It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Vocabulary Confusion

Conversation between me and small son, then age two and a half. It is January. I am in the basement, using a palm sander.

“What’s dat, mummy?”
“It’s a palm sander.”
“Dat’s your pom-pom sander?”
I stop the machine. I discern a Teachable Moment, and I can’t let that go by. Besides, this is funny. First, let’s clarify the source of confusion. We need to Define Our Terms.

“What’s your palm, Adam?”

“It’s what goes onna top of my hat!”

Yes, it is as I thought. Confounded by a homonym. I turn his dimpled hand over, show him his palm. “This is your palm, sweetie.”

“Dis is my palm?”

“Yes, yes that’s right. It’s your palm.” Very carefully enunciated, very encouraging. Then I take his other pudgy hand and turn it palm-up.

“So what’s this, then?”

He considers both hands very carefully, and looks up.

“Dis is my hat???”

August 25, 2005 - Posted by | my kids, the things they say!


  1. Reminds me of a game I played with my kids when they were a little younger. I would take one of their toys and ask them what it was. Then I would say, “You mean it’s a hat?!!” Then I would put it on my head and waddle around, while they laughed and protested, vehemently. I think the younger one learned the names of some of her toys that way.

    Comment by snaars | August 25, 2005 | Reply

  2. LOL!!

    Comment by LoryKC | August 25, 2005 | Reply

  3. Lots of room for goofiness in parenting. One of the things I love about it!

    Comment by Mary P. | August 25, 2005 | Reply

  4. I love kid logic. Love it!

    I useta ask my kids to say stuff all the time..if I can find a lil kid now even I’ll quiz ’em…I just love how they think. Very sweet story!

    Comment by kimmyk | August 25, 2005 | Reply

  5. I laughed aloud when I read this one, and then had to read it to Grampa. He and I had a good chuckle over the amusing toddler logic of my little bro.

    Comment by Haley | August 25, 2005 | Reply

  6. It’s so nice to see that you see teachable moments and teach them the right things.

    I, on the other hand, will be very tempted to mess with their little minds.

    I get it from my mom. As a kid, we had signs near our house along the road that read, “Watch for Falling Rock.” My mother told me that “Falling Rock” was an Indian who died along that stretch and I was supposed to keep my eyes out for his ghost. I ate the whole story up and believed it with all my heart. Until I told the story to my best friends mom as we were driving by. She had to pull over she was laughing so hard.

    Comment by Matthew | August 26, 2005 | Reply

  7. Haley: glad you enjoyed it. I stumbled over a journal I kept for about three weeks back then, and found that litte nugget, which I would never have remembered otherwise! So cute!!

    Matthew: Oh, I play with their tiny minds, too. I do it more the older I get.

    I love that story! “Watch for Falling Rock”. What parent could resist? Or maybe she did it out of concern for you. Maybe she was just being kind – real rocks squashing cars are maybe scarier than benficient ghosts.

    Nah. She was playing with your mind. And so creatively, too! And see how much fun your friend’s mom had from it? What a great game this is for grown-ups!

    Comment by Mary P. | August 26, 2005 | Reply

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