My son said a bad word at school – sort of.

The other day J’s instructional aide pulled me aside to tell me “a funny story” about J.

The teacher was showing them pictures of animals and she wanted the children to say the name of the animal and then the beginning sound.

She showed them a picture of a donkey. J said “ass”.

And, of course, one of the other students immediately informed the teacher the J “said a bad word.”

The teacher hadn’t heard what J said and the aide quickly gave her the “just ignore it” look, so she kept on with the lesson as if nothing had happened and the incident was promptly forgotten. At least I haven’t heard from any of the other parents that their child came home and told them, and I didn’t get a call from the teacher of the principal.

I’d love to say that he learned it from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. They are one of the few parks in North America that exhibit the Somali Wild Ass on the tram ride. One of the tour guides has been known to say “I love Wild Ass babies!” The adults giggle while the kids stare at the animals roaming the grounds in front of them oblivious to anything the guide is babbling about.

Somali Wild Ass - Safari Park
Somali Wild Ass (photo courtesy of San Diego Zoo Safari Park)

But, I know he learned it from me. I let it slip one day months and months ago, when he would not lie down like he was supposed to.

And then much to my annoyance and chagrin he kept repeating the word over and over. Nope, he couldn’t pick one of the twenty other words I used that day to try to convince him he needed to get in to bed. Nope, he couldn’t repeat the twenty other words I use regularly to refer to the posterior region of his anatomy. Nope, it had to be THAT one he chose to repeat.

Trying to cover for myself, I told him it is another word for donkey. Absolutely, completely 100% true. Though in the past “ass” was used to refer equally to the wild and domesticated version of the animal, in common parlance it is now used to refer to the wild animal while donkey is used for the domesticated one.

Of course, we all know that was not what I had meant when I said it. Bad mommy!

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