Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What Are Your Kids' Favorite Words?

Last night, my son looked at me and asked me what my favorite words were. I told him I didn't know even though I totally do know. I just can't say them in front of him. Once in really bad traffic, I said all of my favorite words and then the kids told their father because they're a bunch of damn tattle-tales. They're lucky that they're so cute and that I love them because that's not even cool.

And then of course, last week Mini dropped the F-bomb and I got in trouble. But whatever - moving on.

So I asked my son to tell me his favorite words and he got very excited and said:
  • Kerfluffle
  • Flicket (not actually a word but whatever)
  • Pie
This is funny to me because - kerfluffle? That's awesome. It means "disturbance or fuss". IT IS PERFECT. Flicket may not be a word but when he was describing it to me he made a motion with his fingers like he was flicking a booger across the room and I was like "YUP, that works. It can stay."

And pie. In any given conversation that my two older kids have, the following three words will be spoken: "I like pie." They'll just walk into a room and start saying that to each other. They'll have a whole conversation that is comprised of only that sentence, over and over again.

I have no idea. They're a bunch of weirdos.

Then I asked Mini. She was like "Oh. Dat's so easy." and then said:
  • Poo
  • Pee
  • Clean
Does anyone else see some dissonance in this selection of words? Yes. I thought so. Mini found the whole thing hilarious and watched my reaction with a sardonic expression on her chubby face, with one small brow raised. She then smirked and walked away, as if to tell me - You wondered if I understood the irony. You are an idiot, Mommy.

So then I asked Thumbelina. She said:
  • Unicorn
  • Fluffernutter
  • Great Scott! (also not a word but for the purposes of this conversation an exclamation will suffice)
I have to say, these words are so perfect for her. On the one hand she remains (at nine years old), as sweet and sprinkled in fairy dust as ever. But she has also developed a certain mad scientist quality to her.

She enjoys doing advanced math. She creates potions that we are not allowed to touch, even when (especially when) they begin to turn rancid or grow mold.

And fluffernutter? It can be used as an expletive, as an affectionate nickname, or to describe a somewhat disgusting sandwich that Elvis might have enjoyed. It's versatile and awesome. So honestly, these three words describe her perfectly.

Then I decided to tell them my favorite words (that are OK to share with small people):
  • Pants
  • Sleeping
  • Home
Working backwards, "home" is my favorite because it's where ever they are. It's the place I most want to be. I also really love the word "sleeping" because I haven't consistently done it in about ten years and also it means that when the small people in my house are doing it, I can finally sit down for a few minutes.

You already know that I think "pants" is the funniest word in the entire world. I explained to my kids that the word "pants" is so powerful that you can combine it with other words and make them better. I gave a couple of examples:
  • Kitten becomes kittenpants.
  • Pudding becomes puddingpants.
  • Turd becomes turdpants.
Then Thumbelina was like: "Yes. But you can also do that with the word "britches" and I really think that makes all those words way funnier." Then she said: "KITTEN-BRITCHES. Pudding-britches. Turd-britches. Do you see what I'm saying? You should have called your Babble thing - 'Rants in my Britches'. Now THAT would have been funny."

I told you that kid was a mad genius. She's so right.

The the Cap's chimed in with:
  • Jib
  • Haberdasher
  • Flibbertyjibbet
The children stared at him as if he was speaking total nonsense. Then they burst out laughing. Of course we all know that these words are perfect for him because no one who is not a curmudgeonly septuagenarian grandpa would ever even think about saying them out loud. And yet, they are the Cap's favorites.

This small adventure reminded me of all of the words the kids used to say when they were very small. And how they captured perfectly who they were, at that moment of being little. My son at about age 3 would scream the word "PORKCHITTER!!!" as his battle cry. And four years later, we had totally forgotten about that. I mean - how you can forget a preschooler creating the world's perfect non-nonsensical, all-purpose curse word? I need to reincorporate that word into my vocabulary immediately.

It's important to remember this stuff, I think. To keep track of it somewhere. I take their pictures constantly, trying to capture images that represent who they are and what our lives are like. But I never kept up with their baby books and the only place I write down the awesome things they say is here. And really - "here" is for me and for other mommies, not for them. But I want them to be able to remember later in their lives that even though I sometimes yelled at them or sent them to bed early or said "no" more than "yes", that we were often a happy family. A family of fluffernutters.

I hope they will remember that, and not just the parts where we all yelled "porkchitter".
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

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