Magnetic Letter P0rn and My Biggest Parenting Fail

parenting fail

Editor’s note: I wrote this when my son Joshua was almost four, and now he’s almost FOURTEEN! So, that’s right, this happened TEN years ago. And since he’s almost 14, I probably shouldn’t be re-posting this. So, um…don’t tell him, okay? Thanks. 🙂 


My son Joshua is almost four and his intelligence astounds me every day (’cause you know, my husband Bobby and I are a couple of dummies). He’s known all his letters since before he was two, partially because we have a magnetic bathroom wall. Yesssss, the tiles on our bathroom wall are made of metal. I’m not sure what era this is from exactly but it’s both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Yay! Anyhoo, a couple of years ago we got a slew of magnetic alphabet letters for the bathroom wall to entertain educate him while I was in the shower. Recently, thanks to his super-genius and the PBS Kids show Word World, Joshua has begun spelling actual words with said letters, without even asking me how they are spelled! Yesterday when I got out of the shower, he said, “Look Mom, I’m going to spell the word bug.” He then proceeded to find the b,u, and g and put them in the correct order. I was amazed and of course rewarded him with MUCH praise. Then, he asked me how to spell the word “corn.” I helped him sound it out, he spelled it with the letters, and I cheered again. Yay genius boy!

parenting fail

Fast forward to that evening at bedtime. Bobby and Joshua are in the bathroom preparing to brush Joshua’s teeth, and I am in the bedroom putting my PJs on. All of a sudden I hear Bobby calling me so I run to the bathroom. There I see that Joshua has made a new word. I won’t write it here because I don’t want my blog traffic to get perved up, but let’s just say he took the c off of corn and replaced it with a p. “Mommy look!” he cried. “I made p0rn!”

Bobby was already cracking up, and I just collapsed on the floor laughing. Parenting FAIL, anyone?? Joshua was veeeeery pleased that he had made us laugh and started giggling too. “I made p0rn!” he exclaimed again proudly. (OF COURSE, he has no idea what that means, or that it’s even a real word. He just knows phonics!) I was laughing so hard I was crying. “What are we gonna do?” I asked Bobby, who was no better off than I was. “I don’t know!” he said. He was cracking up so badly I thought he was going to have an asthma attack. Joshua noticed that we were slightly distracted from his spelling efforts, so he took the p away from the orn and said, “Mommy, now I’m gonna build the word p0rn and you’re gonna laugh.” So off I went again, rolling on the floor laughing so hard my stomach hurt. I thought I might be able to distract him with other words. “You can make other words that rhyme with corn, honey. Like worn or born.”

“Or p0rn!” he exclaimed.

(More uncontrollable laughter from his mature, twelve thirty-year-old parents.)

“Forget it,” said Bobby, “I’m just gonna hide all the p’s. ”

“Stupid Word World. Teaching my kid phonics!” I grumbled.

Somehow we all got calmed down, Joshua’s teeth got brushed, and we all went to bed. Bobby and I giggled about Joshua’s new word a while longer, and Bobby took all the p’s off the wall and hid them! Joshua hasn’t mentioned it today at all, but I’m preeeety sure he’s going to remember just in time to tell the babysitter or anyone and everyone at church this weekend that he “made p0rn”. And then, we will really have some ‘splaining to do!

So, stay tuned for that.

Parenting fail, indeed.



*Now that he’s older we have of course talked to him about what p0rn is and why it’s bad! I suggest you read this article and do the same!

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Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor. You can find her at her blog, Mommin' It Up, or follow her on Twitter.