Herald Journal Columns
Nov. 18, 2002

'What did he just call me?'


In keeping with my promise from last week's column, I am going to try to lighten the content of my writing for a while.

This is sometimes a difficult task ­ unless, of course, you are a parent. I haven't written about my kids in a while, so I have to tell you the name my 2 1/2 year old son Cameron gave me.

He's taken to calling me a new name when he wants a reaction from me. And it works, although I try to hide my giggling, I think he's on to me because he keeps saying it.

He says (and I quote), "Mommy, you a 'butt-munch!'"

The funny thing about it (aside from the initial shock of hearing a very angelic-looking child calling me a butt-munch) is how he says it. He has a sweet little high voice, and he drags the sentence out so it sounds like "Ma-ey, youuuu a butttttt-munch."

Then he shoots me a challenging smile that says, "Whatcha gonna do about it?" and runs away giggling. He knows by my initial reaction that he can get away with it.

The first time he said it, both my husband and I had to leave the room (never let 'em see you laughing!). Our conversation went something like this:

"Did you hear what he just called me? Did he just say butt-munch?"

"Yeah, I think that's what he said. Where did he get that from?"

"I'm sure it was from you. You must have said it."

"Oh, no, I'm sure it was something you said."

And around the conversation went. We aren't exactly sure where he got the expression, but he's still using it after a few weeks or so. And I'm the only one that he calls it. Lucky me.

He's added another new nickname since then, I'm guessing because he got such a good reaction from the first one. Now he alternates between butt-munch and dork.

"Ma-ey, youuuu a doaakk," he tells me with shining brown eyes, blonde hair, and a big smile. Then he runs away in a fit of laughter (from both of us, as I'm still unsuccessfully trying to hide it).

I know this is something that we should nip in the bud right away, but I still find it really, really funny. My mom told me there would be challenges like this. I think she likes to see that the shoe is on the other foot now.

These are the things that seem difficult to decide what to do about. Do we punish him for not talking nice? Do we tell him to stop it once and then ignore it, hoping he won't say something so vulgar in church?

I don't know, and I don't know if my mom would even know, even with her infinite amount of wisdom that only a woman of her intelligence and life-experiences can bring.

Who knows, maybe Dr. Phil doesn't even know. This is just another reason why I feel that children should come with instructions and parents should have to take a class and get a degree in Parenting 101.

What I do know is that I don't know what the heck I'm doing. My goal in life is to make sure my children grow up as well-adjusted as can be expected, and not rob banks or beat people up.

I understand that I will never know, and that it is impossible to know, what the right way to handle all situations with children. I'm just going to plug along and see what happens.

If that means that I have to spend the next 16 years or so in another room, then so be it. As a parent, at least I'm guaranteed plenty of entertainment.

And just about the time my youngest son grows up and moves out, my oldest son will be old enough to tell me the stories that he wasn't willing to tell when he was growing up.

That's the point when we will see who is really laughing.

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