I receive the third degree

I have two nieces, one seven years old and one ten. Last night, my sister and her husband wanted to go to a concert, so I baby-sat.

Everything was chugging along normally--I was reading in the kitchen--when the younger niece trundled down from upstairs with a copy of Trang in her hands.

NIECE: Who's Mary Sisson? [We're all named Mary, so at home I go by a family nickname.]

ME: That's me.

NIECE: Why is your name on this book?

ME: I wrote it.

NIECE: Do you think it's a good book?

ME: I wrote that book.

NIECE: Why does a curse appear [older niece joins in from the next room] just a few paragraphs into the book!

Le sigh. I went with the younger niece into the next room and explained to both children that a curse word appears on the first page because the soldiers curse a lot, and I wanted people who were bothered by cursing to know what they were getting into sooner rather than later. The older niece is just generally less prudish than the younger, so we spent a few fun-filled minutes imitating people who throw books across the room, shrieking, whenever they encounter a bad word.

I went back to the kitchen and my reading--and the younger niece joined me, opening Trang up on the kitchen table.

NIECE: I can see that bad word right there.

ME: That book is not for kids!

NIECE: Then why is it in the house?

ME: Because I wanted my sister to read it, and she isn't a kid!

NIECE: [Shuts book.] I know that bad word. I know five bad words.

I changed the subject, but when my sister got home she assured me that, had I asked, the niece would have been happy to share those five words with me....