…thus sealing his doom

We are enjoying unseasonably warm weather up here in the hinterland these days. It’s summer-warm and sunny, and I took advantage of this fair weather to get the boys out of the house yesterday afternoon.
Background: for the last few weeks, the boys have been experimenting with independence – they get off the school bus without a grown-up waiting at the stop, let themselves into the house on those days that I get home a little later than they do, and go to the park, two blocks away, without adult supervision.
So when yesterday proved to be yet another beautiful day, and the boys were both finished their homework with lots of daylight left, I sent them off to the park without me.
Half an hour later, the door slammed open and the two boys burst in, simultaneously screaming at me and each other. Colin got to me first:
Colin: “Robert wrote the F-word on the seesaw!!!!!”
Naturally, my reaction was:
“Robert!!!!” (for proper intonation, imagine Fred screaming “Wilma!!!!”)
Robert: “I forgot how to spell the French word for ‘seal*’!!!!”
Since we had already used up our daily quota of exclamation marks, I quietly explained that (a) it’s not OK to write on someone else’s property, even if it’s painfully evident that plenty of other neighbourhood hoodlums don’t agree; (b) using the F-word is an adult privilege and potentially offensive; and (c) I’m not quite that stupid.
*The French word for seal is ‘phoque,’ and is thus a source of great amusement to all of us anglophones at some stage in our elementary career. Ironically, the actual F-word is not particularly taboo in French, since bodily functions, which inform so much English cursing, are not nearly as horrific as taking the Lord’s name in vain in French… but that’s really another story altogether.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the ‘writing’ was done with a charred stick and was thus not actually permanent.

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