He, of course, wanted to watch at least one of the movies, so after dinner, the boys kind of took over the living room. I disappeared to my room, hoping to be unseen with a few catalogs and my phone, but the girls decided they wanted to chill with me, so the next thing I know, we're all piled up in the bed, each girl with her own device, making stupid jokes and watching YouTube videos.
Gabby and I were discussing the case against Lana Del Rey when it got a little quiet, and the next thing I know, Alice, who had been playing Dora rather complacently, let's loose with an "OH, FUCK."
Now, my first reaction was to laugh, because I'm a horrible person and videos of children swearing get me every time. I feel the same way about old people rapping. But for all of my sailor-talk on here and everywhere else, really, I don't really swear in front of the kids. I just don't ever really have a need to. I say things to Matt, and I'm sure they've overheard me drop a few things here and there. But I just don't do it. I don't have a problem with people who do at all. To be honest, it is not something I've actively thought about--it is just something that I find myself not doing. Matt, however, has been known to drop some bombs in front of the kids, mostly because he is much easier angered than me. That, and he seems to bite his mouth a lot while eating. So I have no doubt that she's heard that word before. She could have repeated it from that, or really, she's two--she could have just been putting nonsensical things together to see how they sound. You know. Like the kids do these days.
Anyway, I finally get around to saying something to the effect of, "Alice, you shouldn't say that word. It is not nice." But Gabby was OF COURSE chortling like a maniac, so now Alice is saying "FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK," just trying to get a rise out of her adored big sister. I decide to just leave it alone, and ask Gabby to do the same. She'll either forget about it, or she won't, but hopefully when she is feeling a little jocular and more removed from the situation, I can remind her that that is not a nice word and that she should never, ever, ever say it in front of my mother in law because Daddy doesn't her to know that he's the kind of pinko scum that Bill O'Reilly warned her about.
And I'll just be honest, I was laying there in bed with the two of them, Baby Fuckgate somewhat forgotten after five minutes, congratulating myself on being a pretty good parent and yes, tweeting about it. I had not let the situation get out of hand. I had remained calm. I didn't yell or blame or admonish. I just dealt with it. I was now fully qualified to write a quasi-informed article for the Wall Street Journal telling everyone else how horrible their spawn was and how much better mine are in comparison. HUZZAH!
We're back to having a jolly good time again, and Gabby is doing her newest version of Rick Rolling me, which is to play the Black Eyed Peas and do odd dances until I beg for mercy. And out of nowhere, she goes, "I heard Rihanna got back with Chris Brown."
OH. FUCK. (I MEAN FUDGE. MAPLE WALNUT FUDGE!) This is not something I want to discuss. After the beating took place way back when, I had had a series of uncomfortable conversations with Gabby about it. It is not easy to explain this kind of thing, you know. At the time, she enjoyed music by both artists, and had that weird feeling that we all get when someone we admire does not live up to our expectations or in the case of Rihanna, is harmed in some way. Plus, she had (and actually still has) a much more glamorous idea of the music business than what most adults have. She was imagining this all happening on Camp Rock soundstage--not in the gritty reality of a Los Angeles street. None of it made sense to her, and it was my job to try to explain it. Yeah. Whoever told you changing diapers was the worst part of parenting, well, they didn't know shit.
I answer that yes, I had heard that too. And of course, the next word is "Why?" Of course. Why wouldn't it be? Isn't that what we all want to know?
And of course, my answer in its abbreviated form is, "UHHHHHHHH.....well...."
Because none of us know. We don't know what makes a woman return to her abuser, what tells one human being that it is ok to be hurt horribly by another human being if that hurting is followed by a few years of distance. We don't know why a beautiful, talented and seemingly amazing lady would want to go back to a man who is, at best, a confused child and, at worse, a complete psychopath.
I pulled the marbles out of my mouth and talked to her about it, trying my best to explain that I didn't know, that relationships are all strange and different people have different reasons for being in them or staying in them. And I tried to say that I didn't know, that it was a wonderful question, perhaps one that one of the many handlers that surround Rihanna should ask. I said all that, but instead of it being one paragraph of kind-of coherent thoughts, it was a lot of "Um, well, you know...." and "Uh, I guess, um..."
I have a great relationship with my oldest daughter, one that has really (re)bloomed over the last year. She talks to me about stuff and well, last night, instead of taking the night to sit in her room and text her friends, she chose to lay about on my bed with me and her baby sister, laughing, watching the world's dumbest videos and making me question Al Gore again. But it keeps getting harder. The questions keep getting tougher. I am glad she asks them, I would never wish that she didn't. But oh my stars.
Someone should write a book. Someone should, instead of writing another tome about how bratty and horrible American children are, write a guide for parents that you could effectively flip to a chapter and have a ready made answer on any subject, complete with a list of sources for further research. Domestic violence? Page 46. Bullying? Page 3. Why the Black Eyed Peas continue to have a career? Page 124. I would memorize that book. By the time Alice is 12, I would be able to quote from it while asleep or while playing Words With Friends and braising a chicken. SOMEONE NEEDS TO GET ON THAT. PRONTO.