The D word

We’re driving home after a loud dinner at a local pizzeria when Eli informs Sally and me that he knows the D word.

Sally and I look at each other. The D word? Is that damn, dumbass, dingus, douche bag, or dick, I wonder? Or maybe dildo? That’d be just swell. Some little jerk teaching our six year old to say dildo.

As with most things parent, I have no idea how to handle the introduction of the D word. I mean, how should I respond? What should I say? It’s like I’ve been blasted into a foreign country, and I’m suddenly forced to communicate by nodding and pointing and grinning like a moron.

“Eli,” Sally asks. “What do you think the D word is?”

Sally seems oddly calm. Doesn’t she realize what’s happening here, that we’re witnessing the end of childhood and innocence and all that’s pure and good and right and beautiful?

“It’s a very bad word, Mom.”

A very bad word. Fantastic. Like dildo. Yes. It has to be dildo. I’m convinced now.

And I bet it was that turd Zachary from school who introduced our sweet child to that adult language. That does it. I’m calling his no-account parents as soon as we get home. I mean, really. Dildo. First graders shouldn’t be exposed to language like that.

“It’s okay, Eli,” Sally says. “You can tell us.”

I cringe and hold my breath and sweat a little and brace for damn, dumbass, dingus, douche bag, dick, and dildo.

“It’s dumb,” Eli states. “That’s the D word.”

Dumb. Oh. Of course. The D word is dumb. How could I be so, well, you know.

I exhale.

“Yes, son,” I explain, regaining my ability to speak. “That’s the D word, and we shouldn’t call people or pets that, except for maybe your cat Snurp, because he really is dumb.”

“Dad. You said the bad word.”

“Oh. Right. I mean Snurp is retar, um, not smart.”

Sally shakes her head and sighs. For some reason, she does that lots.

As we climb out of the car, I wonder how long before Eli learns those other D words. And then I wonder if he already knows them.

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6 Responses to “The D word”


  1. 1 Barb Black January 31, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Funny. I was just ranting at a friend for constantly referring to himself as being dumb. It is a bad word.

    • 2 lesleyfamily January 31, 2011 at 3:31 pm

      It is, and I really should be more careful with the language I use in front of the kids. In some ways, I’m too serious, too strict as a parent. In others, I’m too much of a cut up. Hopefully, it more or less balances out.

  2. 3 Amanda February 2, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    Right now, my kids think that “shut up” and “idiot” are awfully sinful.

  3. 4 slouchy February 5, 2011 at 7:53 am

    they learn that at school, i think. that ‘dumb’ is a bad word. and i have to agree.

  4. 5 Laura February 8, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Yes, my angel referred to both her teachers “Diablos, como mi mama.”

    And a few weeks ago at a kid’s birthday party she came up to me as I was talking with another parent. “Mommy, I didn’t say “F*ck,” I said “Nuts.”

    Very proud.

    • 6 lesleyfamily February 8, 2011 at 7:01 pm

      In all seriousness, you should be proud. Grace is a sweet girl, even if she’s picked up some, um, colorful language–from her father, of course.


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