In which Mary discovers and unexpected thinness of skin
“Oh, my GOD!”
There was a time in my life when that phrase was offensive to me. It was taking the lord’s name in vain, invoking deity in a meaningless, frivolous way. Even though I no longer have that response, I am still far more likely to say, “Oh, good lord!” (Yes, I am aware those two are essentially identical, but the tweak in semantics works for me. Make of that what you will.)
“Oh! My! GOD!”
Though it has been known to drop from my lips, I generally avoid it for a few reasons: out of habit, out of respect for those whom it does offend, and because these days it’s so much the purview of adolescent girls — OMG! OMG!! OMGGGGG!!!!! — at their most shrieky and annoying.
So I have a pretty muted response to it, all in all. Except, I’ve just this moment discovered, when it is being broadcast from the mouths of babes.
Rory, at the front of the stroller, takes a deep breath.
“Oh. My. GOD!!” he declares, in tones of such rich satisfaction that the others are driven to echo. Grace and Jazz pick up the mantra, and now “Oh! My! GOD!!!” is bouncing around the stroller, from tot to tot, and across the road and up the street and round the city and through the province… “Oh. My. GOOoooooDDDD!”
I’m feeling a smidge self-conscious, is what I’m saying.
Rory takes a breath to start the next call-and-response. “Oh, My, G–” Before he can finish, I thrust a word into the air. “GOODNESS!” He picks it up obligingly.
“Oh, My, Goo’ness!” Grace and Jazz pick up the refrain, and I relax. Because, really. Four kids screeching irreverences up and down the street. Where did they learn that? people will wonder. Probably from that caregiver! people will assume. Why else would all those kids from different families be saying the same thing? Only stands to reason. That caregiver who looks so mild. Bet she’s just awful behind closed doors, screaming and yelling, and “oh-my-god-you-kids!”-ing.
And besides. It just tweaks those long-ago lessons. Adults can say that, doesn’t bother me at all. Little kids? It feels wrong, hell, it fells borderline offensive. Babies should not be saying this. I’m a little surprised by my response, frankly. Sunday School is more deeply ingrained in my psyche than I realized. (Train up a child, and all that. Seems I’m a case in point.)
“Oh, my goo’ness!”
“Oh, my GOO’NESS!”
It’s kind of cute, really.
“Oh! My! GOD!!!”
So much for bait-and-switch. What we need is a whole different distractor. Conversation about the scenery is ineffective. Questions about their activities similarly so. How about…
Grace LOVES this song! LOVES.IT.
“Appoos and ‘nanaaaaas!”
And the others join in, “I yike to eat, eat, eat, appools and ananas.”
And this one? It sticks.