Patriarchy and Paper Cuts

My 8 year nephew flies towards me holding in the air a sheet of paper that’s flapping in the air-rush he’s creating from his speed. Its his homework and he wants me to help him with sounding out the words he’s struggling with.

de-s-tr-oy
Destroy! He exclaims. His eyes dancing. High Five I sing and we are -after 3 attempts- able to place a loud smack in the air.
What does it mean? I ask him. He’s onto the next one.

too-m-bo?
Uh-uh, try again I say.
tomb-oy?
Nope.
I say it with him.
Tom-boy. Tomboy? He asks.
Yes.
What does it mean?
*screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech*

I’m about to taint my gorgeous boys young mind with a word I’m appalled still exists in todays society! How do I explain this word? I think fast. Do I say its a word used to describe a girl who behaves like a boy? No that’s not it. Do I say its a girl who likes to do things that boys enjoy doing too? Who am I kidding, its the 21st centuary, which girl doesn’t? I’m stupified into silence. He’s wiggling like a worm, ass up, face down. My punkin :-). When his asking eyes meet mine I’m struggling for words… Uhmm, I start. It means a girl who likes to do things that boys like to do. I give in, willing myself to fade into bleekness. He raises an eyebrow at me and says, like a gay?

I’m dumbfounded.

I don’t like this word I tell him. Its not a nice word and I don’t like it. You can tell your teacher I said that. Is it a swear word he asks readying for guilt. No it’s not I respond gently, its a bad word. And you can tell your teacher I said I DON’T LIKE IT!

He bolts out the door into the garden to water the plants.

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