Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Crack is an egg?

The scene: lunchtime; The Boy and Daddyman are sitting at the kitchen table. Momma is wandering around the house.

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.

But crackhouse?

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?


Amanda said...

Too funny! :) It's a shame he's not Wes's age because you could dress him in one of those "Hippies Use Side Door" onesies without him asking what it says.

I have no advice but it sounds like you're not going to have a future Bobcat in that Boy. ;)

Gerbicks said...

just sitting here laughing about this whole conversation! preschoolers are hilarious--the things they pick up & somehow make connections.

for awhile addy wanted to keep talking about very obese folks, particularly men. she wondered aloud why they, as men, could have babies in their bellies & then why any person would want a baby that big in their belly. we just gave a very short answer (that's not a baby, it's just how that person's body is) & re-directed all other questions. but she still asks sometimes (& that conversation started about 2 months ago). so i'm not sure if that helps at all, but... until then, your hippie hating, california loving (irony, there), crackhouse confused kid is so hilarious!

~she~ said...

I overheard my son using the word "Homo." Confused, I asked him why he was saying that. We don't use language like that! He said, "You know, a homo....a guy who has a beard, dirty clothes, and carries a bag on a stick." Then I got it...he meant Hobo! I cracked up at that one but not before I could calmly correct his wording and ask him not to say homo again.