I can’t remember how exactly Kina called me “stupid” this morning, but I remember it being a pretty precise application of the word, and I also know that it’s not the first time, so she’s learning as she goes, like a predator. After lecturing her extensively about how and why we don’t use that word in this house, I got to thinking about whether or not we do use it in this house, imagining a wistful montage of all the occasions on which I’ve called a certain loathsome something or somebody “stupid” in the last four years within earshot of my impressionable child. In hindsight, then, I can say with near certainty that I have uttered the word “stupid” in front of Kina, despite understanding fully the ways in which that word is demeaning and destructive, and so I take some responsibility for helping her to put some guard rails around it—and for abandoning its use myself.
Even as I atone for my part in this, it is worth noting that Kina spends a considerable amount of time on playgrounds with six-year-old boys, who definitely haven’t yet come to terms with the nuances of ableist language and insults. There’s something very charming about being called a “poopy butt” by a three-year-old, and that charm does not translate well to being called “stupid” by a four-year-old. I can’t even imagine the myriad cruelties a six-year-old knows how to mete out, so I imagine I’ve only just begun to pay off the debt of a life of thoughtless insults by shaping a chaotic young mind.
As I said yesterday, the rules are what separate us from our monstrous inner nature, and we write the rules as we go along, wincing at our own transgressions.
From a visual standpoint, this may be one of my favorite editions of The Daily Kina in a while. I try to go from blank page to finished product in half an hour every morning, which doesn’t leave me as much time as I’d like to consider a visual theme or a big statement piece. (Charter subscribers will remember the variety of wordmarks this publication once featured.) When our publisher initially made her demand this morning, it was in response to a comment I had just made about about trypophobia—a fear of clusters of small holes—and I hesitated before actually following through on Kina’s request, because I am slightly trypophobic myself and so was slightly queasy at the thought of making an edition full of creepy eyeballs. The final result, a humble little landscape of isometric portholes, is considerably less threatening, and gives little Daddy a nice place to sit while babysitter Elsa hums a little tune.