Put down the spitter, Cletus.

My son is a boy, through and through. He apparently likes things more if I say "yuck" about them. The kitchen garbage can is a constant battle; the recycling container under the sink another fighting ground. Taking his dirty diaper to the garbage can, saying, "yuck yuck" the whole way there, is a good time. Within fifteen minutes of being at the park he could care less about the play structures and will go in search of the nearest pile of dirt or mud and play with it.

From very early on it seemed evident to me that he was a man's man. When we would go shopping or to a party he would stare at men. He would bat his heavily eyelashed blue eyes at women, of course, but seemed fascinated by men. Even more taken by men in hats. He is also quite in love with his father and at 14 months tries to mimic his every move. Last night while my husband took a few work calls he circled the house, walking. He is a walking talker. Every time he came through the kitchen the little Mister was right on his heels, Tonka cell phone to his ear.

It is no wonder then that when we are in the garage he seems even more fascinated by his father's tools than his plastic toys. Who wouldn't be? I was a little disappointed yesterday when I was unloading groceries to find him combining two of his favorite hobbies in the garage: adoration of his father and playing with things I call yucky. I was putting Diet Coke in the refrigerator and when I turned around I found the boy leaning against the recycling container, chugging what looked like an empty beer can. There he was mimicking his father and getting into the yucky stuff. It wasn't, however, an empty beer can...my husband dips. I said, "Oh come on buddy, drinking a spitter is frowned upon," took the can and wiped him down. He cried outrageously in protest and smelled of Skoal for a bit.

If this is what I'm in for I might as well pack it all up, move even farther into the sticks, and rename him Cletus.


What's in a word?

My daughter is experimenting with the "F" word. She has heard it, knows its bad, but wants me to acknowledge its infamous nature. First experiment, while driving in the car we play a rhyming game. She loves to play the game, but is not the best at creating rhymes; often she just adds the letter f to the word, for instance - mouse rhymes with flouse. She starts it up last Tuesday with, "Mom, what rhymes with f*#k?" I thought, "nah...that's not what I heard." So I ask, "I'm sorry hunny, I didn't hear you?" I readjusted my rearview mirror so as to clearly see her as she spoke. "What rhymes with F*#K?" Yes. That is what I heard. I giggled and said, "That's not even a word. You can't just keep adding f to the beginning of words to make a rhyme." Phew. Cleared that one with ease. Not likely. Four year olds are mastermind manipulators. Experiment two: my mother is a singing grandmother. She sings a million songs and I can remember about fifty of them. One that I do remember goes like this: I love you a bushel and a peck A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck... Thursday of last week while driving home my daughter belted out her version of the song: I love you a bushel and a f*#k A bushel and a f*#k and hug around the neck... I said, "Hunny, those aren't the words. Its peck - a bushel and a peck." She yells at me, "What are you even saying? A bushel and a what?" "PECK!" I scream, "PEEECCCKKK!" I was losing the battle to keep the "F" word out of our vocabulary. This morning, four short days later, I pulled into the garage and exited the car. I walked around to open the door to take my son out of his seat and as I open the door I hear it again, "F*#k!" I said, "What did you say?" She repeated it. I said, "OK - you are not allowed to say that word. It is a bad word. If you say that word again I am going to wash your mouth out with soap." She said, "What word? Puck?" I said, "Oh no - don't try that. You know the word I am talking about. Do not say it again." As she hopped out of the car, she surreptitiously glanced at me and grinned. She won the battle.