The Boy: When we live in California, blah blah blah blah. (Daddyman makes noncommittal noises.) And we don't like hippies.
Daddyman: (taken aback) What? What about hippies.
Boy: In California, we don't like hippies.
DM: Actually ...
Boy: We don't like hippies because they kill people.
DM: Actually, hippies are peaceful people.
Boy: NO. They're bad guys, Daddy. We don't like hippies because they're bad guys.
The conversation continues in this vein, and the Momma overhears and drifts into the kitchen, curious.
Momma: Boy, where did you hear about hippies?
Boy: (raising his eyebrows as if this is a silly question) The crackhouse.
Momma and Daddy bust up laughing because, really, what other response is there. After they recover, Momma speaks.
Momma: Boy, what's a crackhouse?
Boy: With an egg. You know. Like, you crack an egg.
We've given this a lot of thought, and we think he might have picked up the word "hippies" from us or my in-laws. My father-in-law basically was a hippie and has been known to talk about that part of his life and to use terms from it without irony. Meanwhile, I often have said in jest, possibly in front of The Boy, that I like to keep his hair short because I'm a closet hippie-hater. So, that's half the conversation.
Yeah, I just don't know. I don't think we've said that word in front of him, though we work for the newspaper where we both report on and joke about crackhouses. I suppose it's possible he heard it from us. But I'm also wondering if maybe he heard it from one of his friends at school. Several of them, I know, are allowed to watch more TV than my kids or have older brothers and sisters, teenagers that might be throwing that term around. I talked to his teacher about it; she was concerned, too, and said she would keep an ear open.
In the meantime, I've basically acted with The Boy like this conversation didn't happen. He was immediately onto something else and he obviously has no idea what he's really saying. We addressed the hippie thing and gave our standard "We don't hurt anyone" speech. The crackhouse bit I don't want to encourage. He's not old enough for a real definition, and I think if he knows it's a word that sets us on edge he'll want to use it more.
Have you guys encountered this? How do you edge around giving a preschooler good information and encouraging their curiosity while preserving their innocence?