A recent post about childhood discoveries on Dee's blog got me reminiscing. When I was 7 or 8 years old, one of Auntie M's and my playmates was the daughter of a scientist couple who both worked at the same laboratory as our dad. Debbie also had two much older brothers that teased her (and my sister and I ) mercilessly. They also challenged her intellectually, introducing her to advanced concepts and special, ahem, academic tomes that were in her parents' voluminous library.
We loved hanging out at Debbie's house! I remember all sorts of food experiments that went on there (who chooses to drink "mineral water" or "rice cakes?"), I learned how to solder stained glass at her house and set the fire extinguisher off, too! Loved playing in the basement full of pinball machines, air hockey, and foosball tables. Great fun.
That is, except when Debbie's elderly, fundamentalist Christian babysitter was watching her.
I have never been kicked out of anybody's house so many times before or since. The first several times I was kicked out were for swearing. My mom's favorite swear words were "$hit!" and "juh-EEE-sus!!" and not really knowing any better, I used them like she did, you know, as "sentence enhancers." I learned from this babysitter that swear words were not universally acceptable. I got kicked to the curb. Pee, poop, boobies, butt, crap, all were kick-out words. If you had to relieve yourself, you asked to go to the "bathroom, please" not announce, "I gotta go pee!" Otherwise, don't let the door hit you in the um, "derriere." On subsequent visits I begged to stay and she gave me several second chances. The condition was that I had to keep my potty mouth clean. It was tough.
On one final occasion, Debbie was showing me her most treasured recent discovery. Her brothers had just introduced her to Grey's Anatomy. We tucked into it and found a carefully dog-eared, detailed diagram of the female reproductive system. I stored to memory the key vocabulary, especially since Debbie had recently been gifted a new semi-anatomically correct baby doll that would drink AND wet herself (the 1970's version of Baby Alive). This was cool!! I had, had, had! to tell the babysitter about it! I wanted to prove that I could be genteel. But, how? And without using those nasty, vulgar words, like pee-pee or poop? I vowed to clean up my act and impress this prudish sitter. I practiced what I would say and checked Grey's Anatomy one more time. I was ready.
"Mrs. Sitter?" I said, "Look at this! This baby doll drinks water, she really does! And then the water goes all the way through and comes out of her v@gin@! See?"
I was thereafter banned. Permanently banned. I'm just glad she didn't clean my mouth with soap. (She certainly threatened to do just that.) Heh.