February 7, 2011

the thing about scrabble...

Sometimes I feel like I could host my own personal "Kids Say the Darnedest Things" show. I really do. My children come up with strange and silly whoppers on an almost daily basis. I'd like to blame my husband, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I was that child as well, so I'll accept that it's my genes that have them running around with their eyes closed making ear splitting screeches - because they are using echolocation to avoid the telephone poles in the sidewalk (Briton) or explaining how the sun has to wear sunglasses, because it's so bright up there (Evelyn) or trying to use the F word when playing scrabble (Briton again, thank goodness, can you imagine if my four year old knew that word?"
Around Christmas we started a weekly scrabble night, soup and scrabble night actually, and it's been a lot of fun. I'm already trying to decide what the summer version will be. Probably hot dogs and scrabble, although it doesn't really go. Salads and scrabble would be better and might work if I can get enough whole meal, easy to make salads to keep us going. Most nights we eat at the table, with napkins and a tablecloth or place mats. Not always, but I'm attempting to bang some table manners into their heads so we try to be a little formal with dinner. But on soup and scrabble night we are lazy. I am lazy. It's just bowls and spoons and the scrabble board. On the coffee table more often than not. It's delicious, and I'm not talking about the soup, although we've had some good ones (unless you talk to Evelyn, soup apparently doesn't fall into one of her pre-selected food groups - beige breads, beige pastas, beige grains, beige milk products, and grapes or orange for a little color) but the casualness is delicious, and also fun.

The first few games Briton was irritated that we wouldn't just let him spell words the way he wanted (also, I fear, the fault of my genes. I suck at spelling) but now he's starting to find the challenge fun. We play in teams (boys vs. girls) and just try for the highest points per word rather than keeping score (so far, that's next, add a little math in with the spelling practice). Evie is in charge of tile distribution and helps me put my words out so she doesn't feel left out and Will makes sure Briton's words are real before laying them on the board.

Last week, toward the end of the game I heard Briton mutter "I wish we had a U". This is pretty common, the "I wish we had a..." I think he's still testing the rules, on the off chance that we'll let him just rummage in the bag for the letters of his choice. But this time Will looked at the word in question and replied "Nooooo, if you put that out there, I think your mother's head might explode." Which, of course, made me insanely curious about what word he could be talking about. So naturally I texted Will. I know, bad. We use our phones way too much. And yes, we text each other while we are both in the house, even in the same room quite often. But to be fair, we mostly use it for good. Like "Can you turn the TV down, the kids are almost asleep." or "I'm sneaking out the backdoor for bookclub so Evie doesn't freak out." It's like when our parents used to spell words out so we didn't know what they were talking about "do you want to go get I-C-E-C-R-E-A-M?" Except it lasts longer because even when they can spell you can still carry on secret conversations. Plus, I have a hard time spelling out loud when I'm tired and my phone auto corrects so my texts actually make sense. Most of the time...

"What word?" I asked

ding! ("Mom, someone is dinging you!")

"FCK, he says he needs a U"

Holy Shit! My kid knows the word fuck! And he knows how to spell it!

Now here's the deal. I can't ask him where he learned it because, as far as he knows, I don't know that he even thought of it. And as Will pointed out, it wasn't like he was using it in the way it's normally used, he just had the letters, or most of them, and was playing the game. And I couldn't laugh about it because, again, I wasn't supposed to know. So on we went, me trying simultaneously not to laugh or be horrified (not that I don't swear, by the way, I do, but I try not to swear in front of my kids and somehow I just thought that particular word had escaped his ears up till now. Laughable, probably, but there you are)

At least it's improving his spelling. I mean, that "ck" combination can be tricky.

When did your kids drop the F-bomb for the first time? I know I knew it by the end of elementary school but I'm reasonably sure I didn't say it in front of my parents until I was well into adulthood. In fact, I'm not sure I've EVER said it in front on my parents. Did you go with the shocked "we never say that word!" approach or stick with the don't react and they won't know it's a big deal stance. Because if he's spelling it, I'm sure it will be popping out of his mouth before long....

**Photo reenactment, obviously, since I wasn't privy to the original. And with Bananagrams because I was too lazy to go upstairs and get Scrabble out. Which begs the question, why is there is a glass full of Bananagrams letters on my kitchen shelves in the first place.