We like words around our house, and have brought our kids up understanding that there is no such thing as a bad word–only words used badly. As such, there are some words that we’ve decided they don’t have the maturity to use until they’re adults. They know these as grown-up words. The Hubster doesn’t use grown-up words a lot–for him they’re like a dash of seasoning here and there to give spice to the point he’s trying to make. For me, however, they are a dietary staple in my spoken vocabulary, like milk or eggs. (Mini true story: Bridget Jones’ friend Shaz–who likes to say f*ck, a lot–might actually be my spirit animal.)
The other night two of our four children were away at a sleepover at their cousins’ house. Only the oldest and the youngest of our clan remained. I was worried that Took might have a little anxiety sleeping alone (she and her sister share a bed. I take an immense amount of joy imagining them like the Bennet sisters, whispering about boys under the covers. I know this is not reality–in reality, it’s an all-out war for who can claim the most space in the bed–but whatever. They’ll thank me for the extra bonding time some day, right?), so as I was tucking her in, I was telling her how grown-up I thought she was, being brave to sleep in her bed alone that night.
At the words grown-up her eye lit up like candles. I was mentally patting myself on the back for expertly navigating the Took Sleeps Alone For The First Time In Her Life waters, and because I was feeling cocky, continued with this train of thought. (Cue Ursula the Sea Witch’s voice: And this was the key to Myndi’s undoing…)
ME: And tomorrow, you can pick out your own clothes, and wear your pretty pink dress up shoes, and I’ll let you wear my red lipstick, just like a grown up.
TOOK: And you know what else?
TOOK: We can drive the car and you can go beep-beep-beep like you do and then I’ll say [enter grown up words that Shaz would have approved of]
(I throw an evil glance at the Hubster. He’s literally clutching the wall in an effort to not lose his shit, but his attempts at trying to belly-laugh silently sound something like a warthog who is suffocating on his own bile. #FAIL. )
ME: Well, we’re just pretending you’re grown up. You’re only grown-up when you turn eighteen.
TOOK: But my birthday is coming.
ME: Yep. And you’ll be four.
TOOK: I think I’ll be eighteen instead.
ME: Pretty sure you’ll be four.
TOOK: I talked to God and he said I’ll be eighteen.
(At this point the Hubster is hyperventilating. Tears are streaming down his face. He’s being super helpful in this whole conversation. HILARITY, MY MAN.)
ME: You’ll be four, and the discussion is closed. [plants a kiss on her forehead] Sleep tight, Tooky.
TOOK: But I still get lipstick, right?
TRUE STORY: Sometimes lipstick helps us cope with life’s disappointments.