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poophead — when alex gets upset or excited or happy or is basically conscious, this is the word he is most likely saying. in example:

alex, do you want a glass of milk?
no. i want a glass of poophead.

alex, is this your toy?
no, it is your poophead.

alex, if you're going to cry, you need to go to your room.
no poophead! you go to your poophead room you poophead.


i think bella went through this phase too. for some reason we squashed it much quicker than we have with alex. i don't think this looseness is a product of the second child slide as much as it is that when bella called you a poophead you felt like you just got verbally accosted by a long-haul trucker. alex's use of the term feels much more innocuous, gentle even.

the one true problem is his relentless use of the word. it is so constant marty has finally stepped in and drawn the line. now when he inserts it into conversation, we ask if he has to use the restroom because that is where poop and all poop-related things are to reside, so if he's saying it, it must mean he has such business to attend to and he should go there until he no longer feels the need to say it. he's slowly loosening his grip on these two favored syllables.

this episode got me thinking about the delicacy of language. poophead is silly. shithead is serious. same message. same destination. same everything, but the words. why is that? think if his responses to the above were instead:

no. i want a glass of shithead.
no it is your shithead.
no shithead! you go to your shithead room you shithead.


and some others he would have floated out there in the past include:

my teachers are shitheads.
you're a mean, old shithead dad.
bella's a shithead for taking my pillow.
i'm not a shithead, you're a shithead!


quite a different tenor to it all. obscenity is just fascinating. first, what makes shithead so much worse than poophead? and semi-connected, who gets to set a word's severity? i remember years ago, marty and e-love were having something very close to this debate. e-love's test if something is blue or not is to shout it down the school hallway (he is a high school teacher). anything he can shout in a crowded passageway and not get in trouble for is not a swear. e-love offered to demonstrate to marty. he walked to the door, opened it, stepped into the center of the hallway and screamed BUTT-HOLE! he then walked back in the room, closed the door and was ready to resume the conversation. marty was shocked.

you can't scream butt-hole down the hallway.

why not? it's not a bad word.

yes it is.

no it's not. i just screamed it down the hallway.

i know you did. and you shouldn't have.

is butt a bad word?

no.

is hole a bad word?

no.

then butt-hole is fine. asshole is not. i wouldn't shout asshole down the hall. but butt-hole, no problem.


i'm a little conflicted because i kind of agree with both arguments in this case. butt is totally church-worthy (although it has come to my attention that some homes police its use). but when you graft 'hole' onto its end, it's got a little bite to it. but why asshole is exponentially more scathing, and i agree it is, escapes me.

let me come back to the banning of the word 'butt' in peoples homes. i guess on one hand it's good that your life is simple and safe enough that you can place such a missive on the 'things that will get our parental attention' list, but on the other hand, aren't there greater victories to be had in the brief time we have with our children? i asked what these homes used instead of butt; bottom and heiny were the lead replacements. the second i heard the word heiny i was jettisoned back to my youth where i recalled the word heiny-hole being used as in 'does your heiny-hole hurt' after experiencing a bout of diarrhea. in my personal opinion, heiny-hole sounds way more decadent and terrorizing than any other quip cited in this brief passage.

and as i wrap this up i realize the hypocrisy in my thoughts. in our home we call butts, biscuits. we got this from a neighbor lady who uses biscuits for butts, tillies for vaginas and willies for penises. i immediately became smitten with biscuits and tillies given their imaginative use. we use biscuits here. but, not because we're afraid of the b-word, but just because i like the added spirit in the phrase. as for tillies and willies, our children were already comfortably tossing vaginas and penises about in conversation, but we hadn't yet fixed on a name for our collective asses. and that is how this family came to call our butt-cheeks our biscuits.

JAN2007

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