Never Say @#$% %&* on the Playground by Hadley Davidson, age 6


   One morning, my then-first grade daughter came down the stairs in her footed pajamas, her blonde curls standing on end. I said, “Sweetheart, you look as though you tossed and turned all night.” She replied, “I slept fine—I just like the cold spots on my pillow more than the warm ones.” I replied cheekily,—“I did not know that about you. I wonder what other secrets you are keeping from your mother?” Without hesitation she stated, “Well, you probably don’t know that I know that you should not say Fuck Off on the playground.” I froze—not from fear or horror—but to keep from bursting out laughing. Now, to be fair, had she been my first, I would have enrolled her immediately in the Catholic School with the most nuns. But being my third, hearing those words come out of the mouth of a child whose lips look like they were painted by the angels, was hysterical. Using a very serious tone and wagging her finger, she cautioned, “Mommy, if you don’t want to get in trouble with the teacher, NEVER say those words on the playground. One of my friends does and gets in BIG trouble.” Trying my best to keep a straight face I replied, “Hadley, I will make sure that NEVER those words when I’m at the playground. Thank-you for that very good advice.”
     I thought her secret might be that she didn’t like chocolate cake, or wanted to be an astronaut when she grew up. I remember feeling shocked when I heard that word at 12 years old and it made me sad that my daughter was clearly well acquainted with it at age 6. I then remembered a piece of advice that came from a Family Therapist who came to my son’s school once a month for an open forum. As much as we want to swaddle our children in bubble wrap and keep them away from life’s harsh realities, she encouraged us to raise our children in the world in which they live. Teach them how to handle technology, manage their sugar intake, and make good choices in their friendships. Make them well aware of your values so when they encounter situations outside your field of protection, they will make confident decisions that are in their best interest. So as much as I as wish that the F word was not part of the vocabulary of a child who has just mastered writing her name, that she knew to caution me NOT to use it, did give me some comfort. That—and that she didn’t say she learned it from me!

7 thoughts on “Never Say @#$% %&* on the Playground by Hadley Davidson, age 6

  1. Sounds like I’d fit right in with your family. This reminded me of a time I was lounging on a bean-bag chair with my pre-school daughter at the public library. She looked around at one point and said, “There sure are are a hell of a lot of books in here!” Same thing. I had to bite my tongue to keep from bursting out laughing. Emma was kind of staring at me to see how I would respond, and I just said “Yeah, there sure are.” And that was that. But I was really happy to know that she was developing a well-rounded vocabulary!


  2. I love MJ and I can’t believe that little angel said those words;). I agree 100% in raising our children in the world in which they live…we’ve had many conversations about what that looks like and whether or not we’re doing the right things for our children. Thank goodness I have you as my sounding board and voice of reason!!


  3. Absolutely hilarious !! Great advice as well- you have said this to me in the past and has always stuck with me. I was so thankful for it as a new Mom in the neighborhood. (Not the playground but the Don’t coddle too much bit 🙂 )


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