Swag: or how I discovered I am old, and I sound old, too.
Primo used the word "swag" for the first time a few months ago.
"Honey," I said, with terrific condescension, "the word is schwag. And you're not using it correctly. It means free promotional stuff."
"No, Mom, it's swag," he replied, "And it means cool."
I looked at my nine year-old and had to smile. He thought he was so grown-up but sometimes, he was totally unfamiliar with the most basic of terms.
A few weeks later, Primo used the word again.
"I know you THINK that means cool, and really, it sounds like it would, but it just doesn't mean that," I said.
"Mom," he laughed, "it totally does."
And so it went on. All summer, he said, "This is so swag!" and I'd smile my little patronizing smile and shake my head.
Then, I took him shopping for a new T-shirt to wear to the first day of school. Lining the walls were a rainbow-array of T shirts with band logos and movie logos and pop culture references. There war no less than a dozen "Domo" T shirts and I had to ask, "Who is this Domo they speak of?" Primo said I wasn't missing much.
And then I saw a T-shirt which said, "Swag!" which featured aforementioned Domo with a hoodie half-zipped and aviator glasses. No matter what manner of man or beast this "Domo" was, it was clear that in his current iteration, he was meant to look cool. At first, I thought, What a coup! My nine year-old son has invented a slang word and it's taken off like gangbusters, enough that T-shirts featuring his invented vocabulary are being mass produced.
Then I realized the explanation was a lot simpler. I was just an idiot.
It's the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life as a mother. My son's surpassed me . . . at least in terms of slang.
Swag on, baby (yeah, I know that's probably not how you use it).
Nicole is a parenting writer who contributes essays and articles for magazines like Parenting, Parents, American Baby and Babble. She lives in Brooklyn with three children, one husband and a morbidly obese goldfish.