The week in review: swearing preschoolers, more rain, and a little local history

When I got back from picking up a few groceries one day this week my 11-year old niece let me know that my daughter, who will be four in October, had been placed in time out while I was gone for taking the Lord’s name in vain. My niece didn’t call it that because my niece hasn’t been brought up in the church so she doesn’t know the Christianese my family does, but she felt that my daughter saying “Jesus!” emphatically several times in a row was not appropriate and so she made her sit in time out. My daughter didn’t mind sitting in time out, by the way, but what did send her into a crying fit was when she was told she couldn’t watch any cartoons for the duration of the time-out. Her time-outs are three minutes so it’s not like not watching a cartoon for that duration is the end of the world, but I suppose it’s a big deal when you are almost four.

Now, in my house I have said “Jesus” several times in a row but not as a swear word. I deal with some chronic health issues so I have been known to say the name Jesus when I can’t think what else to pray. And sometimes I even say it emphatically. I thought maybe this is what my daughter was imitating but I didn’t really have time to try to figure it out at that moment because she needed a nap. I thanked my niece, took Little Miss up for her nap, and didn’t think much about it again until that night at bedtime.

We read The Oscar the Grouch book two times and then she told me she’d learned something that day.

I said, “oh? What did you learn?”

“I learned that geez louise is a really bad word,” she said seriously. “It is not good to say.”

I said, “is that what you were saying today with your cousin?”

“Yes,” she said, nodding and looking a bit bewildered by it all.

Though her brother says he heard her and knows she was saying “Jesus” I have a feeling she thought she was saying “geez louise” and never thought she was somehow swearing at the heavens.

I let her know that geez louise isn’t necessarily a polite word but in our house, it isn’t considered a swear word. After that conversation, I felt relieved my daughter hadn’t picked up an offensive way to speak about Jesus and looked forward to the day her articulation is more developed.


It rained all week again, which left the little town I grew up near dealing with some flooding. I live about 40 minutes north now and we escaped any major damage but we were ready for some sunshine and a change of scenery by the weekend so we traveled to a historical site near us called French Azilum.

It’s touted as the place where Marie Antionette was going to live if she had escaped France alive, which, of course, she didn’t, instead losing her head to the guillotine. A group of her servants traveled on ahead, however, eventually settling the land in the area along the river before some of them eventually returned to France and others left the settlement and founded other villages around the county, including the village I grew up in.

One of the main highlights of the site is the Laporte House, which was built in 1836 by John Laporte, a son of one of the original French settlers. The home is original and provides a look at how life was lived in the early days of our country. Mr. Laporte was a US Senator, a state representative, his family name was carried on in the town name of the county seat of our neighboring county, Sullivan County, and apparently, he was also a very tall and large man at 6′ something and 300 some pounds. A tour of the home and where his family would have lived is something that I had never experienced before, despite living in the area my entire life and having visited the site more than once over the years. My mom has told me I did tour the house at least once, as a child, and though I don’t remember that tour, the house did seem vaguely and eerily familiar to me, which I figured was simply because I grew up in and around very old houses.

A Civil War encampment had been set up on the grounds, unrelated to the historical site, and we were being given a tour by the local historian and camp commander when he was called away to a cast iron frying pan throwing contest. Yes, you read right – a cast iron frying pan throwing contest.

 

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We decided this wasn’t something we wanted to miss so we headed to a field to watch women in long dresses toss cast iron pans toward the camp commander to see how far they could throw. I believe the longest toss was about 37 feet and it was a young girl with a wicked pitching arm. Apparently, the tossers normally have their husbands or intended stand out in the field as a “bit of motivation” for their throw. This time they had the local historian instead and luckily he came out unscathed.

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I was asked to participate and I declined, a decision I now regret, because, as I told my sister-in-law later in the day, I don’t feel you’ve fully lived until you’ve tossed a cast iron pan at a man in a field. If I’m ever asked to toss a pan again I’ll definitely take them up on the offer.

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A camping trip and the bed of torture | Wyalusing PA photographer

Last week my dad took my son and his friend camping down at the bottom of the field in front of his house, behind the pond. My daughter and I stayed up in the house where I learned how incredibly uncomfortable adjustable beds can really be and how miserable toddlers can be when they have a virus but their mom has no idea it is a virus.

Staying over was impromptu for Little Miss and I which meant an impromptu trip to the little town near us for some take out at the only place in that one stop light town that offers take out. My parenting was put to the test when Little Miss decided she would prefer to explore the town instead of pick up our food and go back to her grandparents and actually eat it. 

She threw a tantrum and then I threw one and eventually we sat down at a table outside the little restaurant and attempted to make peace. My mom and aunts supper was getting cold, though, so I finally had to drive her home, with her screaming like a crazy person the whole five miles and me crying like the sometimes mentally unstable mom I am. 

Bedtime was more than welcome an couple hours later until I realized sleeping on my dads bed could be compared to sleeping on a bed of nails. Everywhere I turned I seemed to hit another hard spot. Then I rolled unknowingly on to the remote and suddenly my now angelic sleeping toddler and I were being folded in half inside the bed. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to adjust the bed so their head is crushed into their knees but apparently someone enjoys this because the bed allows for such a position to be achieved. Maybe it is to help yoga students complete some position they’ve been trying to get into. 

Here I was at some ungodly hour, flapping my hands in the covers wildly, desperately trying to find the remote to avoid us being crushed and Little Miss, who I had nicknamed “little nightmare” for the day, being awakened and reminded she wasn’t at home and decided she wanted to wake up and play with my grandmother’s bottle collection.

Luckily the remote was found fairly quickly and Little Miss slept through all the drama.
In the morning I called Dad to be sure the bear that had been visiting the property hadn’t eaten him or the boys. They were all fine except I was fairly certain Dad had decided he was pass his days of camping out and maybe doing so three months after knee replacement wasn’t the best decision after all. 

Little Miss and I found the boys fishing by the pond when we used the golf cart to reach them. My son told me peeing in the night had been an adventure while he stumbled in the dark. His friend had less of an adventure with his middle of the night peeing needs and instead simply opened the tent door and peed out of it, he told me. This story was not well received by my mom who said everyone had probably walked in the pee when they took their middle of the night bathroom journey. 

Overall the experience was a success- for the boys at least – and especially my son who thought all of it was “great” especially cooking over a fire, peeing on trees, and fishing even if they didn’t catch anything.