My love of language has been none short of rewarding throughout the years. It is with that acknowledgment that I skate through each day, knowing, waiting, for it to backfire. Waiting, for my frequent use of hyperbole, and double entendre to turn on me in some undeniably irrevocable way. Words are our friends (they’ve also cost me some), censorship is not. In our house, if you can read it, you may read it. I must admit, there is a special place in Mom Hell for me.
In a not so unusual moment, in our ever busy kitchen, Yael strolls over and asks, “Mom, what’s an ann-uss“? Her head, nodding syncopatically as she emphasises the syllabicism. I look up. “A what?! How is it being used?” Off she goes, to her room where she retrieves a new book that she and Favorite Guy picked out on one of their standing Mondays dates. She reads, “Then I sniff her ann-uss. It smells rich and full of Celeste”. In an instant, every lewd, horrific joke about “happy clams”, “meat pops”, and other X-rated folly I engage whilst my children are within earshot floods my conscience. I look to Favorite Guy who has turned his back on the impending train wreck. He stands motionlessly. He has a faith in his powers of invisibility that can be rivaled only by the Emperor’s belief that he is clothed.
Shaky hand outstretched, I request the book. Front cover, Newberry Honor holding author, check. Back cover: Ages 8-12, check. Harper Collins publishing, check. Everything seems in order, so I go back a page or two. Celeste and Reggie are the best friends’ of best friends. Celeste is a dalmatian…Reggie is a sheepdog*. All is well again. As the busy kitchen sounds resume, Favorite Guy slowly begins to show signs of life. With a gleam in my eye, a chuckle escapes, I turn to Yael and nodding syncopatically I retort, with the correct pronunciation, “an a-nus is a butt hole”.
* The excerpted phrases are from: The Wish by Gail Carson Levine
This post was originally published on Tea & Honey Bread in November of 2008, the author still wields words with reckless abandon.