'So go on then, what's your worst word?'
She had just accused me of saying her bunches were 'cute.' 'You hate the word 'cute 'you said it was your worst word, even worse than 'nice', and I hate the bunches, they are NOT cute,' she shouted.
Hmmm, well yes - I can't deny it - I had said that I hate the word 'cute', but that because she was using it to describe an extortionately priced plastic pony in neon pink that she wanted to put in the shopping trolley. As far as I am concerned 'cute' is a word used by Mattel and Zapft copywriters with nefarious desires to brainwash my child.
And I had also used to the word 'cute' to sell her something. We were already ten minutes late for Breakfast Club and her hair takes twenty minutes to brush out. I'm truly embarrassed that she caught me out, as a copywriter I usually try to steal my words from better sources.
"And what's your worst word?' I asked. Distraction is an excellent thing when trying to tease a comb through a child's dreadlocks. Her answer was quicker than an ask for ketchup: 'no' and 'but'.
I suppose her choice is very normal but I was astounded that she even had a mental filing system that could index best and worst words, let alone spit out specific searches Google-fast. She must get really sick of hearing ' no,' to have the answer that fast. It's a bit depressing, I thought I was doing quite well at trying to be positive. Sometimes I even try and look as if I am thinking about it rather than just saying 'no' when she suggests going to the park in the middle of the night - it's so much easier to chat about the possibility than deal with the tears.
'And what's your best words?"
'Yes' and 'Mmm,' she says - quick as a flash.
'It shows you're thinking about it...'
Hmmm, I thought 'Mmmm' just meant I was making Bisto.
I really am amazed she listens so well and hears these words. But this is the girl who counted the stairs as a toddler saying ' shit, shit ,shit.....' - because that's how I usually ran down them when I was late in the morning.
I thought I was doing so well to have modified all swear words out of my language. Now it seems the bar has just been raised a bit higher. They f*** you up, your mum and dad, even when they don't say f*** any more, they just say 'no.'
But then, life is full of 'no's', so maybe I'm just helping her practice ways to ignore them....