Low Level Naughty Score Phrases

[Extra-Special Note from Jodi:  Thanks to all who voted for me in the 2009 Bloggies!  I was totally surprised and completely blown away that I won.  For my first official action as the Ms. Best Kept Secret 2009, I’d like to point you to Thursday Night Smackdown, who should have won, but who unfortunately didn’t have luck of having a brother named Fatty.]

Today I had everyone doing push-ups as I was wrapping up teaching a Muay Thai Kickboxing class.  In my class we have a two-year-old boy on the loose, who comes with his mother (who is quite a great kick boxer, I may add).  He runs around like a little banshee, climbs on things, taunts us, and makes my heart melt every time he leaves because he gives me the sweetest kiss and hug goodbye.  As I was doing my four-hundredth push-up (my blog, my creative license) the two-year old parked his bum in front of me and with his cherub grin, said, “You are a poo poo head.”  And then I think he started calling me a poo poo head in French.  This child can speak both French and English so he really could have been saying anything and I wouldn’t know because I’ve done my best to only (barely) grasp English like any good American. 

I remember the not-too-long-ago past when this phrase was key in Roan’s lexicon.  He’s now moved on to more colorful things with slightly higher naughty scores.  I guess I have to wonder what in the name of Sam Hell is up with these kids that they always end up with the same phrases? Why do all kids have the “Neener Neener Neener” triple-threat rolling off their tongues?  Where does that come from?  Or “Neh neh neh neh neh, you can’t catch me?” with it’s singsong rhythm that is exactly the same out of the four-year-old mouths in Los Angeles in 1971 as their counterparts in Brooklyn in 2009? 


These are all the familiar things that came out of my own mouth back in the day, and I’m not surprised they’re still rolling around now.  I have no idea how far back these exact same taunts go.  I have no idea how mischievous the first kid to utter them was.  I wonder why they’ve caught on and stayed exactly the same, and why they have remained as innate to children as pushing every limit that is imposed upon them.


Obviously with my superior child-whispering capabilities I told this little two-year-old that he’d better not call me poo poo head.  Shockingly, this just made him do it more.  Equally shocking, not only did he continue, but with more verve!  The next phrase to come out of his mouth was another blockbuster familiar phrase:  “You’re not the boss of me!”  What are the origins of that gem? Is it ok that I still use it on occasion?  And how does a bi-lingual two-year-old know about it?


These are not rhetorical questions.  I’m actually wondering this stuff.  This is why I win awards.  I’m not afraid to ask the big tough questions



10 responses to “Low Level Naughty Score Phrases

  1. Congratulations on the win!You forgot the one “I can do it by myself” and then the identical whine that comes from every child’s mouth when they say, “But Dad, I don’t wanna”. From mid-pitch, to low-pitch, back to mid-pitch, slow and stretched out. I’m convinced they’re born with these phrases and they grow in like baby teeth.

  2. ok i’ve never thought of this. how funny that these things are passed from generation to generation!love your blog. you deserved to win even if your brother wasn’t fatty!!

  3. Since I’m a psychology nerd right now, I thought I’d take a stab at this profound question. Jung would say that these phrases are part of our collective unconscious. We tap into the cultural field from which they originate, thus perpetuating and strengthening the lineage.IDK, I kinda think they hear it once on the playground and wham! it’s imprinted on their soft little cortices. Kids from time immemorial have been refining these phrases, evolving them if you will, to the point that they are insanely catchy (the sing-songy type are even more addicting). It would be interesting to do a study to see how these taunting phrases differ from culture to culture.Phin is in the “poo poo” everything stage. I tried the Nelson-Call approach of confining it to the bathroom. This didn’t work for the LaVail-Ahben child. So we stress that he can only say it around family, not school and friends. I didn’t want to distract him from the all-important potty-training cognitive focus. He is one of those stubborn dudes who resist things just for the sake of the empowering word “NO!” Any tips are appreciated.

  4. Manny – Love the baby teeth analogy. And you’re right – both of those phrases get a lot of play in my home.Carla – Thanks!LeLaLu – Lady you have always been smarter than me but dang (if you could say that with an exagerrated southern accent, it gets my point across better.) I DO think a study should be done on this. Fascinating stuff!!Now. Potty training. I wholly endorse bribes. Sticker charts, chocolate kisses, cheerios targets. Or just letting him do it when he wants. Maybe tell him he’s not allowed to? Maybe enlist his older brother to peer pressure him into it? Nothing wrong with brotherly bonding over the loo.

  5. thanks for the love. shucks.i believe the appropriate response to “you are a poo poo head” is “your FACE is a poo poo head.” no, it doesn’t make sense, but it is funny.

  6. Michelle -so I just wrote that on my palm in red sharpie marker so I can remember it when I come face to face with that little devil in Thursday’s class. Nice to know you’ve got my back.

  7. In my family I’ve tried to turn things around by asking my fiveyearold (who, by the way, would kill for your kid’s Appaman gear) “Who is the boss of you?!” on occasion (I think you can picture what kind of occasions). My plan was that he’d answer “You are, almighty mother”, but that rarely happens. Still, I keep at it. Mostly because I snitched it right from a Friends episode and always find it a thrill to see the Phoebe in my son…

  8. I’ll have you know that you have single handedly put to rest an ongoing argument that I have with my husband. He maintains that I am the last living person who enjoys Friends. Now it’s you and me, Anna Ander. Versus the world.

  9. “” neh neh neh, you can’t catch me?” with it’s singsong rhythm that is exactly the same out of the four-year-old mouths in Los Angeles in 1971 as their counterparts in Brooklyn in 2009? “”Never mind 1971, have a look at these gems from Shakespeares unpublished work in primary and middle school…”neh neh neh, thou cannotst catcheth me” – 1567″Thoust shalt not lord thyself over me.” – 1568And as the parent of a 14 year old, my personal favourite: “Nay, I shall not retreat to mine roometh.” – early 1579

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