Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm One in A-Millions!

A favorite aspect of motherhood is my observations of children learning to speak, read, and write. It is particularly fascinating when kids use words incorrectly or when they substitute a word known to them in place of one that is not familiar. I especially love to hear a word spoken with such decisiveness that leaves little doubt in your mind that a child is positive they have utilized the word correctly. For example, the other day grandma promised to treat the kids to ice cream. After picking them up from school I asked the children whether they wanted to eat at Cold Stone Creamery or Baskin Robbin's to which Darby succinctly replied "I'd like to go to Baskin Robbers!" I had already pulled into the former so I said that we'd "hit Baskin Robbers another time."

Although new readers find much excitement at the freedom that reading provides, children often feel they immediately become an authority on what they are reading. If a word is pronounced incorrectly my children especially remind me of rules they learned in school regarding phonics and what particular letters are supposed to say. Because of their confidence they are easily convinced of what they just saw and read they don't question that they could be mistaken. Eventually this often leads to much persuasion to redirect their thoughts on phonics and what letters can also say.
On this note, for example, there have been a few times we'd drive down the main thoroughfare through town undecided about what we might like to eat for dinner and Darby kept saying "Let's try Grand Beef! Lets try Grand Beef!" For the life of me I never spotted a sign, or have never heard of a place called, Grand Beef. And I couldn't believe there might indeed be a venue with the name "Grand Beef." Since my little first grader is reading pretty well she was confident that beef was spelt b-u-f-f-e-t, hence "Grand Buffet" became "Grand Beef," and no, we've never eaten there. I just can't bring myself to accommodate that request. (Next time I drive by I will insert a picture here.)

Austin too has special phrases that have developed over the years. What was once coffee cake is now Fafe cake after Great Grandfather Fafe. San Francisco came out San Fransicko when we were living there and he was two. Austins nickname is Darby's creation of the inability to pronounce Austin when she was just learning to speak so "Hottie" is the name of choice which she has now shortened to Hot.
"Darbydoll" was Austin's creation for Darby when she was about one month old. There was an instance where a friend of his brought Barbie dolls to church and he politely asked her about which "Darbydoll" was her favorite. Then and there Darbydoll's nickname was born.

I love it when little kids strike up a conversation with you while you are awaiting your own children. Depending on their age, especially the younger ones, you can't really decipher the language they employ but they are so happy to share their stories with you, you can't help but smile and nod and agree and respond back to the little buggers.

Another delightful example, and perhaps my favorite, is a new friend of Darby's who lives across the street. She came over to play at our home last week. I've asked all of my children's friends to address me as Miss Amelia and since living in the south for most of my life I am accustomed to the semi-formal title. I prefer that title rather than the more formal Mrs. So and So (plus it's typically easier to say than my actual last name which is void of any vowels save one). Anyway, she heard "A-millions." Obviously a phrase that was more familiar to her so I am now Miss A-millions! LOVE IT!!!

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