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.