On Hermaphrodites and Compromise

I have less-than-stellar parenting moments:

  • I use sarcasm to kids who don’t get sarcasm.
  • I ask ridiculous questions like, “Do you want to go in time out?”
  • Spilled milk sometimes makes me really, really angry.
  • I put my kids to bed earlier in the winter because it’s dark out and they’ll believe it’s time.
  • I use an intricate system of bribes and threats that has never appeared in a parenting book.
  • I skip sentences in the bedtime book to finish in time for the new House. (No, we don’t have DVR. Yes, I know that’s very low-tech of us.)
  • Just this week I borrowed the change out of my daughter’s piggy bank without asking. (I replaced it later!)
  • I occasionally deem items of clothing clean enough.
  • As I’ve been writing this, my daughter has slipped out in the backyard without shoes on. Twice.

I’m not proud of my parenting flaws but there they are – sadly, I’m sure this is only a partial list.

So, I can’t say I was entirely surprised when my attempt to teach compromise didn’t quite go as planned.

Here’s a recap:

David:  “Emily, that dragon toy is a boy.”

Emily:  “No, it’s not. It’s a girl because she’s nice.”

David:  “Not just girls are nice. You can’t make him a girl because he’s mine.”

Emily:  “Yes I can because I’m playing with her.”


Emily:  “You’re MEAN!”

David and Emily: “MOM!!”

Me (This is the part where I decide to use the moment to teach compromise. Genius.):  “You two work this out. If you want to play with someone else you can’t always have your way – you have to come up with a plan that makes everyone happy.”

David:  “Fine. Emily, it’s a boy and a girl.”

Emily: “Okay.”


Me:  “Nice. It’s a hermaphrodite dragon.”

Hermaphrodite. Lovely. Neither kid reacted to what I said. I’d like to think they weren’t paying attention but I know better. They don’t pay attention to things like wash your hands, or pick up your Legos, or share with you sister. When I say a word like hermaphrodite they always catch it because that’s the way the universe works.

It’s been a few days since this moment but I’m still waiting. I know that someday, when I least expect it, the word hermaphrodite will rear its ugly head. Most likely in church or when we run into Keith’s boss. Or perhaps it will be in the form of a note sent home from a teacher: “… while I’m impressed with David’s vocabulary, we would like him to stop calling classmates hermaphrodites on the playground.”

Have your kids ever repeated something brilliantly embarrassing? Do you know a word that sounds like hermaphrodite? (I need to be ready to say something like, “Oh, sweetie, you don’t mean hermaphrodite. You mean insert hermaphrodite-sounding word. How cute.”)

13 thoughts on “On Hermaphrodites and Compromise

  1. I tried to teach my kids sarcasm. It’s like a second language at our house. Later my kid lipped off (so I thought), and when I yelled at him he told me “mom, I sarcasmed you!”

  2. Your confession makes me feel better about parnting. With the exception of going outside without shoes on, all the same happens at my house (M has a thing for shoes, but J may never wear any…) Here’s one for you:

    When M was 2′ s diction was less than stellar. The “tr” sound ofen came out as an “f” sound. Tree ws “fee”, etc. So one night watching Max and Ruby, M gets very excited, saying, “Look Mama! dum(p) f*ck Dum(p) f*ck!” – Max was playing with a dump truck.

    A couple of weeks later, while with my Mom at the eyeglass shop, the fire detpartment stopped by in their truck to pick up pizza from the shop next door. they came in the firetruck. The eyeglass place wqs packed with folks over the age of 75. My lovely child notices the firetruck… And lets everyone know he’s seen the firetruck and his “tr” sounds like “f” connundrum. At the top of his lungs. Over, and over and over again.

    Let’s just say I got some nasty, nasty looks from the other patrons.

    1. Deb,
      That is hilarious! Of all the places he could have learned that word, how awesome that it came from Max and Ruby. That Max has such a potty mouth. (By that I mean, Max of Max and Ruby – not Marine Max.) 🙂


  3. This was hilarious, Amy! You’re right…it will come back to haunt you…

    I have no ideas for words that sound like “hermaphrodite”…sorry! Maybe you’ll be at work when the teacher calls? LOL.


  4. It is nice to know that we are imperfect parents together. Dryer sheets and a couple of minutes on high work wonders for that “clean enough” freshness. I also rewash my husbands work shirts if I forget them in the dryer so that I don’t have to iron. I found you on twitter – can’t wait to read more!

  5. I go outside with shoes off in my yard, if it’s Summer and nice out. Our feet are so much better off without them. Anyway, the spilled milk thing made me LOL.

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