We Don’t Say “Stupid” In This House
With very few exceptions, child not included
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.
“Daddy, Draw Holes in the Newspaper”
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.