Tricky Dick: Not a Story About Nixon


When we were kids, we used to sit cross-legged at school and call it Indian Style. No one calls it that anymore for all the right reasons. Hooray for cultural sensitivity and change!

Now kids sit Crisscross at school. Except no one calls it just Crisscross, because ho hum, right? How boring. Now when you sit cross-legged, you have to call it Crisscross Applesauce. Frankly, I don’t know what applesauce has to do with anything, but there it is, an essential suffix. Woe betide the mama who thinks she’s tight enough with Crisscross to only use his first name. Those kindergartners, man, they will school you. It’s Crisscross Applesauce, Mom, they will say and then they will look at you like you are equal parts dumb as bricks and to be pitied. Kind of how I look at banana muffins that are missing chocolate chips. Like, it was sweet of you to try so hard, but this is incomplete.

So, OK. You know what? Fine. Crisscross Applesauce. Got it.


It has recently been brought to my attention that, although I am not allowed to mess with Criss’s name, my children are welcome to call him whatever they like. For example, last night they decided the very best name for Criss is to drop Applesauce entirely and call him Crisscross Tricky Dick.

I just…

I don’t even…

I can’t…

Crisscross Tricky Dick? I clarified. Sure enough. That is, in fact, correct.

What is a dick anyway? I asked. It’s nothing, I discovered. It’s just a silly word, they said. OhpraiseJesusandallthesaints, I replied.

You know, Tricky Dick doesn’t even rhyme with Crisscross, I argued, hoping to appeal to their rhyming sympathies. But their hearts were hard, y’all — stone — and they were not moved.

I let it go because I’ve learned to do that sometimes. Which is a total lie. I let it go because I have no idea what to do with Crisscross Tricky Dick. Tell them to stop? Ignore it and hope it goes away? I DON’T KNOW. Also, SOMEONE HELP ME.

I sent my boys to school today. I think I deserve a badge for bravery. I’m supposed to pick them up in a half hour, and I’m nervous. When I’m nervous, I talk too much. God only knows what I might say.

Pardon me, Nice Kindergarten Teachers, but did my sons by any chance mention Tricky Dick today? Perhaps during circle time on the reading rug? If they did, you should know we are big history buffs at our house. Huge. And we’ve been talking Nixonian politics a lot lately. ‘Cause Watergate? Cannot. Get. Enough. Amirite?

This is just like that time Abby was 2 and thought Clifford the Big Red Dog was pronounced bullshit. And she said Clifford a lot. And at high volume. And in the food court at the mall. And in front of her grandmother. The one who doesn’t swear.

In conclusion, I just…

I don’t even…

I can’t…


P.S. If you have a story to share about something your kid has said, I’m not opposed to hearing it. Just saying.


image credit “Sillouette Child Doing Meditation” by sattva at

ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
  1. Not really innapropriate but in the vein of funny things kids say:

    My 3 year old son was watching what was supposed to be a kid show that DH had to turn off. “It’s too violent” he said.

    My 3 yo. replied, “It’s not biolent!”

    “V-v-v-violent,” my husband corrected and laughed.

    Scornfully my 3 yo replied, “It’s not f-f-f-funny!”

  2. I have two that are most relevant, and out of 4 children it’s still the same child! Why?!! The first was (and I swear it really is true!) when we had visiting missionaries from our church at my house……………my then 3 year old boy kept pointing to his folded hands in the missionaries lap and saying “You’re COCK!!!” Over and over…………..They were uncomfortable, I was uncomfortable and I was so distracted, I didn’t even realize he was trying to point out the guy’s watch till later. Sooooo Fail.
    Next, SAME CHILD – at the grocery store – he loves Spider Man, loves Black Venom even more (cool to be the bad guy maybe?) Problem is, he says “Black Woman” NOT Back Venom……. Next thing I know, we’re at the grocery store and he is saying something unintelligible about “Black Woman” my oldest gently tries to correct him and he starts SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS about how “NO!!!! BLACK WOMAN IS BAD!!! KILL BLACK WOMAN!!” O.M.G. Yes, there was an African American woman in the aisle with us. I could not make this up. I SWEAR I AM NOT RASCIST!!! Such a bad day.

  3. Hi there! I’m new to the party, but this post reminded me of the time my children were small (ages 4, 5 and 6) and the 4 year old had fond memories of our day spent at a local camp, called Camp Allendale. So, when asked by Grandma what he had done that day, he excitedly ran the name all together and proudly declared, “Mom took us to Chippendale today!” 🙂

  4. I am dying reading all of these and so happy to know I am not alone in this world of trying to raise decent human beings.

    My daughter just turned 3 and will be starting preschool very soon. In preparation for this new adventure I have had to teach her a “new favorite word” to replace the ever popular (in my house anyway when tripping over toys and stepping on megablocks) motherfucker. Oh.Em.Gee. After much training I am now happy to announce that should the question of “what is your favorite word?” should ever come up that the response will be a more appropriate “pizza” or “cheetos”! Thanksbabyjesus.

  5. My son would say “what the f—” every single time we drove down a hill. Every single freaking time! My mom live down a road with 5 hills in two miles! I finally got him to say what the heckin instead. Two years later he was in kindergarten and came home saying he was not allowed to say heckin anymore. Lol

  6. My two year old cousin likes to say “snickers!” When he is frustrated. But sometimes he drops the S and the ck sound a little more the gg.

  7. My 2 year old daughter likes to run around shouting “I have a little penis!” My 5 year old son and 4 year old daughter find this hilarious which only encourages her to keep saying it. And just like you, I dont even… Do I tell her to stop?…that just makes her say it more. Should I ignore her? I am waiting for her to start shouting it in the supermarket. I know it’s going to happen.

  8. […] Abby used to call Clifford the Big Red Dog, “Bullshit.” I thought you should […]

    1. Just last night, Master 5 was telling me how his little friend had been away from school, but had returned, triumphantly it would seem, after having his tentacles removed!

      This little Master also loves Marvel Superheroes, such as Pie-dee-man and The Incredible Honk…..
      What would do without these nuggets of brilliance from the little ones!?

  9. One from a Dad…hope that’s OK. When my oldest daughter was just three years old (she’s 26 now) and we were at the grocery store, she was riding in the cart as we entered the checkout line. The little old lady behind us smiled and said “what a beautiful little girl!” This was just about the time Bri’s curiosity got the better of her and she said “Daddy, what does son of a bitch mean?” We had to help the poor lady pick her teeth up off the floor…

  10. One of my kids’ favorite parks has a large clock tower. For a solid year, they both yelled “GIANT CLOCK!!!” at regular intervals every time we played there. Which would be fine…if either of them could pronounce their L sounds at all.

  11. When my son was five, he asked me out of the blue if I knew (and I can barely type this; I’ll leave out a vowel just because you’ll still know what he said, and I won’t have *actually typed that word*) what dick plus c*nt equals.

    Just, wow. After a stunned moment, I asked carefully, “Um, what does it equal?”

    “Fuck!” he replied matter-of-factly.

    His older brother was strongly counseled a few minutes later. I was proud of myself as a sex educator; he had a reasonably good understanding of what he had said. But O. M. G., to hear that come out of such a tiny boy…

  12. When my eldest daughter was 3 (she’s 12 now), she watched me carefully as I made a grocery list, folded the paper and then put it in my back pocket. She thought for a few minutes, brought me a piece of paper and asked, “Can you put this in my butt?”

  13. Our son has had a lot of difficulty speaking and has had intensive speech therapy. At Christmas he got a particularly wonderful toy, and he reached for it asking for the “tirefuck.” Mommy and daddy collapsed laughing, then worked with him until we got to “firefuck.” Then we gave up. This is, of course, the vehicle firefighters ride to the fire.

  14. My 3 1/2 year old, lovely daughter wanted to tell me a story. Joy! I sat with her, my ears open, and my heart so full of love.
    “Once upon a time there was a mommy and daddy. They had a daughter named Ass…….”

  15. Penguins of the Mad-a-gas-car. He is seven, still says it this way. Love it!

  16. My son is six and just learning English, since we adopted him last year – at Halloween, he was a doctor and realized he was missing one of his accessories. With the most innocent eyes, he looked up at me and went, “Oh shit mommy! I left my thermometer in the car!” We had a talk after that about grown up language and how he’s right that Mommy shouldn’t bad words, but Mommy is an imperfect human being.

  17. I love what little people say when they are still so new to language! My 4 year old has come up with some doozies. Recently we took a trip to Florida and those great big lizard-like animals we hoped to see he called “croc-a-gators”, because, you know, it’s too confusing which type lives in Florida and which lives along the Nile River. Now, he has taken to calling eight-legged sea creatures “cock-a-puss”. I’m hoping he won’t mention that at preschool.

  18. My nephew went through a phase where he found it absolutely hysterical to call people [insert random object he sees]-head. He also referred to napkins as towels. The end result was him regularly referring to people at the dinner table by a racial slur.

  19. My young daughter once introduced me to her new doll, F%$#. We were unable to convince her that maybe a better name for baby F$%# might be better. So I hid the doll.

    Another daughter once was heard repeating over and over, “This is crap!” I was going to go scold her until I heard the complete statement she was making about her beach beanie babies: “This is crap. And this is lopster.”

  20. My oldest use to call nutcrackers, nut f*ckers. My mother in law had lots of them out at Christmas time. She thought it was hilarious.

    My middle child went through a stage where he couldn’t say clock without dropping the L. We were having our family pictured done and he proceeded to say “whoa that’s a huge cock” at a very large clock on the wall. Our photographer lost it.

  21. My 2 year old is learning his letters and numbers. His big sister and Sesame Street are his primary teachers. So we got some magnetic letters and numbers for the fridge. So the other day I was cooking dinner and my little, adorable man says “Hey Mama F&*K YOU!” and I turn around in horror and say “WHAT DID YOU SAY?!!” And he proudly holds up the number 4 and the letter Q. “4-Q MAMA! 4-Q!”


    “YES baby guy! That IS the number 4 and the Letter Q! GOOD JOB!”

  22. My son got a dragon “Stuffie” for Christmas. And they come already named. This one’s name was Blaze, but my 4 yr old decided his name should be Blow. Any way you spin that can’t be good. I just let it go shaking my head and thinking oh man. I hope that doesn’t become the “I’m going to take this EVERYWHERE” toy. LOVE everyone’s stories!

  23. My daughter (now 12) at the age of not-quite-2, stood in the doorway of a very messy room in front of my mother, put her hands on her hips, shook her head, and said “shit”.

    Though I was dying, I couldn’t have agreed more. That room was a wreck.

  24. I am laughing so hard right now!!!

    Here are some from our lovely home:
    “Curse You!” from the beautiful lips of my six year old son. When I asked him what he thought it meant (he said it with his fist raised and all) replied, “I don’t like you.” Okaythen. Yep, that would clearly get your point across. I did feel the need to inform him that it was actually a very hurtful thing to say and it would be best if find another way to tell someone he didn’t like them. I haven’t heard it yet…

    When learning that using his middle finger as a “pointer finger” was BAD from kids at school, nine year old comes home and instead of telling me, tells his granddad. When asked why it’s bad, my father tells him, “What it means to some people is you are telling them to ‘stick it up their butt.'” Thanks, dad. I couldn’t have done a better job myself. reallydidhetellmylittleboythat?!?!

    I will never forget my then five-year old yelling from the side of the CHURCH building, “Mom, I can pee without pulling down my pants! Come see!” Oh the joys us moms of sons have that some totally miss out on. Thanks for sharing your real life with us.

  25. When my sister and i were little we nicknamed our pet rat Boobie, because we liked the sound of the word i guess? So we would chant “Boobie, Boobie, Boobie!” or scream it or sing it or just repeat it whenever playing with her. Whenever guests would come over my parents would be like, “Um, please don’t call her that.” And we would be like, “But why???” 🙂

    Beth – not sure if you remember me, but i lived across the street from you in Thousand Oaks. I know my mom, Norma Ryan, is still friends with your parents. 🙂 Love your blog, great writing! Take care!

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