Words have been on our minds. Today is the spelling bee. For two weeks my daughter has had words to spell tossed at her from every quarter. Conversations usually go like this:

Me: Eat your lunch. Spell tortilla.

The Speller: Tortilla. T-O-R-T-I-L-L-A. Tortilla.

Son: These are peanut butter sandwiches, Mom. Not tacos. What’s your favorite dinosaur?

Me: Brontosaurus. Spell brontosaurus.

Speller: Brontosaurus. B-R-O-

Son: Mom! Brontosaurs didn’t exist! Spell apatosaurus.

Speller: Apatosaurus. A-P-P – wait. A-P-A-T-O-S-A-U-R-U-S. Apatosaurus.

Me: I know, but it’s my favorite because it proves scientists make mistakes, too. Mistake.

Speller: Mistake. M-I-S-T-A-K-E. Mistake.

Pixie Child: Do dinosaurs really eat only girls? Spell ‘girls rock’.

During lunch yesterday we had my iPod playing on the surround sound. The Speller asked to hear a certain song and I said sure, telling her it was popular when I was a teenager and treating them to a little dance. She laughed indulgently, then made her point.

Speller: This song is explicit. E-X-P-L-I-C-I-T. Explicit.

Me: No, it isn’t. It’s… Oh. Wow.

The boy’s eyebrows went up.

Pixie: I know what explicit means.

The Pixie’s favorite thing to tell strangers right now is “I know a bad word. I can’t say it, but it sounds like…” and then she sounds it out for them. Apparently slowly enunciating a word does not equal saying it. There’s always that laugh at the end. She gets to say the word with impunity because she’s not really saying it. Not technically. Then she tells her story. “We were in the car and Mom was singing and I don’t think she was paying attention because I think she forgot to turn because she stopped at a stop sign. I can spell stop. S-T-O-P. At the stop sign she said that word and I said I think you just said a bad word and she turned the car around and we turned onto the road that doesn’t go by Cracker Barrel. Do you want me to tell you the word again?”

So I don’t know who I thought I was kidding yesterday when I said “Yeah, we’ll have to take that song off your iPods.”

Son: It’s not like we’ve never heard the word, Mom.

Me (with horror): Where? Where have you heard that word?

Son: You. You say it all the time.

They’re all smirking at me at this point. I smirk back.

Me: Well. I’m not going to say it anymore. It’s a bad word and I have a better vocabulary.

Son: Give me a dollar every time you say it.

Me: A nickel.

Son: A quarter.

Me: A nickel. I have to wean myself.

Son: You’ll stop sooner if you give me a dollar every time.

Speller: If you give each of us a dollar.

Me: I don’t have that much money.

Speller: Then you won’t say it, will you?

Sometimes it sucks having smart kids. But don’t tell them I said that. They’re smug enough. I haven’t had to make any pay outs yet, thankfully. Nor have I had to flex my wider vocabulary under stress though. Maybe I should write some phrases down so I’ll be ready. In case I can’t bite my tongue.

I am perturbed.

This situation is odious.

Stop being so fractious. I love you and do not want to pay you a dollar.