This week my son, and all the fifth graders at his school, will be watching a video whose content strives to help pre-teens “understand the maturational changes they are beginning to experience and accept these changes as a normal part of growth.” (That’s what the school note said). I signed the form, giving my son permission to view this short film at school.
If you’re not familiar with this, it’s pretty standard protocol at about this age. Boys and girls watch separate movies, usually with the school nurse in attendance, and also participate in a question/answer session.
It’s one more sign that my sweet boy, while still my sweet boy, is also becoming a bigger boy. A bigger boy who will soon grow into a young man.
When Ryan was younger, my husband and I never used the anatomically correct words “penis” and “vagina.” It was “pee-pee” – serving as both a noun, your body part, as well as the verb, the action you did in the bathroom. I remember a former co-worker disagreeing with me, chastising me for not teaching Ryan the word “breasts” instead of “boobies.”
But really, cutesy words are just a part of young childhood. “Paci” for “pacifier,” “piggies” for “toes.” Often these words were used long after Ryan could pronounce the correct words.
It has made me think of the evolution of words our family has used over the years, some of which Ryan tells me are no longer acceptable.
For example, each week Ryan and I go grocery shopping and before checking out, we always walk by and admire the “beautiful cakes” section. But, my now-eleven-year-old insists that I refer to it as the “bakery section.”
Here’s another one. Ryan and I like snacking on chocolate chips (our favorites are at Trader Joe’s). He used to call them “baby chocolates” which I thought made so much sense based on their size. I still often refer to them as “baby chocolates,” but now my son reminds me to use their real name, “chocolate chips.”
And just for fun, I’ll share two of my own kid-friendly words I used back during my own childhood. I called slices of American cheese “square cheese,” based on its shape. And for no reason that I know of, I used to call Fritos “munch-a-bunch.”
Readers, I’d love to hear from you. Any words you remember from your childhood? Or any childhood words you’ve carried with you into adulthood? Feel free to share them in the comments section!