My youngest kid, the tweeny, 11 year-old Boy, recently expanded his vocabulary quite a bit, thanks to some older middle school athletes.
With an unfortunate lacrosse birthday that pitted him against 6th and 7th graders rather the kinder, gentler, fart-obsessed 5th graders, he returned from the first lax tryout proclaiming:
“These kids are really tall, really hairy, and they’re all talking about Izzy.” Izzy is our slightly older than her years neighbor who will no doubt star in a reality TV show someday in the not-so-distant future.
Because we have four kids, and because we don’t never buy the latest and greatest anything, especially if a kid is still growing, the Boy wore his soccer cleats to lacrosse tryouts because I didn’t get the memo that the two sports shall never-ever-in-a-million-years intersect, and if you’re serious about sports, even in 5th grade, apparently in the town I live in that means shelling out hundreds of dollars on cleats and sneakers specific to the ball they happen to be chasing at the time – even though they’re likely to be outgrown, or ignored, in days. Literally, days.
But I had shelled out bucks for new soccer cleats, and thought he’d be set for lacrosse season. I was wrong. Boy stopped wearing his brand new, very expensive soccer turf shoes to lacrosse tryouts.
He first “lost” them. Then “forgot” them. Then they “hurt” his feet. Then he didn’t even want to go to practice, to the point of tears.
After much prodding, he confessed, humiliated on the couch, picking his fingers and on the verge of tears, that the bigger kids called him a douche bag because of his sneaks.
He was sad, confused, and dare I say bullied.
“They called me a doo-doo-douche bag,” he sobbed. “I don’t even know what that is, but I can tell it’s not good.”
Boy’s 8th grade sister was sitting on the couch, watching tv, and paying no attention to her unraveling brother. Or so I thought.
Douche bag defined, courtesy of big sister
Through his broken sobs, she interrupted: “It’s a vagina cleaner. It cleans your vagina.”
Kid3: “Douche bag. It’s a vagina cleaner.”
Boy, tears stopped immediately and the rational critical thinking kicking in full gear: “But I don’t have a vagina.”
Sister: “I know. It’s what boys call loser boys.”
This he clearly understands. So we joked and consoled and cajoled and picked up the pieces of a sad little boy, and told him under no circumstances would he be getting new cleats for tryouts. We did tell him in not so many words, to kick their loser asses on the field. In the soccer cleats. Finish it on the turf. He can do it.
And he did. He made the team and gained respect from older douche bags.
So when holed up in the hospital weeks later when I broke my ass, Boy came for a post-game visit. He was sweaty, smelled like ass, filthy, and dripping with celebratory ice cream from the win. He bounded into my hospital room, wearing douche bag cleats and leaving clumps of turf in his wake.
“Mom, we won! What’s a pussy? Somebody called me a pussy; I’m thinking it’s kinda like a douche bag, but not really. But don’t worry, I scored on him!”
No tears. No frustration. Just another word added to the “do not call” list.