I picked up Vyas from school on a Saturday afternoon as the school had declared it a working day to compensate for some holidays.He doesn’t run into my arms like the earlier years and thinks he is too ‘big’ for that now.
We were not even out of the school gate when it came.”Ma, what is fuck?”
I was sure I heard him wrong. Being the old-fashioned mom that I am, a typical automatic reflex was to do a quick 360 degree sweep and a reverse sweep to check if anyone heard him. With not enough time to work up an intelligent-sounding answer, I answered extempore- “Its a bad word. Where did you hear it?”. “Ma, I heard A say it. B and I asked him what it meant, but looks like he doesn’t know! ”
Too much dwelling on the ‘subject’ was not going to take us anywhere. So I decided to call it ‘over and out’ and said, ‘OK, you will not use it because its a cuss word and a poor one at that.. Not inside the school, not at home, nowhere! You get it? Probably A is not aware that its not right to use. Am I clear?”, trying to still sound cool. “Awright! But shall we just look up the dictionary? So I can go and tell the fellow what it means?”, he persisted and mommy was not impressed! “Pattu, there are many interesting words for which we shall look up the dictionary. Let’s not bother with this one.” My tone this time must have implied “PERIOD!” for he didn’t prod further.
I knew this day would come, but not this early!! I know you don’t seriously sit and prepare to dole out a nice sounding answer to the child, still…. He is not going to ask me when he’s older because he’d have figured it out himself and hopefully, will apply discretion and keep himself out of trouble. The language of school going children is liberally interspersed with profanity and that disturbs me! Every second movie, English, Tanglish, Hinglish, any-glish for that matter will have ‘shit’, ‘eff’ or any of its cousins in the script! And kids are famous for latching on to things that are tagged forbidden. Apples may be the only exception!!
Tell me how you’d have handled this your style please!!:-)