A child or teenager still learning, growing up and maturing is expected to be innocent in some matters. Some kids are more blissfully unaware of the true nature of things than others. Naive perspectives abound in the halls of the public schools. Their knowledge may vary to extremes. Some kids might understand more about the deeper emotions of life, such as grief from the death of a loved one, while still remaining clueless to more basic life matters.
However graded, the guilelessness of youth is refreshing in today’s violent world. And sometimes its just downright funny. I treasure every moment that I catch my children in their innocence. There are times when those moments aren’t necessarily the warm, fuzzy kind though. It changes as they get older. The teenage years. Sometimes they are humorous. Sometimes you have to laugh so you don’t cry. Sometimes you just have to laugh because there is no other option.
Just last fall, after she turned 16 years old, we caught Tara saying something inappropriate. I was watching football with my oldest son and my husband, when Tara entered into the room. She caught the guys in the middle of a conversation about the particular cuteness of a cheerleader. Tara glanced over at the television and said,
“Oh yeah, I’d tap that.”
!!! Expressions of disbelief sprung onto all of our faces causing Tara to say “What?” My husband gently explained to her the meaning of what she just said while her brother not-so-gently explained. She was shocked.
“I thought that it just meant ‘cute’ – I’ve been saying that at school and nobody told me anything!”
That’s not all. She went on to say:
“That explains the funny looks though. Just the other day a girl had on these really cute jeans and she told me they were new and asked me if I liked them. I said ‘Oh yeah, I’d tap that.'”
Oh Tara, my Tara.
She was definitely blissfully unaware.
So, it shouldn’t have been too surprising what happened last weekend. I was sitting in the living room talking to her boyfriend while she was doing something in the kitchen. I was watching her as she was walking back towards us at the couch and she looked at me (in total innocence) and said,
Her boyfriend covered his face with his hands as I said in my deeper, serious voice,
“What did you just say?”
Tara looked confused and answered me with a smaller voice, “Twat?” As she looked at the incredulous look on my face she said, “What?”
I asked her if she knew what that word meant. She thought it meant ‘What‘ and I had to tell her:
“No Tara! Twat is a slang term for your Hoo-Haw! Your privates! It’s inappropriate to say.”
(confession: normally I try to use the technical terms for the kids privates but they always get so embarrassed by the word ‘vagina’ that I knew if I said that word in front of Tara’s boyfriend her face might catch on fire from embarrassment.) Her face turned red anyway as she admitted to saying it at school and nobody ever informed her of exactly what she was saying. Evidently, she heard other kids at school saying, “Twat did you say?” She just thought they were playing around with the word ‘what.’ As her boyfriend and I laughed at her innocence, she said in her little squeaky voice,
“But I didn’t know!”
Well, now ya know. Ain’t knowledge grand?