Yesterday was an epic day in our household. A pivotal transition that defined the shift from the long lost tickle wars and picture books, and firmly set its feet into the worldly enlightenment of knowing when and how to appropriately use the term:
“That’s What She Said.”
It’s right up there with your child’s first day using the potty, getting their driver’s permit, or their first acceptance into college.
My husband and I are big fans of The Office. (It’s no secret–this is the fourth or fifth Steve Carell reference in this blog’s six-week existence.) When the series first came out it was not in our kids’ viewing repertoire. We recently started re-watching the series, and our kids (almost-11 and 13) have latched to the teat of buffoonery.
Creating a family bonding experience was likely not the goal when the show’s creators spun this beautiful web of characters, but that’s what they’ve done. Each night the kids scramble through homework, showers and nightly chores (AKA-things we force them to do before doing anything enjoyable), to unwind to the absurdity of Michael Scott and friends. My new favorite part of the show is watching their responses. My least favorite is how hard they laugh at jokes they’d roll their eyes at if I told them! (Little shits.)
Yesterday, while on a lunch date with my mini me, I complimented her shirt.
Me: “Love that shirt on you. It looks super cute.”
Mini: “Thanks! Ava said that today too…” (pause)(eye glare over to me)(smirky smile) “THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID!”
We cackled with delight, questionable pride swirling within me. Mom was PROUD.
At dinner, Mini was psyched to fill Brian in on her day, and relive her self-perceived epic delivery of “That’s What She Said.” I let her have her moment in the spotlight– but later that evening we revisited the topic. I wanted to ensure that she knew when and where it would be appropriate to use the phrase. I told her to consider it like swearing in school or church, i.e. don’t do it unless you’re willing to pay the piper.
“Why? Is it bad? What exactly does it mean?”
It hadn’t crossed MY mind that she hadn’t yet understood the punchline she was delivering! She, too, was likely enchanted by the laughter the line evokes…
How do I explain this?! With her quick wit and unmistakable awareness-she must have some idea!
Me: “Well, you really shouldn’t use that phrase because it has to do with sex.” (They just had the birds and the bees talk at school so it’s been the topic lately–I’m not sure whose hives were breaking out faster!)
Mini: “No way! But how? Why?”
ME: “Well- remember in the video they showed at school? … when the boy asked ‘Why is my penis hard?”
Mini: (Beet red and laughing) “Ya.”
Me: “You thought that was funny. Now imagine that you had homework that you were struggling with…and you blurted out, “This is so hard!”
Mini and I (in unison): “That’s What She Said!”
Parenting is not easy, but it sure can be fun! Openness is one of the few things Brian and I agree on with ease.
I was never one to talk freely with my parents (or anyone) about personal topics, even into my adulthood. You’d never guess that if you know me, but it’s something I’m still working on–even though I know that it leaves me vulnerable to ridicule, or judgment. Brian and I decided long ago that we wanted to be as open as possible with our kids about all things in life. And you know what?
It’s fun, and big, and often hard.
Did I leave myself wide open?
Do you want to get a leg up on this?