Card games were a common occurrence during the holiday gathering seasons at my grandparent’s house when I was growing up. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins would play Tonk, Pokeno, Rummy and other games. The house would be filled with the smells of food, cigarette smoke and laughter.
As a kid, I loved to hang around the adults at the table and watch them play their card games. When I was 4 years old, one such night, I was floating around the card table. I was summoned by my Uncle Butch. He was in his early 20s at the time. He leaned over in his chair and whispered into my ear. I walked over to in the vicinity of grandmother said a 12-letter expletive that starts with m and ends in -er. Everything stopped. Dead silence. She sprang from her chair, grabbed me by the arm, and escorted me to the bathroom where she washed my mouth out with a bar of hand soap. I cried. I didn’t know that I had said something so horrible. I trusted my uncle because as a child, you trust the influence of grown folk.
That was 1980. In 2020, that influence whispering to my kids isn’t a relative, it’s the television and the Internet.
My daughter sometimes imitates the things she sees and hears on media she consumes and it’s usually nothing to bat an eye at, but one day last month I heard her belt out in the direction of her brother, “Guess what? Deez nuts!”
I didn’t share my grandmother’s reaction (that’s a fast track to a DSS caseworker rapping on the front door when your kid talks about ‘what dad did last night’ at school). No, once the initial shock wore off, I was able to calmly let her know that what she said wasn’t appropriate. She took it well, and while she hasn’t said it again, it’s a reminder to make sure I stay on top of what happens to pop up on her TV.
I share this to remind you to have fun and enjoy quality family time during the gathering season this year, check your child’s television programming, and if your mother asks your child what she wants for dessert and she yells, “Deez nuts” smile, shrug, and blame your spouse.
Happy Thanksgiving, FredParent readers.