I don’t know if you can tell this about me, but I’m sort of a snob about words. I’m very careful about using the right one, and even more careful about not using the right one wrongly. I’ve always been a little weird about that.
But recently I guess I’ve started realizing just how weird that actually is. Here are just a couple of recent examples.
The other night my daughter was fighting sleep. She told me she was not tired. She said she could not fall asleep. In fact, Mommy, she wasn’t going to ever sleep because she was exhausted.
“So wait, you are tired?” I asked.
“No! I am not sleepy. I’m exhausted.”
“But, love, exhausted means tired. It actually means very tired.”
“No, it doesn’t.”
“Yes, it does.”
“No, it means not tired.”
“I know what it means and it means very tired.”
“No, it doesn’t. I’m not tired. I’m exhausted.”
“You keep using that word; I do not think it means what you think it means.”
“[blank stare; giant yawn]”
“Look. You can’t even pronounce it correctly. You don’t even know how to use ‘him’ and ‘her’ properly. You think your armpits are called tickle boxes. I’m right. You are so, so wrong. Now get your finger out of your nose and go to sleep.”
You guys, I got into an argument over the definition of a word with a three-year-old.
My son is pretty well-spoken, even if he still has that nine-year-old lisp. Just last night he said this exact sentence: “People’s first impression of you, Mom, is, BOOM. She’s humorous.” (He’s not only well-spoken but SUPREMELY intuitive.)
So I was floored – FLOORED – when I told him to brush his teeth before bed and he looked at me and said, “I done did it already.”
So he repeated himself, carefully, as if he couldn’t quite remember the TERRIBLE sentence he had just spoken.
“We. Do. Not. Speak. Like. That.” My teeth were clenched. I had to remind myself to breathe in through the nose, out through the mouth. I think we can all guess how well I’m going to react if I ever catch my son doing something actually bad.
And every now and then the little stinker will use “ain’t” on purpose, usually right after using “isn’t” and before remembering the best way to kill me softly.
Parenting: SO not for the fainthearted or grammar-sensitive.
4 responses to “Killing Me Softly With Their Words”
My mom’s an English teacher, too.
So she had it rough. Or you did.