The Playroom: The B word


Author: Maraya Steadman '89, '90MBA

Maraya Steadman

My son has started to say things that are not appropriate. Some of it may be prompted from an incident last summer when I broke my toe and said things I should never say in front of my children. And I suppose some inappropriate language may be learned from his father, or perhaps even his grandmother. But I like to blame most of it on popular music, such as the current hit, “I’m Sexy and I Know It,” by a band called LMFAO.

The first time my son started singing the lyrics and shaking his behind, I stopped in the middle of the school parking lot and asked him if knew the title of the band that sang the song. And I then defined both “sexy” and “LMFAO,” pointing out how inappropriate it was for children and how he was never to sing that song in front of me or anyone else.

I was telling my friend this story the other night while we were over for dinner, and she challenged me. Perhaps I was being too harsh, what’s the big deal, it’s a song. When we were young we danced around singing lyrics to “Cecilia” by Simon and Garfunkel without the first clue what they meant. What was the harm in it?

She had a good argument, and I wasn’t sure of the answer. To prove her point of innocent fun, she called the boys into the kitchen and they did a dance to “I’m Sexy and I Know It” and okay, it was funny and they were cute and they were laughing and everyone was happy and I was feeling like a killjoy. Pondering what is and isn’t okay, and how I was ever going to figure this all out.

As I was stuck in my silent pondering, my friend went back to making dinner and the boys went back to playing hockey in the basement. A few minutes later they were racing through the kitchen.

“What did you say? What did you say!!!”

My friend has gone from zero to 60 in about a half a second. One instant she’s peeling carrots and the next she’s chasing 7-year-old boys down the hallway screaming her head off.

The boys come slowly back into the kitchen, stumbling over each other as they reluctantly face an irate mother, fear in their eyes.

Meekly her child responds, “Bucket, Mom, I said bucket.”

She doesn’t believe them. So she shrieks, “Bucket! You said bucket!”

Wide-eyed, the children stare at her, then one slowly pulls a bucket out from behind his back.

“Uh, we just wanted to drop Lego Star Wars figures off the stairs and see if we could get them in the bucket.”

“Give me the bucket. That is my bucket, it’s dirty, it’s disgusting! I don’t’ want you playing with a bucket!”

“Okay Mom.”

And they go racing off, only to come back moments later to query, “But what are we supposed to drop our Lego figures into?”

“Out! Out of my kitchen!”

I waited a moment after the boys raced out of the kitchen, then I said, “I don’t see what the big deal is, playing with a bucket.”

Maraya Steadman, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. Her website is Email her at

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