cussing for five year olds

Today Adam asked me to talk to him about what the middle finger salute means. The same rascally kid at his preschool keeps telling him about all this sordid sort of stuff- he’s younger than Adam but has an older sister. A first grader. So Adam and I had a good discussion about linguistics, cussing/swearing, the utility and pratfalls and various social conventions which tend to guide the usage of coarse language. For the purposes of an honest and open examination, we talked about damn and shit as examples. We made it clear he’s free to ask us about any words. We didn’t talk about the f word itself, at this point he only knows the middle finger represents a nasty insult and the word itself is vulgar in most contexts. I’ll let nature run its course and deal with the f word when it comes up through his peer channels. We don’t swear out of habit in our household, but when Adam was three years old he would sympathetically squeak a “dammit” or two when I got ticked off about something.

We went to the pumpkin patch this afternoon, Dr. Maze’s Farm was a deviation from our usual pilgrimage to Fall City Farms in Snoqualmie Valley but some friends invited us to join them. I think I prefer Fall City Farms, but Dr. Maze’s is a neat setting: It’s on the opposite side of Lake Washington from us in the lush bottomland between Woodinville and Redmond, an expanse of scenic farms and fields threatened by sprawling leafy suburbs.

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