Brothers and Sissies

So this is how it went down. Let me give you some background …

Philo knows that if he picks up a nasty new word in school, he should come to me – in private – and ask about it.

And he does, sometimes.

Sometime the words are really nasty – as in, like, four-letter-word nasty. Other times they are less offensive, but still inappropriate for his 6-year old brother to hear (and thus repeat)

So we’ve been over this a few times. If you want to know about it, ask me in private and I tell you everything I know about it. Period. No questions.

Tonight, mid dinner, he pipes up in front of everyone; Mom, Dad – and worst of all – his little bother.

“Dad, what’s a sissy?”

“OK,” I think – not a terrible word – but still not one I want inducted into our daily vocabulary.

I flash daggers right at him. He gets it, his brow furled in error admission. We just talked about this last night.

“In private!!

I swing attention to Hugh. Still fresh on his ear, It hasn’t set in yet – and I ask, “Hugh, why don’t you answer that one. Please explain to your big brother what [me, over annunciating] SIXTY is.”

He starts in, “Sixty is like a number, like six and zero. Sixty.”

Crisis averted.

But no – he continues …

“OR, it’s like, ‘hey, you sixty lady … “Sixty lady means naked lady.”

Silence.

Philo and I in syncopated unison, “where? did? you? hear? that?”

Hugh is six.

“From Philo,”he said.

Me: From Philo!?

Philo: What?!?! No!

Me: From Philo?

Hugh: Silence … [eyeballs swirling slowly]

I call his bluff and draw it out. He heard it on the bus (a different bus than the one he just threw his brother under)

Philo’s angry. Kumi stays out of it. Hugh picks at his dinner.

I hang my head.

I would have been fine with “sissy.”

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