I don't like the dollar section toys. Those pointless money-suckers that last from the checkout to the trunk before self-destructing---poof---like a covert message from spy headquarters. But I loathe the gumball machines that dispense the toy world's rejects. Inevitably, my children want not a toy from the machine, but the toy that is highlighted on the propaganda sheet plastered to the front of the machine. The cute toy that is a water squirting flower ring or a rainbow-colored hi-bounce ball catches their fancies. They don't get that toy. They get the rubber kitty who made it past the QC folks at the toy factory; kitty's face resembles runny egg yolks because the manufacturing process melted it like so much butter.
But I do sometimes relent. And when Bee was able to pry a quarter from my miserly grip this weekend, she opted for one of these. She got the black smiley guy pictured below in the center of the action, posing like he just finished performing in a dance-off.
|Nanoseconds of fun until your kid remembers he brought his Nintendo DS. You can get a pack of 12 "Bendable Smile Guys" for $2.50 here. Oh, go on, get the set.|
As I was taking Bee and her new bendy buddy to the ladies room she announced that she would love him, and hug him, and feed him, and name him Little Blackie.
I would have rather she asked me to describe, in detail, the act of coitus rather than tackle racist comments in the public toilet. Like any good parent stalling for time, I ignored her.
That was ineffective. Bee continued to coo over Little Blackie. When she said it a third time I realized this wasn't going to go away without some intervention.
Me: Maybe we can call him Bendy McBendsalot.
Bee: I like Little Blackie.
Me: Or Rubber Man, Stretchy Guy, or please stop saying that!
Me: It's offensive.
Me: *mopping brow* Can we talk about this in the car later?
Naturally, when we rejoin the Hubster I tell him about Bee's new toy's name and how we plan to pick up our discussion of 1950s racial slurs in the car. Sadly, he trusts me to handle this situation with efficient parenting, marked by the use of less than 4,292,829 words which, ultimately, confuse poor Bee further. Here's what really happened.
In the car . . .
Bee: So why can't I say "Little Blackie?"
Me: It's offensive to some people. It can be understood as a term that debases, dehumanizes, or humiliates a particular ethnic group, nationality, or sometimes, a religious group. It's in very poor taste to mention such slurs privately or publicly.
Me: Um, so, if you have a group of girls, and the boys call you all "stinky pants" that's, um. Well, remember when we lived in Georgia? And you know how Georgia is associated with peaches? I guess, actually, peaches are associated with Georgia, really. The fruit before the state, right? So, anyway, what if someone called you "peachface," but they didn't know that it was mean to say that, and um, you knew it was mean and got, um, you were crying, but. . .
Hubster: Don't call your toy that, it's rude.
Hubster: Because we said so.
Hubster: (to me) What were you talking about? That was like watching a car drive off a cliff into a river of lava.
Bee: That's funny, Daddy. Say that again.
Hubster: Listening to mommy was like watching a fast car careen off of a steep cliff into a burning hot sea of lava.
Bee and Hubster and passersby who could tell I needed ridiculing: Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha! She said "peachface."
Stop laughing at me! Because I said so, bloggybutt.
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