Monday, April 28, 2008

The "P" Word

Ours is a household with loose rules. We try not to sweat the small stuff, parenting-wise, so that Sophie, Alex and I are together and present, instead of arguing over whether it's OK or not to wear your Crocs to bed. It's not for everyone, but this is the way our family is. Sophie takes great pleasure in picking out her clothes each day before school to create a very unique look that I like to call Boca Raton Bag Lady. Further, the rules are: You can pretty much wear what you want to bed, as long as you sleep; you can pretty much have whatever you want for dinner as long as you eat at least some of it. Wearing seatbelts in the car is non-negotiable, but, hey, you can use any word you want at home, as long as you don't cuss at school.

And then today, the chickens came home to roost.

"Mom," Sophie explained to me today, "you can call big girl underpants 'panties.'" I think I may have lost consciousness for a moment.

You see, for reasons I can't explain, but that probably have to do with a certain series of obscene phone calls that plagued my childhood home in the early '80s, I can't bear to hear the word "panties," much less say it. Even typing the word gives me the heebie-jeebies, and I'm probably going to have to spend the rest of my night with my fingers resting in a bath of sulphuric acid. ("You're soaking in it!")

No one is sadder than I that a new reign of censorship has begun between my daughter and I. Here we are, after three and a half years under my careful tutelage--"These are your underpants"--arguing over the P word in the backyard.

"No, honey, actually you can't call them panties," I said, wincing. "They are underwear or underpants or even undergarments, but that's all." And thus a new rule was born: You can call them panties, as long as you only do so at school. I can't wait for her teenage years; I'm considering getting it over with and taking a pickax to my eardrums now.


Gayle Etcheverry said...

OMG Jody, this is great! I cannot even imagine how i'd react either.

xoxo gayle

Verna said...

When my youngest daughter was in pre-school (actually, it was nursery school, but she wasn't having any of that), I let her choose her own outfits and accessories (yes, she accessorized). One day her outfit was so odd that I wrote a note to her teacher and pinned it to her shirt: "Sheila is allowed to choose her own clothes."

It might give you some hope to know that those early years of outfit experimentation paid off: Sheila grew up to be a very well-dressed young woman, and I had absolutely nothing to do with that. If it's not jeans (black or blue) and a tee shirt, it's probably not in my closet.

Good luck with the "P" thing.

amy said...

I like the word knickers, Jody. I feel so British when I say it. In fact, I like the entire sentence: "I've just bought some posh knickers to wear for me undergarments."

The p word is what my mom likes to say: "I need to run to JC Penny for some new pairs of panties." It does sound really ridiculous.

Personally, when wearing certain outfits, I occasionally go commando. I know that's way, WAY too much information, but I feel it's necessary to relay it to you anyway, because in several years you may have to deal with that term. Hopefully you won't. I didn't begin this practice until my late 20's, and by then I was no longer discussing the buying of undergarments with my mother. Well, *I* wasn't at least...she still would, whenever she needed those p word things.

Genevieve Hinson said...

I've always had an aversion to that word as well. Used it in a sentence today and cringed.

My youngest son is very into what he wears to school and how it's worn.

Sometimes his sandals are on the wrong feet and his shorts backward, but that's how he wanted them - so that's how he leaves the house.

I'm sure his daycare folks think I'm batty, but its his style and its not hurting anyone :).