the f word

It was early fall.

The boys and I were driving somewhere in the minivan.  I was listening to the radio and the three of them were quietly chatting in the backseat.

A little too quietly.

I turned down the radio a bit and started listening to what they were so passionately discussing.  They were talking about BAD words.  The words that they couldn’t say.  Ever.

I held my breath a little as they continued talking.

Ryan(8) was telling them that there were definitely words that they were never supposed to say.  Reid(6) was agreeing and said that they could get in trouble for saying bad things.  Rhett(3) was asking what the words were they weren’t supposed to say.

I held my breath a little more.

Ryan said that he couldn’t say the words they aren’t supposed to say or he would get into trouble.

A warm little feeling in the middle of my heart was initiated by those precious words from my wise first born.

Reid said there was a word SO BAD that NO ONE SHOULD EVER SAY IT.

I held my breath again.

Ryan agreed and said it started with an F.

I held my breath some more.

Reid said he knew what the bad F word was.

Reid said it was the WORST word in the world.

Reid said it was…

*Ryan stopped him* Don’t say it Reid! The worst word in the world does start with an F and no one should ever say it.

I nearly passed out.

Deciding that I should probably not risk my three year old hearing the F word, I entered the conversation…Yes, there are some words we just don’t say.

Reid insisted that he knew the F word

Reid said it was a very, very very BAD word.

Reid said it was…FAILURE!  Mommy, isn’t FAILURE the worst word in the world?  It starts with an F.

That warm little feeling in the middle of my heart widened and enveloped my whole body.

I am pretty much the best mother in the world.  With my love and guidance,  my children had tagged FAILURE as the horrible F word.

I am a parenting genius.

I should write books.

People NEED to know how I work this motherhood magic.

I smiled at Reid and gently said…Yes Reid, Failure is the F word.

Over the next few weeks as I planned my parenting book tour with that super warm feeling lingering throughout my genius body I would think back to that sweet conversation in the minivan and just giggle.  I was finally seeing in my children what patient mothering, loving correction and homeschooling was producing and it was beautiful.


One night about a month later blog-Stedman said, “Did you know that the boys know the F word?”

I giggled and said,  “Yes, they think it is FAILURE.  Isn’t that cute?”

No.  They know the actual word.


Yes.  They know the ACTUAL word.

No they don’t!

Uh.  Yes.  They do.  Reid said it.


I was getting them out of the car and Ryan was holding his hand over Reid’s mouth and telling him to stop talking and when I told him to remove his hand, Reid started saying…





Ryan screamed NO!  And I stopped and had a little chat with them.  It won’t happen again.

My warm feeling vanished.

My parenting book tour canceled.

My level of genius exposed.

The good news is that I married well and whatever blog-Stedman told the boys has stuck.  I haven’t heard any discussion about any F words…

including FAILURE.

4 days later teeth whitening

Holly About Holly

Kids Activities Blog is Holly's blogging home.

She is the mom of three boys ages 7, 10 and 12 who partially homeschools. She believes that you shouldn't have to buy stuff to have fun when there is a kitchen junk drawer full of possibilities.

She can also be found at Business 2 Blogger, on Twitter as @QuirkyMommaSite or @Texasholly, but her favorite place to hang out is on Google +.