Monday, May 10, 2010


I love it when kids use words incorrectly. Like they've heard of these words, and are trying to use them in everyday conversation, but then kind of miss the mark. I use words like inexplicably and fathom and vacillate and then watch their faces squint as their little brains battle between processing what it must mean, and just giving up and asking. And then I laugh (inwardly, mostly) when they try to use it later.

Also humorous is when they just pronounce things wrong. Like Donovan trying to say "protect." But it comes out something like, "I'll walk you and Gemma to school to pick up the kids so I can furtect you from the bad guys." First, furtect? Not to mention second and third that there are not bad guys in my suburban neighborhood in the bushes mid-day waiting to assault me (not to mention that there aren't really bushes), and that he poses it like he'll come with us just to fulfill a duty, rather than I won't leave him home by himself. But whatever, he feels awesome. If he asks, I let him bring his sword. Because what is more awesome than a 5 year old in camo shorts, robot shirt and flip-flops, face clenched in aggressive determination, sprinting down the sidewalk with a giant plastic sword raised in his charge? Nothing.

But my favorite language mishap with Donovan right now is how he has managed substitute the word "absolutely" in place of "accidentally." I love this, because it totally alters the tone of the sentence from one of trying to avoid blame to taking full and complete ownership of something. Try it.

I absolutely broke the head off the mermaid.
I absolutely ate all the candy.
I absolutely ran that red light.

And he says it in the penitent face that would accompany "accidentally" but when he's saying it with "absolutely" it's like the unspoken statement is "I am who I am. What more could you expect?"

I absolutely forgot to clean my room. That was his statement today. Yep, you totally did. And I absolutely fell asleep reading my book this afternoon. Absolutely.

Gemma is having her own word breakthroughs as well. Remember last month how I shared the story about our numerous attempts to get her to say her own name? (nutshell: she wouldn't) We've tried for MONTHS. So picture this: last week Donovan and I are sitting in my bedroom, working very hard to find all the pieces of the artifact for the latest level on the Lego Indiana Jones Wii game. We're mid-level when Gemma walks into the room, stands there, and says, "CHEMMA!" then pauses, turns and begins to walk out of the room. Dono and I were stunned. I blinked, then quickly paused the game, trying to recapture what I had just heard. "Did you say Gemma?" I asked. She turned slowly, her eyes leading her in a way that tells me she knew EXACTLY what she was doing. A little grin spread across her face. "CHEMMA!" she yells again. Dono and I cackled and clapped, and when you cackle and clap at Gemma, she cackles and claps and jumps, very pleased with herself. We ran around the house trying to find Ainsleigh and Joel and had Gemma repeat herself. It was like she could do it all along, just wanted to do it on HER TERMS. But I shouldn't be surprised - that's how she rolls.

Gemma absolutely said her own name. And by absolutely I mean absolutely. And now I will absolutely scoop up a little too much chocolate ice cream (delicious tip: sprinkle on some Mexican cocoa and thank me later). And by absolutely I mean accidentally.


Lisa said...

Oh man, that Gemma story CRACKS ME UP. She is such a redhead, isn't she? And that's why your family is so entertaining :)

I'm absolutely going to have a brownie now.

laura said...

Yep, G and I are two peas in a pod. You should know better than to try to coerce her into doing something before she's good and ready...

Also, speaking of things you should absolutely put on your ice cream, my roommate bough this stuff called Abuelita that's a Mexican chocolate SAUCE. It's like heaven in a bottle.

Shira said...

Oh just LOVE this whole post. Love!!!