Conversations with Kids · Family life · Growing Up New Hampshire · Mom is Doing Her Best

Porn, Hoes, and Santa’s Sleigh

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“Mom, what’s a hoe?”

I want to answer “garden tool” but I know that is not the kind of hoe she is asking about.  There is really no good way I can give a short answer to say it’s a bad word to describe someone who has a lot of sex with a lot of different people.  Who am I to judge someone’s sexual choices?  Nor do I even want to say someone who makes a lot of bad choices without her being like, “What kind of bad choices?”  Next, the principal will be calling me to question why she is calling little Timmy a hoe for shoving someone on the playground.  “He was making a bad choice, Mom, so I called him a hoe.”  The writing is very clear to me, and I can’t find the right words.

I’m not ready to describe other derogatory terms for people who make different choices regarding their sexual practices, etc.  Again, no good answer, so I deflect. “Where did you hear that term?” thinking it may have come from a song or rogue youtube video that slipped by me, or maybe even the school bus.

“A fifth grader was singing a song that had the word in it.  Is it bad like the word fuck is bad,” she asks and I nearly spit out my Sunday morning tea.  “Or is it bad like faggot?  Remember when Carver got in trouble for saying faggot, Mom, remember.  He was just repeating it from what that 4th grader said and you freaked out on him.  But he will never say that again now that he knows what it REALLY means.  I can’t believe someone would say a bad word for gay people.  That is not right.  So hoe must be bad like fuck is bad, right, Mom?”  Seriously, what is it with my kids and words?  And I know she is happy to have said the word F-U-C-K out loud and made it sound like a reference, a comparison and not like she was actually saying it.  There is no smile, yet the power of her pronunciation is palpable.

With perfect timing, her brother chimes in, “Greta, the word ‘hoe’ is like the word ‘porn’– they are not bad words, really, but we should not say them aloud.”  So when did my 8 almost 9 year learn the word PORN I wonder.

“What do you think the words hoe and porn mean, Carver?” not the question I imagine asking while the kids work at the kitchen table on a Sunday morning designing their dream fish tank if Mommy had won the Mega Millions or Powerball last week.  Despite me telling them we did not win, they remain caught up in the “What if we could fill an entire room in our new house (no new house– let alone an extra room big enough for an enormous fish tank) with one of those tanks like they have on “Tanked?” their favorite show these days.

“I don’t know what they mean, Mom, but I can tell we are not supposed to say them because youtuber DangMattSmith does, and you don’t let me watch him any more and that was before I knew those words.  But other kids still watch him, (insert glare that communicates how awful we are as parents to limit their screen time to weekends and pay attention to their youtube experience) and we talk about it and he is still hilarious.  So, Mom, what is porn?”

And I know these moments are fleeting because one day they will not ask me the meanings of words which confuse them– they will ask their friends or worse– they will Google it.  So I explain that porn is against the law and it’s when people take pictures of people who are naked and send them to other people.  I realize that this is not porn exactly, well, it’s a form of porn I’m comfortable explaining to my children because in all the research I’ve done as a high school teacher, we are never too early to the game of talking about online integrity with our children.  Their reaction?

They look at each other and giggle hysterically.   I ask them if they have any more questions, and I mean about porn or hoe or anything else that has come in casual conversation that they are unsure of.

“Mom, how big is Santa’s sleigh actually?  I mean, could he, actually transport a bearded dragon if every kid in the world asked for a bearded dragon?”

And like that we’ve switched from porn to Santa in a blink of an 8 year almost 9 year old eye.  Yes, let’s talk about the dimensions of Santa’s sleigh.  That is much easier for me to navigate.

Greta believes that Santa must, obviously, have helper elves and sleighs transporting toys and wish list items because, “Come on, Carver, you’ve seen an actual sleigh, and they are not that big.  He has to have assistants or nothing would ever get anywhere.   No one could do that alone.  But what I want to know about is whether or not Santa ever dies.  Does he die, Mom?  Does Santa die? If he doesn’t die, how does he stay alive forever?”

Magic, I tell her, because it’s all I’ve got left this rainy/snowy/sleety Sunday morning four days before Halloween.

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4 thoughts on “Porn, Hoes, and Santa’s Sleigh

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