Game Over

Girl stands next to the kitchen table, her Tales of Famous Americans book open next to her, and grins widely as she reads aloud, “Martin Luther King loved learning new words. M.L. exclaimed, ‘When I grow up, I’m going to get me some big words.’”

While Girl gets a kick out of this statement, Niblet isn’t so sure. Wondering, he asks, “What does that mean?”

Clicking my brain to The Mommy Channel, I explain, “Basically, it means Martin Luther King understood that having a good vocabulary and knowing when and how to use words could help him out in life. If you know smart words and aren’t afraid of them, it’s kind of like, um, if you’re playing a video game, and your character runs across a brick of gold, and then his power meter gets a boost of 100 points.”

Sensing that he might be watching a show called “Mommy Bullsh**” on The Mommy Channel, Niblet gives me his patented, “Yea, wwwwight.”

“No, really, Paco. If you have good words as your weapons, it’s like your character gets seven extra lives.”

Not even pretending to buy my “aimed-at-the-six-year-old” explanation, Niblet gives me the stink eye.

In return, I concede, “Okay, no more dumb video game analogies. The point really is just that language can give you power. In your life, if you can learn and know lots of words, you’ll have an advantage. Like, if you know the word ‘verisimilitude’ instead of ‘truth,’ you could change your life. You could write something or say something that people will remember forever. Or you could get a really cool job and travel to amazing places if you have strong words propelling you. There’s no end to what you can do if you take words and make them work for you. For example, if people are ever mean to you, you can use language to settle the score. Language is better than a sword!”

Incredulous at such logic, when clearly nothing could ever be more awesome and badical than a sword, Niblet rolls, “Yea, wwwwight, Mom. Like ‘verismachiepoop’ is a word people use. Verisasupercalliemapooper!”

With this, he turns his attention out the window to the roofers balancing atop our garage, scraping away the slush as they use a nail gun to attach new shingles.

“I like those guys,” he says. “They’re doing the job without words.”

True, dat–imatudiepooper.





19 responses to “Game Over”

  1. Jazz Avatar

    Um… 1-0 for Paco!

    Childhood logic is incontrovertible. Big word, dunno if it applies…

  2. heartinsanfrancisco Avatar

    The trouble with The Mommy Channel is that it’s full of commercials.

    What better word does a body need than anything ending in “pooper?”

    When I grow up, I’m going to get me some wadical swords.

  3. Green Girl in Wisconsin Avatar
    Green Girl in Wisconsin

    I do like your analogy though.

  4. Pearl Avatar

    Changing a word by ending it with “pooper” gets that boy big points — big wordie points — with me.
    We have/had similar teaching styles, you and I. My Boy is now 24 — not that he doesn’t continue to end words with the suffix “poop” — and is a big fan of words.
    He also said, “yeah, wight”. 🙂

  5. citizen of the world Avatar
    citizen of the world

    One of my kids favorites with each other is to just call the other one by their name with the suffix “-fart” attached.

  6. Jeni Avatar

    I always used bigger words with my kids any chance I got. If they didn’t know the meaning or couldn’t get derive the meaning from the base conversation going on, they knew I had another rule too -look it up in the dictionary! Of course, they were generally older than kindergarten level when the “look it up” deal became a rule, but still, they learned vocabulary by both methods. They didn’t always like that but ask ’em about it today and they’ll tell you it helped them -eventually. Of course, they also learned a lot of my slang words that way too -another side benefit, perhaps? Or, maybe not too since a lot of my slang had to do with names/words not always used in mixed company.

  7. lime Avatar

    hhmm….i recently played this video game with my own son only in the the “merits of foreign language study” version. moving through the levels in that version isn’t much easier.

    verishamillicaca indeed.

  8. kmkat Avatar

    This reminds me of when we were on a flight to somewhere, and DH was explaining to #1 son, aged about 2 or 3, that the lights on the ground were cars and houses and that the strings of moving lights were highways and the clusters of lights were towns and blah blah blah. Son nodded and listened politely through the whole thing, then looked out the window and offered his summation: “Dark outside!”

  9. jess Avatar

    I think I love wee Niblet.

  10. flutter Avatar

    Dude. your kid.

  11. monica Avatar

    kids are the best. I remember coming home from work one afternoon many years ago, just had confirmed my second pregnancy, and my husband had told the coming big brother of this event, and he came running towards me, age 4, with hysterical joy:” you have a baby in your tummy!!” and after 2 seconds of disappointment of the fact that my tummy wasn’t huge already like a balloon, he asked
    ” how did it get in there – dad says to ask you!!” a bit overwhelmed, still my coat on thinking fast how to explain this miracle of life, I just said ” dad put it in there”, expecting demands of more specific details.. he just said “OK!!” and ran off…
    ah, simplicity… :o) later he claimed he would prefer a big sister, and she should be named Ruth… hm… :o)

  12. chelle Avatar

    hrrmm he makes a good point although I would have so bought your analogies!

  13. the cubicle's backporch Avatar
    the cubicle’s backporch

    Man, kids these days have it all… WE didn’t have the Mommy channel on Mommy Bullsh** growing up! 🙂

  14. Kylie w Warszawie Avatar
    Kylie w Warszawie

    So he’s a very short man then.

    No need for words, we’ll just do man work. *GRUNT GRUNT*

    My husband is WAY more verbose than I. When I write blog posts they have to just about fit in the window on the computer or I get bored reading them.

    He can write for days. And have hour long conversations with his brother on the phone.

    My sister and I only talk when we have to say something to each other. Not that we don’t like each other. We’re just not the wordy types.

  15. furiousBall Avatar

    i am currently registering

  16. Lone Grey Squirrel Avatar
    Lone Grey Squirrel

    Don’t worry males don’t like to use words as much as females and are slower starters too. Besides, inventing your own words is fun.

  17. SQT Avatar

    Well, you tried to get him into the whole words and reading thing. Wwwight.

  18. geewits Avatar

    A strange tangent here, but just yesterday I was thinking that the reason men hit women is because they do not possess the word power to express themselves. They can’t say, “I feel hurt and frustrated when you laugh at my mistakes in front of your friends.” It comes out, “Why are you such a bitch?!?”

    My first husband had one “big” word (meander) and he used it about 18 times in every argument and it was hard for me not to burst out laughing. (I guess that means my thoughts were meandering from the conversation.)

    I loved the title of your previous post. Has that happened to everyone? Except I threw my beer in her face when she burned my arm. Oh to be 18 again.

  19. Prefers Her Fantasy Life Avatar
    Prefers Her Fantasy Life

    Yes, your child’s observation IS rather Buddhist-like.

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