Yesterday was a hot day, as far as Swedish springtime goes. I picked up Little Girl from school and asked her about her day. Mostly we speak in English, but occasionally, more and more frequently, she’ll speak Swedish to me. “Det var skitvarmt ute!” she said.
I about had a heart attack: my sweet, shy little six-year-old had just told me that it was “hot as shit outside.” Now, in my head, I knew that in Swedish this expression is very, very mild, that it is even somehow considered acceptable for children. That everybody says it, though I certainly never would. That Little Girl didn’t even know the word “shit” in and of itself in either language or that it was a “bad word.” (She knows there are “bad words” but she doesn’t know what they are, and we don’t use them in front of her.) So I tried to keep my wits about me and not freak the fuck out about her cursing.
“Did you know that means you are saying it is as hot as poop outside but with kind of bad words? I’d rather you not say that word to me. In English it’s a very bad word, actually.”
Little Girl was horrified; she tries to keep all poop talk to the bathroom. “Then we’d better go back in the school and tell the teachers it’s a bad word, because they say it all the time!”
There’s a sweet boy in Little Girl’s class whom she’s known for the last few years and has always had positive commentary about. Today he came up in conversation.
“I have a secret to tell you, but you can’t tell anybody else,” revealed Little Girl.
“Okay, what is it?”
“I really like S. I think he is nice. I try to do nice things for him. Like if he is climbing a tree and his hat falls off, I put it back on him. I l……..” and she looked shyly away.
“Were you going to say you love him?”
“Yes, it is that, but I don’t want to say that.”