Sunday, August 23, 2009

All Four Love

We've been away camping for most of a week. We spent part of it at an earthly paradise called Berkeley Tuolumne Family Camp. More about that later when the van is unpacked.

Clem brought along her Wreck This Journal journal.

She enjoyed burning it...
tearing it...

...making tongue paintings after eating jolly ranchers and otherwise indulging herself in the mildly transgressive invitation to deface a book every way imaginable.

Actually, I am not sure she got the transgressive nature of the book. It was just a fun activity book.

She was startled to find a "spit your coffee on this page" page. I had to explain that this was actually a book for grownups. That it was supposed to help free their creativity to treat a book this way. After she threw the book from a high place she said she had a hard time imagining a grownup doing that.

I was flipping through her journal and I came across this transgressive invitation and her response.

She caught me snapping a photo.
Clem: Why are you taking a picture of that page?
Me: I liked your four-letter word.
Clem: Oh. It was the only one I could think of.

Imagine a world--a world of traffic jams, computer glitches, lost keys, telephone solicitors--where the only four letter word people could think of was love.

Go on. Imagine. I'll wait.

I asked Mike to imagine such a world and he said it would be @#*&-ing boring.

Greta (who is 4) also doesn't have trouble thinking of four letter words. After cooler water spilled in her car seat she stamped her foot and said, "The darn and the heck!"

Where could this angel hear things like that?

Heck and darn, it must be from me. I gave up all my other four letter words for love.


Kristin said...

I'm glad you have such self control. I should wash my mouth with soap often.

What a nice surprise to see "Love" after all that defacement of the written word took place--it's ironic.

Susan said...

It is not a matter of self control. It was like a switch flipped when Evelyn was born. On. Off.

However I have a quite colorful surrogate vocabulary, from the "sugar" and "son of a sea cook" I picked up from my mother to the ridiculous things I can't remember now that come up with in the heat of the moment when half a word escapes.

The truth is, I'm with Mike. I just needed a way to tie up the post. And research shows that swearing really does help when you've hit your thumb with a hammer.

J.G. Wilder said...

When Poppy was born we had to retrain ourselves. I got a sheet of those green "Mr. Yuck" sisters (intended for labeling poisonous things under the sink), and if you said a four letter word, you got a sticker.

Now we are less careful. There's something incredibly satisfying about saying a forbidden word just out of kid earshot. Or maybe not quite out of earshot -- Effie really raised some eyebrows when she was two and things weren't going her way. She'd shout, "Oh, GRAP!"

Kat said...

That 4-letter word is what I call PAYDAY! Sometimes as Mom's I think we all wonder if what we do is making a difference. You got paid big time. Good job Mom on raising a beautiful (3 of them) daughter.

patricia said...

I had this page pulled up on my computer, waiting to find time to comment, and my husband read it.

He thought Mike's comment was hilarious. Me too.

You ought to email the photo of Clem's 4-letter word page to Keri Smith. I'll bet she'd *love* it.

The Stone Age Techie said...

My personal favorite non-swear is 'judas priest'... my father owns, and sometimes wears, a shirt that proclaims 'eff you you effing eff' - in real four letter words, in block print! So, I have had to work really, really hard to get my vocabulary child-safe. (He's not a bad guy, he is a ski instructor and claims that he gets all his swears from the board instructors... he manages to keep a pretty clean mouth around the grandchildren though :-)
I love that journal!

Susan said...

Jennifer, I love the Mr. Yuck idea. I think I am going to employ that with the kids. Greta's favorite word (probably because I dislike it so much) is "stupid". I'll give her a Mr. Yuck sticker and see what happens. I predict she will not like getting them but that Clementine will chant stupid stupid stupid and demand all of them.

Kat, it did give me a warm fuzzy to read, for sure.

Tricia, I took you up on the suggestion and sent the photo to Keri Smith. she has a neat website and blog with a random destructive idea generator for the Wreck This Journal. Mike does have a gift for the one-liner.

Karen, skiers, myself included, always blame everything on those boarders.

Your dad has hit on a good way to keep his swearing fresh. Though his shirt suggests he appreciates the classics.

Hey, does he take the kids skiing? Because that would be *%$@-ing awesome.

The Stone Age Techie said...

He does take the kids skiing, when we get out to visit him in the Rockies. His first year as an instructor, he taught 3-5-year-old children who had never been on skiis, which he hated - couldn't swear around them! - but he feels differently about his grandchildren (about teaching them, I mean, not cussing with them in earshot). A dozen years later, he is teaching intermediate-advanced adults, and enjoying himself very much. And swearing to make his daughter blush!

patricia said...

Keri's blog, Wish Jar, was the very first blog I ever followed, starting several years ago. I found her when googling "ginger tea". I think she'd like that I found her that way.

I hadn't seen the destructive idea generator for the journal though. Lulu got one of those journals when she was twelve, and she's definitely had fun with the transgressive nature of it!

I'm so glad you sent the photo.

Stefaneener said...

Oh, dear, that is so very very sweet. Thanks for sharing this bit.

Mister Dad (Professor Daddo-dore) said...


this is good stuff! albeit, my poor kids are stuck with a bit of a Gordon Ramses for their homeschool headmaster. pity the ankle-biting lit'le brutes...

Val in the Rose Garden said...

That is completely adorable! I got my ds that book for his first day of school (which is friday for us (alt schedule and homeschoolers)) and I am even more excited to share it with him now.


maya said...

Hi Susan! I can't stop reading your blog. You are so funny & insightful on the paths of the homeschooling family. Plus, I'm learning about girls, too! Can't wait to see guys at the Hoes Down!