"I'm allowed to say four bad words."
"Hmmm...I don't think so."
"Yes! I'm allowed to say shoot, darn, darn it and frigging."
"Well, I really don't want you to say any bad words at all."
"But I can say darn it, right?"
"I don't think so, B boy. It's not very nice."
"But you said I could say darn it."
"I don't remember ever saying that. I'd rather you didn't say it, to be honest."
"Okay, but I can say frigging, then."
"Really, Benjamin, it's best if you don't use any of those words. They don't sound good, and it's just not very polite use of language. Especially coming from a 7 year old."
"But I am allowed to say shoot."
[The resigned silence of a mother being worn down]
"Mamma! I'm allowed to say shoot, right?"
"All right, then, I guess you can say shoot."
[His overly enthusiastic reaction jolts me out of my weary mommy state and I scramble into damage control mode:]
"But only in an emergency! Not all the time."
[In an emergency?! Geez...now even Benjamin realizes I am floundering:]
"Don't worry, Mamma, I won't, because shoot really means another word, right?"
"Ummm...some people use it instead of another word, I guess."
"It really means S-I-T, right?"
[A-ha! Spelling lesson opportunity here - I'll be a great mother yet:]
"Nooooo....it doesn't mean S-I-T, B boy. It means shoot. Besides, what does S-I-T spell?"
"Oh yeah, SIT. But shoot means 'sh' and 'ee' and 't', right?"
[OK, this conversation is not going anywhere good. Let's be firm and end this now:]
"Yes, I suppose that's what some people think it means. But you are NOT allowed to use that word. End of story!"
[Silence. I did it!]
"I know! That's why I said 'sh-ee-t'!"
[Did my boy just say shit to me?]