Sugar And Spice And Everything Nice Except For The Voice In Her Head That Says Bad Things

June 16, 2011

Here’s the kind of conversation that my husband and daughter have, apparently, while I’m away:

Emilia: “Daddy, I thought of a good name.”

Kyle: “What’s that?”

Emilia: “Mrs Poopy McFucky Pants.”

According to the email that Kyle sent me relating this story – and believe me, that is a wonderful email to get when you’re hundreds of miles away from your kids, eating room service quesadillas in a New York hotel room and worrying about whether your frequent traveling is having an adverse effect on their upbringing – there was a very long moment of silence. And then another one.

Then he asked her how she thought up that name.

“Oh, I made it up from the voice in my head that says bad things.”

There’s a part of me that wishes that she’d have answered in such a way as to indicate that she didn’t mean to say exactly what she said, that she’d actually just fumbled the pronunciation of ‘McFussy Pants.’ But then there’s the other part of me that is grateful to know for sure that, yes, she did mean to say that and that it did indeed come from ‘the voice in her head that says bad things’ (which voice I also have in my own head, so she comes by it honestly), the better to know that that she understands that the name ‘McFucky Pants’ involves some terminology that is not appropriate for use in polite company, and that that terminology retains its rhetorical force even when integrated into a proper name. And it’s also worth noting that her incorporation of the word ‘fuck’ into a proper name demonstrates, arguably, that she internalized her lessons from last year about the proper and improper uses of that word (and that there are proper uses of that word, I should remind you all, is a lesson that she taught me), and that she is able to properly apply those lessons in casual conversation, while still understanding that her views on the proper uses of the word ‘fuck’ are entirely subjective and should be flagged as such. These, I think, are things to be proud of.

And then, of course, there’s this: ‘Mrs McFucky Pants’ is kind of an awesome name.

I really kind of inclined to say that this is all win. Am I bad mother for thinking so?

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    { 32 comments }

    mapsgirl June 16, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Totally not a bad mother for thinking so. There is a lot of creativity to the name! And proper usage of a word is always good.

    The trouble comes when they use it in the wrong place and then another child tells the teacher because she said it at school. This is where we are at. Not fun.

    So let’s hope that she keeps reminding herself not to use it in polite company (or at school).

    Raine June 16, 2011 at 11:42 am

    @mapsgirl, This has turned into a running joke around out house. We planned on homeschooling, or doing a 1/2 & 1/2 program (core classes at home, PE, art/music, etc at a local day school) since before I even got pregnant. Now, though, my husband likes to tell his parents we’re going to homeschool so our children can cuss without getting in trouble. They think we’re serious.

    lindajones June 16, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    too bad you didn’t think of it first!

    Denise June 16, 2011 at 11:24 am

    This is probably my favorite post ever. It encompasses all my favorite things: musings on rhetoric and language, parenting, and kids cussing. How can you beat that? I’d count this a win on multiple levels, too.

    HerMelness Speaks June 16, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Could have been worse. She could have said she wanted to be Barbie-licious. Doesn’t come any more foul-mouthed than that!

    red pen mama June 16, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Oh, dear, if you are a bad mother, I don’t care, because I laughed my ass off through this whole post. I want to adopt Emilia for a weekend. Please? She could teach Kate and Flora a thing or four. You can borrow Michael. (He’s only 6 months old.)

    Jaelithe June 16, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Whenever my kid even THINKS about cursing I just start in on a long explanation about the social history of English and the ghettoization of Anglo-Saxon words during the era of Norman occupation and the sociocultural trappings of language etiquette standards and then his eyes glaze over and he promises to take care not to risk offending uptight adults again if only I’ll just STOP TALKING.

    sarah June 16, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    @Jaelithe, ha! i’m gonna try that.

    shasta June 16, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    It’s true, Mrs. Poopy McFucky Pants is kind of an awesome name. Hard to dispute Emilia’s logic.

    Marinka June 16, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    What is this “polite company” that you speak of? Sounds interesting.

    Minka June 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    No, you are not a bad mother for thinking this is all a win. You are actually a very smart, open-minded mom who can actually see past the fact that your child uttered the word “fuck” (or some variation, thereof) aloud, and can also see all the great stuff implied by this conversation with your husband. Am I a bad mother/blogger/adult/human being for holding this as one of my all-time favorite posts authored by you?

    Might it have something to do with my own particular fondness for the “fuck” word (the blank tile in the scrabble that is language, I swear)? Might it have something to do with the fact that I utter this word, and many variations and derivations thereof, aloud, and frequently, at varying decibels, in the presence of my 6 and 9 yr old children — and justify it by telling them that swearing is a privilege that comes with age? That it falls into the same category as drinking alcohol, driving, voting, and other so-called “grown-up” activities which one may only engage in upon reaching a certain age that (hopefully) also signifies a certain wisdom as to how and when to take advantage of/implement such privileges…

    I am also the mom of a child who once sang, while sitting on the toilet, “Fuck me, fuck that, nobody likes it when I say that! Fuck you, fuck it, it’s a bad word! Fuck fuck fuck fuck… such a bad word, but I like to say it! La la la la…” Which I overheard one day as I was getting dressed and my preschool age kid was potty training herself… little legs swinging back and forth as she crooned this little ditty, which apparently was inspired by having recently driven with my husband who swore profusely when he was cut off by some asshole driver who nearly hit my husband’s car…

    So, yeah, pretty much a fabulous post. Mrs. McFucky Pants might be the BEST. NAME. EVER. Clearly, she has inherited your gift for words. BRILLIANT.

    verybadcat June 16, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    i think is pure, unadulterated win, myself.

    my parents used the words “dirty” and “ugly” in regards to swearing, which is most often done when one is angry, and i resent the implication, along with several other subtle implications that angry or fierce or harsh is dirty and ugly. lies are the only words i can think of that are truly dirty and ugly.

    what was remarkably effective: a quiet little chat on Daddy’s knee about what the world expects from sweet little girls who are not yet in training bras. also, that using those words in front of other adults might bring trouble for my father, who gave “a rat’s fat ass” what his darling little girl said on the playground- until he gets in trouble for it. so, i give you permission to use those words, but not at school or in front of grandma or we’ll all be in hot water.

    which meant, to me, that my dad understood the absurdity of certain social norms, but that we had to play by the world’s rules to win. and i could dig that, even as a first grader.

    amusingly enough, he used the same tactic to explain gender bias a few years later. ;)

    Martini Mom June 16, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I think Mrs. Poopy McFucky Pants is probably the greatest name ever, and I would’ve had a very hard time not high-fiving Emilia were I her father.

    Jessica June 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    If I were away from my kids and received that email, I would laugh my head off and crack another beer. Mrs. McFucky Pants is kind of an awesome name.

    Jenifer June 16, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed this! Seriously, Emilia’s clever little mind knows no bounds. Get some rest you are going to need it!

    Lemminglady June 16, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Having already had the conference with my 32 month old’s preschool teacher about his dropping the f-bomb, I have to admire both Emilia’s creativity and restraint. My son is just learning that there are different things we say for different audiences, but he finds it hard to wrap his brain around this because he feels it’s dishonest. Though I am inclined to agree with him, I think my child is starting a life-long lesson in knowing how to pick his fights.

    Kudos to you for steering her in the right direction.

    The Woman Formerly Known as Beautiful June 16, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    I thought McFucky Pants was a new character at McDonald’s. My kids will be disappointed.

    All Fooked Up June 16, 2011 at 6:06 pm

    My kids are much older now and they are great kids although there is no lack of cursing but I agree that the name shows much imagination, which is good, and also the ability to know WHEN to curse so I say

    win-win

    Of course, I’m all about cursing properly.

    Amanda June 16, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    I fucking love your blog! :o P

    Amanda June 16, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    I fucking love your blog! :p

    Alli Worthington June 16, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Sounds like a very catchy MommyBlog title. Better grab *that* URL pronto. ;)

    Related- I may have to give Emilia my “serious eyes”.

    a June 16, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    The upside of being in the New York hotel room is that you don’t have to be the one who tries to turn that snort of laughter into a cough or sneeze…

    It is a delightful name. That kind of creativity will serve her well!

    Jacki (JackiYo) June 16, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    That’s all kinds of awesome. My kids always choose to be around grandparents when they utter those fun words for the first time.

    sassy June 17, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Could you personally thank Emilia for coming up with a proper name for that obnoxious ‘bad voice’? Because seriously this is THE most awesome name ever.
    And proper use of many words is helping our children grow MORE as we aren’t lying to them and acknowledging that yes, the word FUCK does exist, but it is not appropriate to use in every situation. Just like it’s not appropriate to walk around naked all the time, but sometimes it is perfectly acceptable!
    Thank you for being an inspiration :)
    And for sharing the inspiration you gain from your beautiful babies!!

    Christine June 17, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    I now know how to refer (mentally, of course!) to the judgy mom at the playground, the grouchy cashier at the food co-op, and the woman who refuses to move into the subway car to make room for new passengers. Thanks, Emilia!!!

    cagey June 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    When my daughter was very small – about 2 years old – she said very quietly from the back of the car “Mama, only adults say shit, right?”

    Yep, baby girl – those are adult words. My kids will have a full repertoire of curse words to choose from when they are older. Maybe that makes me a horrible parent, but words are just that – WORDS. I’d rather concentrate on more important things, like real actions of kindness and understanding towards humans and animals.

    Fuck, yes.

    Crunchy Carpets June 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    My not even two year old says in a super cute voice ‘FUCK YOU’ and we heard her singing ‘fuuuck fuck fuuuuck fuck’ yesterday.

    I am a very bad parent indeed…..and we are now waiting for the child services to take them all away.

    Erin June 17, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Giggle, I wish I had thought of Mrs. Poopy McFucky Pants. And you know what I am going to call my husband the next time that I see him.

    I work as a behavioural strategist, and I am always surprised by the number of people who are panicked by swearing. As long as kids know that there is a time and place for it, and that it is the audience that you need to keep in mind, then I don’t think it is an issue. And it leads to great stories:

    1) One camping trip when my son was 6, he asked me “mommy, what does shit mean?” I told him it was another word for poop. He was all upset because he thought it meant something way worse than that!

    2) my daugther at 14 came in the house telling on her brother then 11. “Mom, he and his friends are swearing!!” So when he came in looking all sheepish and afraid because he thought he was going to get in trouble, I said ” Don’t swear infront of your sister, she finds it offensive. Also avoid swearing infront of adults, they usually don’t like it either”. My daughter stood there with her mouth hanging open, seriously questioning my sanity for awhile.

    Tara @ The Fabulous Shopping Mom June 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Mrs.Poopy McFucky Pants is definitely an Epic Win! Not only is the name completely creative but she did a great job of using it.

    zchamu June 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    I’m just waiting for the day when my daughter comes out with “son of a bitch”. It’s gonna happen.

    Lady goo goo gaga June 18, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    I know some people that I will now be referring to as ms. Mcfucky pants!!! Genius! I also love that she has a voice in her head that says bad words…lol!!!!

    Ella Callahan June 29, 2011 at 7:14 am

    It’s great that you have a record of this because my kids said so many wacky things when they were young but I have forgotten them. I really wish I had written them down because they can be more funny and appropriate than any adult could come up with.

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