It all started when Bonus and I were in the kitchen one afternoon.
He was playing games on the computer and pictochatting on his DS with RNR, who was upstairs in her bedroom. I was cooking dinner. He was reading her messages and giggling (these messages consisted of imaginative words like "toiletbread." Everything was fine.
Bonus sounds an alert.
"Mommy, I think [RNR] sent me a bad word."
What? I walk over to the computer and pick up his DS.
"Ummm, yeah. That's a bad word."
In fact, it was the mother of all bad words. And she thought she needed to share it with her six year old brother via Nintendo technology. She didn't type the letters. There was no way she or I could pass it off as a typo of duck. There was malice and forethought and intent scrawled with her Mario Bros. stylus.
Lovely. My nine year old daughter has the mind and penmanship of a sailor.
As soon as I called her name, she was running down the stairs crying. She already knew she had made a bad choice. And that I knew all about it.
Immediately, she began pleading her feeble case.
"I didn't mean to do it."
Oh really? Rilly? Seriously? Sur-E-Us-Lee? She tries to convince me that it was an accident and that she didn't mean to hit send.
Please let me know if I do appear this way, but do I look like I'm standing in a road dusting off my bottom as a truck chock full of turnips chugs on down the lane? I think not.
Little girl, your mommy is the DRIVER of that truck that holds those purple and white root vegetables. I haven't fallen off any truck. Ever. I fell out of a red Nissan Sentra once, but that is an entirely unrelated story that will not be told here.
So I say, "But you did hit send. And you did write the word. Why did you write that word?"
RNR explains,"I wanted to see if pictochat would let me write it."
My lil' baby chile. Pictochat will send anything you write or type. Oh wait. Yours won't because for the time being that DS is mine. BOOM. Uh-huh. How you like them turnips? Want me to boil them up and mash 'em for ya?
I take her DS away, and we talk for the nine millionth time about how important our words are. And we talk specifically about her particular choice in vocabulary for that day. We talk about how she knows that word (not from me or her father) and if her fellow fourth graders are trying out that word as an experiment in coolness (No one is using the word at school. She, apparently, was hoping to be the ring leader of that phase at school after she experimented on her little brother and gauged his reaction to the word.). We end our discussion by talking about how her choice exposed her little brother to something he hadn't seen before and shouldn't have had to see.
I tell her I love her, and I know that she now knows without any doubt that word is inappropriate. And that I know she won't choose to use it anymore. I can tell that she knows she was wrong. She doesn't need any further consequence. I make her apologize to her brother for sending him curse words. Her apology is tearful, and his acceptance is genuine. We drop the subject and move on with our day.
She got her DS back earlier this week. There have been no obscene or even slightly questionable pictochat entries. Which is too bad because I was starting to get good at a couple of those DS games.... Did you know you can have Abraham Lincoln drive a truck that drops turnips all the way down the street on Super Scribblenauts?