as I tried to explain this, all while staying cool…I started feeling annoyed that my husband was traveling (again!) for work because surely he would know better how to address this. I mean why does a seven-year old girl know this and why is she telling my sweet innocent son?
Sorry, I digress...okay so I told Rohan how lifting a finger is a very offensive and bad thing to do and you can get in a ton of trouble and make the other person feel really bad if you hold up a finger ever! I’m sure there are probably better ways to address this but it was hard to think quickly as I lay there…one minute reading dinosaur books…the next minute trying to explain rude gestures. Now I feel bad because he’s never mentioned it again, he has also never talked to my husband about it and I wonder if I shut him down or if he’s forgotten (doubtful knowing my son who has the memory of an elephant)?
I did bring it up with some friends, trying to see what some better experienced moms would do? One suggested I tell him that he would be sent to the principal's office if he ever did that to anyone, another suggested that I let him know we don't do that in our house suggesting that different rules apply in different homes. Seriously? In whose home is THAT gesture allowed?
I mean geez...the 'f' word, in first grade, WTF?!! And by that, I mean 'frick.' Does that count?