Thursday, November 11, 2010

“Vocabulary Is Everything” or “The Rise of Semantics”

What a thrill it is when your child says his or her first word (especially when it’s “Mama,” like Alex eventually said.  Juli’s first word, of course, was NOT “Mama,” but was instead “Tiki” for kitty – not quite as thrilling…).  But it's incredibly cool when your kid starts talking.  No longer must they cry for everything they want.  For the next few years, you work at expanding your child’s vocabulary, refining and helping them communicate verbally.  Then comes the day that you realize exactly what you’ve done – you’ve created a little vocabulary monster who can argue her point with any one of a multitude of synonyms.  But by then it is too late.  Your child can now appreciate the subtlety of distinct words and knows how to wield these tools against your best efforts to correct her. 
Me: “Juli, why did you soak your brother with the hose?”  Juli: “I didn’t SOAK him, I just dampened him a bit.” 
Me:  “I thought I asked you two not to play in the mud today??”  Juli:  “Oh, we’re not playing, we’re WORKING with it.” 
Me: “Juli, stop pulling the cat’s tail!”  Juli: “I’m not PULLING it, I’m just keeping her here.” 
Me:  “Juli, please don’t hit your brother.”  Juli:  “I’m NOT hitting him, I’m just patting him firmly.” 
Me:  “Juli, watch out!  Don’t lift your brother off the bed, please!”  Juli:  “I’m not LIFTING him, I’m hugging him on the way down!” 
Me: “Oh, Juli, please don’t pour the sand out onto the ground.”  Juli:  “I’m not pouring it, I’m just SPRINKLING it a bit.” 
Me:  “Juli!  Why are you eating Alex’s cracker??”  Juli: “I’m not eating it!  I’m just TASTING it until it’s all gone!”  Me:  “Well, stop tasting it, then!”  Juli:  “Can I just sample it a bit?”             
Me: “Juli, are you bugging your brother?”  Juli: “No, I’m just loving on him and kissing him.” 
Me: “Juli, are you hogging the blocks?”  Juli: “No, no, I’m not hogging -- I'm just collecting them.” 

On the bright side, things are looking up for her to have a brilliant career in politics. 


  1. Hate to say it, but you may have a little lawyer in the making.

  2. "Juli, why are you hitting my knee?" "I wasn't hitting it, I was just pounding it..."

  3. "Just pounding it..." Where does she get these things?

  4. Probably from Neil and I, unfortunately... :-)