Tuesday, October 15, 2013

It Sounds Sort of like "Horse": Teaching My Sons Morals

I'm always looking for ways to teach my sons about morals, which would be a gray area for me in some places. Morality, it would seem, falls into the "do as I say, but never as I do or have done. Please. for. the. love. of. God."

Some things are easier to explain than others, but when I throw my own experiences into these lessons in morality... I fail.


Such was the case last night when it was brought up that I had once been to the principal's office (My high school friends of mine reading this need to shut their mouths, I was an angel, got that?). I have Thomas (Deciphering Dad, not the engine, just as annoying) to thank for this mess. I don't even remember how it came up...

"Mommy's been to the principal's office, right Mommy?" Thomas said, shooting me a smirk.

"You went to the principal's office, Mom?" Bay asked. He looked shocked. Obviously, he hasn't been taught our my colorful personal and family history yet.

"Well, yeah. And it was for something really bad. I made fun of a girl who was my friend. I called her a name. It was really bad," I said this all smugly, thinking I could teach my sons something. It hadn't really dawned on me yet that I was going to explain clique behavior with prepubescent females.

"What did you call her?"
"Why would you be mean to your friend?"
"You've always said to never do that!"

The questions they peppered me with came quickly, faster than I could answer. But I wanted to tell the truthish (it's a word), and for them to understand that what I had done was wrong. I wanted to teach them right from wrong.

Oh God, I'm pretty sure I messed this up.

"Well, I called her a nasty word that sort of sounded like horse, but it's not horse and I misspelled it. In a note. The teacher caught it."

"What was the word? Is it one you still say?"

"Um, no! Never." This was a lie. I call Roxy, our dog, a word that sort of sounds like horse regularly when she craps on the pavement, gets onto the couch, or pees on the floor. I just try not to say it in front of the boys. "I also called her a troll, like those weird troll dolls we found at Babe's?"

The boys looked horrified that I could be so mean to a girl. Thomas started laughing. I wanted to kick him.

"Why would you make fun of your friend? And call her a troll? Those things are ugly!" Bay looked horrified.

"Well, um... I dunno. She wasn't that pretty and Mommy had a much larger vocabulary than other fourth graders and liked to say things that other people wouldn't understand. See, I came from a broken home..." That last part might have been in my head.

"Mommy," Bay said, his brother nodding knowingly while they both judged my former nine year old self, "all girls are pretty! You should know better."  Bay and Morgan were incited to take up the cause for women everywhere, whatever that means.

Hell. The kid was totally right. He was parroting back the past almost decade of my feminist, "every woman is gorgeous in her own way," stuff I've crammed down their throats and fully believe in. We don't do ugly shaming in this house, fat shaming, etc. When I say "we," I mean that I forbid it in front of the kids and am guilty of being catty as hell (I try to stick to laughing at what people wear) and also make negative comments about myself in the mirror.

However, since they, you know, listen to me with ears and all, I really try to fight the urge to poke fun at people in any place but my head. My brain is a seriously sick, twisted, and dark place, people.

"Yes, boys, it was really mean of me, wasn't it?" I was seriously thinking I could turn  this around still. "And Mommy got into trouble for it. It's not nice to call people names."

Morgan's anti bullying video script kicked into the "on" position right about then, "You don't say, 'Ya fatty!' 'Ya stupid moron!' You don't ever call people mean names like 'troll' or that word that kind of sounds like 'horse,' Mommy. Be everyone's friend. Be good. Don't be that bully kid."

I tried to explain to them why a girl would say a horrible thing to another girl. There really was no decent explanation except that I'd been very mean. So, I tried that approach. They still didn't get why I would just do that. I finally broke down.

"I did it because I was with a group of catty and bitchy little girls and they hated her, so I had to hate her, too. It's like code of the female. Don't worry, guys really don't pull this crap."  Yup, I ruined that whole deal.

The kids looked at me in horror. Thomas hid back in the kitchen, laughing silently. Because. The dog wouldn't look at me.

Moral of this story: 
I really suck at teaching some kinds of morals. 
And maybe telling stories about them. 
Please don't send me extra kids, okay? 

*Also, if you're that girl who I called the word that I spelled incorrectly and said sounded like "horse," I'm incredibly sorry. You were obviously not that word (Bay also thought I should write an apology letter to you and your mom). You did not look like a troll. I was just better at making up insults than the other girls due to my extensive vocabulary.... and broken home.


  1. This is hilarious! It shouldn't be, but it is. You rock at story telling, by the way. Our kids are five and almost three so I haven't had to go through this yet. I used to not be a catty person but have become one since getting married and having kids (it's like all the suppressed emotions have come out since I became a mommy). I also used to not talk like a sailor, but again marriage and parenthood have brought out the more colorful language. Unfortunately, my children have learned some of the words. I am mortified that our youngest will say 'd---it', but in a way, I am secretly pleased that at least he knows the appropriate time to use it. As for our oldest? When his speech therapist sent home a progress report back in February, stating how Thomas knew how to say his Fu words, I was like "Oh, I know!" Fortunately, he had NOT said that word to them, but a few days prior, he came up to me and kept repeating the F word in different intonations. I now explain to the kids that "I know mommy uses those words but she shouldn't, and neither should you." Now, if only I really could stop using those words, we'd be in great shape.

    1. Morgan learned the word "MF" while going through Atlanta traffic with me. You're good, lol. I curse like a sailor... mostly because I once was one.

  2. This is hilarious. It shouldn't be but it is. Mostly because I can see this happening to me. Unfortunately for me though, my son has picked up on a lot of nasty due to kids being mean to him. He reciprocates living by the golden rule modified: treat others how they treat you. Oy...