“Hate” is a Four-Year-Old Letter Word

Every now and then I catch a glimpse of unexpected assurance that our four-year-old son is actually soaking up a few of our better parenting moments. It’s usually when we least expect it and often when he doesn’t know we’re watching, but when it happens it’s gotta make a parent proud.

The other night there was just nothing on TV for the family to watch, so I switched over to Netflix (no, this is not the fine parenting moment of which I speak). I started searching for a family-friendly Disney movie that was not animated, because frankly there are times my husband and I deserve to watch “real” people doing real things during our son’s waking hours. I settled on The Rocketeer, and although I hadn’t seen it in many years I remembered it being a fun wholesome movie. Perhaps I should get my memory checked (showing an unscreened movie to my preschooler — still not my finest parenting moment, but stay with me here).

The first 10 minutes included a rolling gun battle, death, robbery and the D-A-M-N word at least four times. We finally decided to find something else to watch (which probably ended up being Bubble Guppies or Umizoomi after all), but our son was already riveted to the screen. He just couldn’t understand why we nixed the movie, so we told him that the people in it weren’t being very nice and they were saying bad words. Immediately he asked, “What did they say? What did they say?” Of course when we weren’t forthcoming with the actual term, he was left to ponder what he had heard. A few seconds later he came up with the answer.

“Oh, I know what they said. They said ‘hate’ and that’s not nice.”

I smiled and said, “Yes, baby, they said hate.”

Now this may not seem like much to most, but inside I wanted to take a victory lap or do a whole-hearted chest-bump with my equally triumphant husband. Still lost? Well let me interpret:  Thankfully our son hasn’t had enough exposure to the d-word to know it’s connotation and we’ve never heard him say it. On the other hand, he does know and use the h-word. As of late, we have been trying to instill the dislike of hate into his pretty little head, so you just have to understand that it’s a complete proud parent moment when your little one suddenly assumes that “hate” is a four-letter word.

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