The Time Mindy Kaling Taught My Kid The F Word

look, I don't ONLY expose my kids to obscenities. we also do chalk art!

I've been trying to take housework more seriously.

Taking domesticity seriously means I think about my tasks for the extended half hour long shower I take to avoid said tasks. It also means that I wander around the house wondering what we should colors repaint it when we finally get around to doing something other than thinking about maybe repainting someday. And finally, once I actually start cleaning, I do it while either watching House Hunters or, more recently, listening to Mindy Kaling read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? I know. This is some scintillating stuff.

Before I proceed with this story, I need you to understand how I feel about Mindy. She is witty, she is unabashedly feminine, she is smart as hell and can laugh at herself and others. Also..she wears a lot of colors with prints and you all know how much I like that. The other day Riley and I were talking about possible moments that would let us know that we have made it in our respective fields. Riley's had to do with being best friends with Dan Patrick. I said, "You know, if Mindy Kaling ever reads something I've written and giggles even the tiniest bit, I will consider myself a a grand success."

I was for reals, folks. That is all I aspire to in this life

So, the kids were downstairs, I was serious cleaning and listening to Mindy's spectacular book. She was reading the chapter on moving to New York and I was basically chortling and gurgling for air. Listen, the chapter was on her moving to New York, right? And that life change can be hard on a bookish comedienne. So yeah, her language at times reflected the situation and once or twice that included words of the four letter variety. And sure, a couple times I thought, "You better listen for the kids, what if they walk up when she uses one of those four letter words?" But then I stopped thinking the thought and moved on. Amidst all the chortling and whatnot, I totally missed Zuzu's tiny little feet pad into the room.

"Mom. What does f---ing mean?"

"Oh! Hey there. Ummmm. Well. That word. It's not nice. And there are lots of other words to say when you want to say that word that are nicer and more meaningful."

"Then why did the girl on your computer use it?"

I could have said any number of things. I could have shared my dad's opinion, "Cursing is the crutch of a weak mind." I could have talked about the power of vocabulary and said we need to wield it with light and a lack of crudeness. I could have apologized and then just told her that word was totally off-limits and to never, ever even think about it again. I could have offered her ice cream as a diversionary tactic. Heck, I could have sat her down and used the moment as a cautionary tale about the evils of housework.

Instead, in an effort to keep being honest with my kids, I said,

"Okay. Good question. Well, sometimes, even though there are other words, that word is the only one that will really work in a situation. But you aren't old enough to know whether it's a time that needs that word. Nope, you won't know until you are much older. Like 21. When you are 21, you'll know. So until then, we use other words."

She looked at me, nodded her head once and then went back to her kid world. Lesson learned.

Do I have this parenting thing down or what?

(Don't answer that.)