Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Words, Crime and Punishment

Last Saturday we went to my sister's home for a double birthday party. My nieces became 14 and 16 years old and my! How beautiful they are becoming as they a starting to resemble the adults they'll soon be.
It was a potluck style dinner party and very relaxed. The whole family showed up, but unfortunately, none of their school friends came. The 14 year old (the one that had a very bad year last year due to bullying and other issues) invited a few of her friends over a few nights earlier for a "kick it". I'd never heard of that before, but I'm old and not up on the newest lingo for anything a teenager would want to do. A "kick it" is apparently a small gathering of friends but very relaxed--just chips and dip, maybe all watch TV together. But no big "party" type thing.
But no one showed up. Ouch. So sad.
Well, actually one did show up but at 10:30PM. Come on. Is that the time to show up to a friend's house?? In my day (did I just say that?) you didn't even call past 9PM, let alone knock on the door. Somehow we've forgotten to teach the younger generation about proper social behavior. Where is Miss Manners? We need her--in grade school, middle AND high school. Stopping now. I'm feeling reeeally old.
But this family celebration went really well. The girls asked only for money and they both received just over $250 each. Not too bad a booty! But T was a bit of pain. He kept touching , poking and being a general pest to Opa (who allows it and often encourages it) and then his cousins. He tries to play with them, but they have to play the way he wants to play. Then he just gets loud and the maniacal laugh he produces doesn't help things. He would knock on the girl's door and want to be part of the action, but when you're a teenage girl, playing with an energetic 6 year old isn't what you want to do. There was no other "kids" to play with and he felt shut out. So he received a few "time outs" for being too loud and generally not listening to what I'd asked him to do.
All seemed better after J (his 9 year old cousin) showed up. Now he had a boy closer to he age to play with--although they often don't get along too well either, since he likes to pal around with the 18 year old cousin. And you know what they say...2 is company, 3 is a crowd. So T usually gets teased and made the butt of jokes or just excluded all together. It hurts to see it all. I wish they were all closer in age, but there's nothing I can do about that.
Towards the end of the evening, the guys had all congregated in the backyard around a camp-fire and the women were all in the kitchen (so typical, huh?) and my dad said I should go check things in the backyard because T was being punished for saying a bad word. Dad felt sorry for him, but didn't intervene (which would have caused all KINDS of problems), so--Thanks Dad, for that.
I went back and saw my son sitting away from the fire on the bench with a solemn look on his face. I smiled but didn't go to him right away. None of the guys said anything to me, so I waited a bit. Soon, T waved me over and started to twist his fingers in my hair as he recounted how he "forgot it was a bad word and I said a bad word and I didn't mean to, but I said it and now I have to sit here, can I get out? I told him saying bad words is not acceptable and that he'd have to stay in the Naughty Spot until Uncle Mike says he can get out.
T and I had just had this discussion 2 days ago. He has been flirting with the power of those "bad words". He'll say "jack ass" and then "But no Mama. That's just a donkey so it's OK to say that." Or "shet" (I' m not telling him how to really spell it) and "Oh Fuckey".
Whaaaaat? Whatdidyousay????
T, that's a very, very bad word (I did't tell him the root bad word but he got the message, or so I thought). You cannot say those bad words ever.
(BTW, I very rarely swear. I try to reserve it for when I reeeally need it--that way it has a nice punctuation on the feelings of the moment. And nice shock value, sometimes. )
Not the "I" word (idiot), "S" work (shup up, shit), "H" word (hell) or "F word. "Oh." But you could see that the mere power of these words was intoxicating and the potential use or accidental utterance could be very exciting.
So he said the "F" word, clear as day (according to my brother in laws). The men were shocked and he was instructed as to what a bad thing it was and T was to sit on the naughty bench until enough time had passed to make it feel like a just punishment. After a short while I heard T laughing it up in the backyard again.
Actually, I was glad that it happened. T has tons of admiration and respect for his uncles and when they say something it tends to have more effect than if I were to tell him. Maybe we won't have too many "whoops" moments with bad words in the nearer future.
We all left with full bellies and good memories.
Even T. (He recovers pretty quick.)

1 comment:

Demeter said...

The funny thing about bad words is that kids are fascinated by them, not because they understand them, but because of the effect they cause on people. They see people's reactions and want to exert those reactions in them to get a punch effect. My kids do not know these words yet, but when the time comes, I am sure they will also get time out. It is good that you have relative who could be an example to T so he can emulate them, when your words are not strong enough to him...