In honour of Australia Day I am taking the easy way and posting a recycled blog. It does mention the national anthem though so I suppose I get points for that. 🙂
The Darndest Things
Watching kids acquire language is one of the most fascinating perks of parenting. It’s almost a rite of passage for mums and dads to regale family and friends with their little ones’ bon mots, malapropisms or just downright funny expressions. This week it’s my turn to share.
My children are both good talkers. Indiana spoke easily and well at the appropriate time designated by one or other of my trusty parenting books. She never had a lisp or other impediment, although she did go through a fairly normal period of stuttering when she was about three – the time when most kids’ thoughts seem to overtake their ability to express them.
Levi was a little more precocious. On his first birthday, as he coasted around the furniture, Levi clearly told everyone he was going, “sidewards, sidewards, sidewards”. His vocabulary quickly progressed to include ‘calamari’, ‘kangaroo’ and ‘Caloundra’. We were mightily impressed by our littlest chatterbox.
Levi is now in his first year of school and still has a fabulous vocabulary – his newest word is ‘sarcophagus’ – but he has maintained an endearing lisp, especially with the ‘j’ and ‘ch’ sounds. This has made for some frustrating moments. Last year, before he started ‘big’ school, he had two classmates called Zach and Jack. When Jack brought his football to school Levi ended up in tears after telling me about his day. “So,” I replied after listening patiently, “Zach brought his footy in?”
“Zack!” he said, annoyed.
“Yes sweetheart, I know, Zach. So he brought his footy in?”
“Not Zach, ZACK!” he screamed, hot tears of rage in his eyes. If you have ever watched the original TV series Get Smart you will probably be familiar with the, “Not The Craw! The Craw!!” episode. Well that’s exactly how it was for us – Levi sulked all the way home.
I tried to make it up to him by telling him about his little classmate who had approached me earlier in the day. This little fella wanted me to know what he had brought in for show and tell: “I bwought in my seep”.Completely mystified, I gingerly repeated, “Your seep? You brought in your seep?”
“No! My seep,” he attempted again. “Um,” I said, totally bewildered and searching for possibilities, “your sleep?”
The little guy got agitated, “My seep! My seep! It’s got wool on it!”
Ah, his sheep. I’m sure his own parents knew exactly what he was saying.
Most of us have a little inventory of funny things our kids have said, or tried to say. And surely, that most perplexing of songs – the national anthem – is ripe for malapropisms to make Kath and Kim proud. I busted Levi singing it in the back of the car last week. First line, no problem, “Australians all let us rejoice,” his clear little voice rang out, “For we are young and free.”
Levi continued, “With golden soil and world for us,” – he was already on a slippery slope – “My home is cursed by sea.”
Big sister Indiana just looked on in disdain and said, “It’s not ‘cursed’ you know”. I should have seized the moment and asked her exactly what the line was, but I missed my chance because she quickly added, “I always hated that song. It’s too long.” Lucky the National Pride police weren’t in the car next to us.
But I have to excuse Levi – not only because ‘girt’ is infamous for being an archaic word that most of us have trouble understanding – but also because he is a huge Harry Potter fan. Curses and spells are part of his vernacular. He has no problem with the word ‘expelliarmus’ – the Disarming Spell – which has a nice Latin ring to it, so I’m not particularly bothered that he doesn’t know the word ‘girt’.
Which leads me to this week’s best example of Levi’s linguistic locutions. As the kids were playing handball last Friday, Levi said to Indiana, “Hey, Indy, I know what we should call our rude parts”. Of course my ears pricked up immediately (not least of all because I don’t use the term ‘rude parts’). He continued cheekily, “I think we should call our rude parts, The Parts That Shall Not Be Named”.” I almost spat out my coffee in mirth.
Out of the mouths of babes indeed.
What are some of the funny things your kids have said? Do they become a part of your unique family vernacular?