Monthly Archives: October 2013

Potty mouth


“You fucking idiot!” screams Cool J at LL at the Y this morning. I am walking hand-in-hand with Baby MoFo, trailing the older boys by about 20 feet. Near the boys, I see a startled woman look this way and that (Where is the parent of this cussing FOUR YEAR OLD? she is surely thinking. Or else she is wondering how a dwarf-dad could speak to his child that way. Cool J is small for his age. I  really was once asked by a stranger, in earnest, if he was a dwarf. “He just speaks like a grown-up,” she explained. At the time it was because Cool J was talking about implementing certain modifications into his Lego structure, not swearing like a drunken frat boy). Rather than reprimand Cool J, I stoop to tell Baby MoFo something, looking directly at him and pretending he’s my only concern. Parent of the swearing psychopath? Who, me? I just have this cute little boy who holds my hand and sings songs about dinosaurs.

Afterwards, I give Cool J an earful. And then–a horrible thought flies into my head. “You’re not speaking this way at your new school like you did at your old school, are you?” I demand to know.


“Are you sure?”


“You never get in trouble for what comes out of your mouth?”

“Well . . . ”


“Well . . . a little.”

Fuck!! (–in my head, of course. I am a model parent). “You said the F-word at school?”

“No, not that, I promise!”

“What then?”

“Well . . . ”


“It’s just that I don’t think the girls like  my song.”

“What song?” Baby MoFo is still singing at the top of his lungs–

        Oh he wants to light the candles and 
        He wants to drink the wine. 
        He wants to eat the challah and 
        He wants to dine with us. 

        There's a dinosaur knocking at my door 
        Knockin' one two three 
        There's a dinosaur knocking at my door 
        He wants to have Shabbat 
        He wants to have Shabbat 
        He wants to have Shabbat with me.

Is there any chance this is the song Cool J is singing? “It’s not a bad one.”

“What do you say?”


I thought the Gangnam Style phase was over. But alas, for Cool J, the allure of bad–or even potentially bad, or borderline bad, or potentially borderline bad–language is strong. I guess, for this song anyway, it’s better that he sings the lyrics than do the motions–

Etiquette class — take 2


I’m not going!

You thought etiquette class was a bizarre idea, didn’t you? You thought I should just sign him up for little league like all the other parents do?

Ha! I thought it was genius. And the reason I thought it was genius was the aftermath.

We come home from day 1 of etiquette class, and my mom calls. Usually LL refuses the phone because he’s playing DS or doing his homework or playing Wii or doesn’t feel like it or it’s not Monday (once, my mom made the mistake of telling the boys that she would like a phone/skype date with them every Monday. The routine never materialized, but the idea stuck forever). But that day (a Tuesday), he took the call readily. “Yes, hello. This is LL. Is this Gramma?” He spent the conversation telling her how much he loved her and missed her. My mom marvelled at this foreign creature I was passing off as my son.

The next evening we had a babysitter. This same babysitter (we’ll call her Magda), who is outstanding, had threatened never to return after her last visit (another babysitter didn’t threaten but just canceled on us and never came back after a world-famous performance by all 3 kids). Magda came, albeit reluctantly. At the end of the night, I asked, fearfully, “How did it go?” She said, “That LL is something else! He has the most beautiful manners and we had a long conversation about European cities. I felt like I was talking to an adult!”


I was, of course, tremendously excited for the second class. I went to pick him up, armed with snacks (vital for good behavior) and “man clothes” (I even remembered his shoes, an improvement on the first class).

We walked into the church where the class is held. “Can you tie my tie?” he asked. I didn’t know how. The first time I had asked The Scientist to tie it and then I left it loose enough to slide over LL’s head. I said, “Don’t worry about it,” and took him to the class, where the program director told me to go to the side and tie the tie. I stood in the doorway. He realized I wasn’t moving. “Do you know how?” he asked. Not meanly, but I felt kind of stupid. I shook my head. “Next time,” the elderly patrician gentleman courteously admonished me, “Please watch a youtube video before you come.” He did LL’s knot and propelled him gently into the classroom. LL turned back. “Where’s W?” he asked of his friend. But W, it turned out, was at the ENT where his first-grader brother was having an emergency procedure to remove a bead from his nasal cavity (“I did that during an art project . . . in kindergarten,” the kid reported. Apparently beads can hang out in nasal cavities for long periods without causing problems. But then they do. On etiquette class day). “Will you watch me? Are you going to stay and watch? I want you to watch!” called out LL as he slowly walked into the class. Despite–or perhaps because–he’s my eldest (the only one who ever had us with no siblings around), he is our #1 “look at me!” child.

“No!” said Cool J. “I want to go out to the playground!”

“Playground!” echoed Baby MoFo.

A second later, LL was by our side. “My head hurts.”

“No it doesn’t.”

“Yes, it does.”

“It didn’t a second ago.”

“It does now.”

“You’re going in.”

“I can’t.”

“You have to.”


And then I threw a hissy fit rivalling any LL has ever thrown. But he wouldn’t be moved. He wasn’t going, and that was that.

Alas, another parenting dream down the toilet. Sigh.