“I’m pregnant and I know it!”

The movie Pitch Perfect, which spawned the “Cups” phenomenon, is hysterical. Yet, I don’t think it’s something that my kids should watch.MV5BMTcyMTMzNzE5N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNzg5NjM5Nw@@._V1_ But they did, at a family party this summer with their cousins. No big deal. They watched it again with the babysitter a few weeks ago. She asked if they were allowed, and they said sure, they had already seen it. Since then, they are obsessed with it. They love Fat Amy, and they come home from school and put on song clips from YouTube. As far as I’m concerned, what’s done is done.  Now, the three of us can be found in various states of a cappella singing parts of the “Since You’ve Been Gone” audition scene. Hayden loves to mimic Amy fixing her boobs before she belts out her line. I can’t help but laugh.

It’s a weird world to navigate. The whole concept of sex, and curse words, and innuendo. Truthfully, I’m more offended by some of the exploitation on The Disney Channel than the stuff found in movies like Pitch Perfect. But it’s made for some interesting conversation. Like: “Guys, you can’t pretend to have boobs and adjust them”; or “No, you can’t watch the scene where they sing songs about sex”; or “Now, just cause they say these words in a movie, doesn’t mean you’re allowed to say them.” The funny thing is, I’m an English teacher. I love words. I do not want to back down from a conversation about words. And I don’t.

Yesterday, we were watching a clip from the movie, and Amy says the word “bitch”. I say, “You know we can’t say that word, right?” Owen says, “pitch”?  “No, the B word.” “What’s the B word?” asks Hayden. “It rhymes with pitch,” I say. “Bitch!” Owen says excitedly. “Yeah, but spell it, don’t say it,” I instruct. “B-I-T-C-H,” he replies. “You don’t have to spell it (correctly, I might add) now,” I say. They giggle.

As a child, I was terrified of being heard saying a curse word. I would not ask my parents what a word meant, and thought every bad word I uttered was one step closer to H-E-double hockey sticks. But it’s cool being on this side of things. Knowing that I am the gatekeeper for knowledge when it comes to curse words, and sex, and life. I am not foolish enough to think that they won’t find some (hopefully not most) of their education in the schoolyard, on the bus, or the internet, but I do plan on being a voice in the fray. Now, I marvel at their naiveté. I smile at their innocence. And I cringe a little at how to approach their inquiries.

Take today. We are in the woods walking the dogs, and Hayden starts quoting lines from Pitch Perfect. “Dad, I love the part when Fat Amy says [pause]. Now, I’m going to say ‘beach’ even though it’s the other B word, okay?” “Okay,” I say. He delivers the line. Owen pipes in, “What does the B word even mean?” “It’s so stupid,” I say. “It means ‘a female dog‘.” We all look at our little black Lab, Rosie, and laugh. “Language is strange, guys. The world decides that certain words are wrong or bad, and it’s important to know that if you say them, you will get in trouble, or people will look down on you. If you called someone a female dog, they would look at you and think you were weird. But if you call someone a bitch you’d get punished. Most curses are words that we have other words for. Ask me some?” They oblige.

“The s-h- word means poop, right?” Owen asks.

“Yeah,” I say. “You can say poop and no one cares, but if you say S-H-I-T you’re in trouble.”

“But crap means poop, too.” Hayden says, trying to reassure himself.

“Yep. And we don’t say that.” I love that they think crap is a curse word. The other day, my friend dropped his son off to play with the boys. As he was leaving, Hayden came out to the driveway and said, “Mr. Bill, Thomas just said the C word.” We both looked at each other wide-eyed. “What’s the C word, Hayden?” he asked. “C-R-A-P,” he spells. Relieved, I say, “Tell him not to say it–you don’t need to run and tell us.” Phew–I was not ready for that conversation.

The boys are now excited about our discussion. Owen says, “Well, what about F-U-C-K?” I’m sad that he’s heard this word–even if he’s just heard it spelled, which I doubt–but I do have to admit it is very cute when he spells it. Oh, boy, I think. I’m searching for words. “It means sex,” I say. (I decide to save the conversation about Fornication Under Control of the King or For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge for another walk.) “You mean pregnant?” Owen asks. “Yeah,” I say slowly, contemplating how far I want to go, and also unsure how he connected the two. “So, Mommy was sexed?” Hayden asks. “Um-hmm,” I say, stifling my laughter. “Mommy was sexed!” Owen says. They crack up laughing. I try to keep the educational tenor of the conversation. “And I don’t really like that so many songs mention sex, and you guys go around singing the word sexy. Like from that song, ‘I’m Sexy and I Know It’.” They are jumping with excitement. This topic has made them more playful than our puppies a few yards ahead. Hayden revs up to do one of his dance moves. He leaps in the air, lands with arms outstretched, then he belts out, in tune, “I’m pregnant and I know it.”

That’s enough sex talk for one day.

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22 comments

  1. Oh. My. Goodness. You can ALWAYS give me a good laugh! I so love your boys, and I can’t help but think (everytime I read one of your posts) what a grand time they’d have with mine for a day!! We’d be in serious trouble!

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  2. I love these tales of family. They remind me of my own childhood. I asked my father why leaves were green and bark was brown. I was probably the only 5 year old in town who could explain photosynthesis. I also made the mistake of asking what clouds were. I could then recite the water cycle. No, my dad wasn’t a science teacher, he worked in the timber industry. Hmm, this might have happened in the same day and I might have become a little cautious about asking him questions after that.

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    1. Too funny. I think people who end up being writers are naturally inquisitive, so I’m not surprised to hear your childhood inquiries. Looking back, could you have been barking up the wrong tree? I couldn’t resist.

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  3. You’re handling things with some real finesse. I’m impressed. I found the transition from tender innocence to knowledge about realities of the world a bit heartbreaking when they happened to my kids.

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  4. what timing – this week my 11 yr old son was reading a juvenile graphic novel from the library pausing to let me know there was a cuss word(being we live in the south ) – panicking – I check it was the word crap – I’m also grateful he thinks that’s a curse word.

    always enjoy reading your posts

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  5. So funny- what a great age! Parenting kids is a bit like slacklining. Fun, but you had better stay loose- you never know what is going to shift! Today I learned about a new parenting approach called CTFD. I think it’s a reaction to helicopter parenting. If you don’t already know about it, Google it. It has a curse word in it, but I think it is words to live by- not just parent by. Write on, Dadicus!

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  6. Words are so powerful to boys especially. I like that you take the time to explain those words to your boys. I am glad the grandkids are just at fart for now. I remember going to camp when I was nine and hearing the f word for the first time from kids that were in foster care. I thought they were so cool. Coming home I found out real fast how not cool it was to say it. You my friend are a wonderful father.

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      1. Hahahahah hmmmm that might just confuse your sons more if you show them the “pregnant and I know it” video. Isn’t it great, though! I don’t even like that song but the parody made me laugh.

        I will also add that when I first got married, my husband and I hosted an exchange student from Germany. She was sixteen and I taught her ALL the dirty words right off the bat so that way she would know if the kids were pretending to be nice but actually being really horrible. I needn’t have worried as she made loads of friends and was really popular, but still.

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      2. You are a riot. Why are we fascinated with dirty words in every language? Thanks for the video–showed it to my wife and we were cracking up–think I’ll save it for the boys. At least until they know how mommy was sexed.

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