The kids hop off the bus and come running to get in the car. They are full of excitement as they climb in and start buckling up. While they are bursting with energy and non-stop jabbering about their day, I smile and say, "So, it was a good day then?"
Natalie says, "Yes. Well, except when the bus driver told Carter that he was a Potty Mouth and the words he was using belonged in the toilet."
Completely confused, I said, "Huh? Carter, what on earth did you say on the bus?"
Carter immediately shrunk down in his seat. He covered his face with a book from his backpack and tears started falling down his cheeks. "I didn't say anything. I mean, I don't want to talk about it. Please don't tell Daddy!"
"What did you say?!"
"I don't want to say it out loud. I really, really don't... I guess I'll just spell it... S. H. I. T..."
"Where on earth did you hear THAT word? And why, oh why, did you say it on the bus loud enough for the bus driver to hear?!"
"I didn't mean to! I mean, I meant to, but I was just so frustrated because the other boys wouldn't let me see the toy they had. They are in third grade and they weren't listening to me! They were just tossing it back and forth and yelling and they wouldn't listen - so I had to, I just HAD to say something to get their attention, Mommy!"
"Well, I'll bet that got their attention, huh? That word is offensive to people. It is not allowed on the bus, at school, at our house, or anywhere else you ever go. When people are being mean and not listening you have to talk to the adult who is there or just let it go. Sometimes if you just ignore them they'll see they aren't making you mad and they'll just stop. Tomorrow I want you to say you're sorry to the bus driver for using a bad word, okay Buddy?"
Wiping the tears off his cheeks, his eyes meet mine in the rear view mirror and he quietly says, "Okay, I will. And I promise, I will never, ever, say 'shut up' again!"
"Wait. 'Shut up' is the bad word you said?"
"Yes, but I said I'm really sorry."
"Thanks, buddy...and when we get home, we need to work on some spelling."