Pollywog just asked me to put his favorite video game on the computer for him (due to his aforementioned love of bulls, that would be Extreme Pamplona, naturally). But he wanted to make sure the screen was maximized first: "Full-scream it, Mommy."

That bit of cuteness reminded me of how my kids still refer to "breakfast" as "brekstef" and talk about cutting paper with "snizzors", but it also made me think about the odd bits of vocabulary that have been handed down through my family over the last couple of generations -- words and sayings that we all take for granted, but which cause strangers to go "Huh?"

My maternal grandmother died before I was born, but by all accounts she was an affectionate, good-humored, and unapologetically quirky character. She was a Cornishwoman born and bred, and she passed down to her children and grandchildren not merely a patriotic love of Cornish pasties and Saffron Cake, but also an assortment of strange and wonderful sayings.

In my grandmother's household, minor acts of naughtiness among her children would be rebuked with phrases like, "Oh, you rotten rubber duck!" or if the incident were truly irritating (such as the cat getting into the milk), "You demon blackguard wretch!" On the other hand, someone who suffered a minor mishap or disappointment would be soothed with a pat on the shoulder and a softly intoned, "Nizzles." Or she might even say "Bless your screeds and gizzards." (I know what "gizzards" are, but what on earth are "screeds"?)

My grandmother also had the perfect description for the impulse that leads a finicky mother to clean off some smudge on her child's face by rubbing it with spit: she called it "clane base-tliness" (clean beastliness). And I can only blame my grandmother's influence for the poem I use when trying to remember the months of the year:

Thirty days hath Septober,
April, June, and no wonder.
All the rest have peanut butter,
Except for Grandma, and she rides a tricycle.

What about the rest of you? What unique words, phrases and/or sayings have been passed down in your family?
Highland Bull - Photograph by Brian Forbes My 3-year old son, whom I like to call Pollywog, is obsessed with bulls.

This is not some fleeting fancy, either. He's been completely bull-crazy for over a year now. Pictures of bulls, plastic bull toys, stories about bulls (and aside from the legendary The Story of Ferdinand, there really aren't too many), cartoons involving bulls (he must have watched "Bully for Bugs" and "Mickey's Rival" about a million times each on YouTube). He calls Cars "the movie with the bull combine". And although he seems to have mostly dropped the habit now, he used to crawl around butting people (gently) with his head and snorting whenever he got the chance.

This is not a hyper-aggressive kid we're talking about, either. For the most part he's gentle and sweet-tempered, amazingly empathetic for his age. But he's also the youngest of my three boys, the oldest of whom (at 8-going-on-12) is literally twice his size. Maybe, I think to myself, imagining himself as a big powerful bull makes him feel less small and vulnerable?

In any case, it's a charming little quirk of his and I don't mind indulging him in it, though I have drawn the line at taking him to Pamplona (I don't think he'd enjoy a real-life bull fight anyway, because the bull doesn't exactly win that battle).

So what I'm wondering is, aside from the aforementioned Ferdinand and Bugs Bunny cartoons, can any of you think of other child-friendly media involving bulls?
Bull photo is by Brian Forbes on Flickr and is used in accordance with his Creative Commons license.


Apr. 15th, 2008 12:29 pm
rj_anderson: (Fearfully & Wonderfully Made)
Okay, I am not normally in the habit of inflicting random videos of other people's moppets on people, but this is actually quite amazing. Check out this two-year-old girl -- only a couple of months older than my own toddler -- singing "The Lord's Prayer":

I'm particularly fond of the conducting near the end.
Just before bedtime tonight, I heard Simon say excitedly to his older brother:

"Let's play [The Lion,] the Witch and the Wardrobe. I'll be the Witch, and you be the Wardrobe."


Aug. 26th, 2003 09:05 am
rj_anderson: (Default)
I took a shower this morning, which doesn't sound like much but which is actually quite a feat of engineering when your husband is away, and your one-year-old has a dangerous tendency to open the shower curtain and get himself (and the floor around the tub) soaked.

Our house is pretty well childproofed, so when I have to shower without benefit of babysitting services, I leave the door open and put the baby gate across the doorway. That way I can peek out from behind the curtain every now and then, to reassure Simon that I'm still there and everything is fine. Unfortunately, while the theory may be sound, in practice it never works. No matter how many times I poke my head out or how cheerfully I say "Peekaboo!", Simon continues to cling to the gate while howling at the top of his small lungs, apparently convinced that Mommy is being eaten by the Shower Monsters and will never, ever come back.

Today, however, the shrieking only lasted a couple of minutes. I finished my shower wondering if Simon had finally grasped the concept of object permanence, and came out to find three-year-old Nicholas proudly awaiting me at the gate.

"I looked after the baby while you were in the shower," he said. "I wiped his nose 'cos he was crying, and I telled Simon not to worry because God was looking after him."

And indeed, he had. Simon was playing with blocks in the boys' bedroom, his face was clean and he appeared perfectly contented. So I praised Nicholas lavishly for being such a good big brother (especially since his usual relationship with Simon involves yelling "Mine!" and snatching toys out of the baby's hands) and finished my morning ablutions at leisure.

Hopefully this is a trend, because it would be really nice to shower whenever I want to. I knew there were challenges associated with motherhood, but I never guessed that something as simple as taking showers would be one of them...

Baby Dragons

Aug. 25th, 2003 10:04 am
rj_anderson: (Default)
A more substantial blog entry describing our (delightful) week at camp soon, but before I forget --

My fifteen month-old has a new trick. "Simon," I say to him, "are you a baby dragon?" and he gets this impish look on his face, opens his mouth wide and whispers "Haaaaaaaah!" like he's breathing fire.

It is, I must say (from an entirely unbiased perspective, of course), insanely cute.
Overheard in the past couple of weeks:

"I think we should put Simon up for auction on eBay, don't you, Nicholas? He's still cute, you never know what we might get..."


"You know, Nicholas, we had other little boys before you and Simon came along. But they're not here anymore, because we cooked them and ate them."*

Apparently, I married Calvin's dad. "MOMMMMMMMM!!!"
*Don't worry, he did explain to Nicholas that he was only joking. Eventually. But I don't think Nicholas fully understood or believed him in either case; if he had he no doubt would have been upset, but as it was he only giggled.

(no subject)

Jul. 9th, 2003 05:05 pm
rj_anderson: (Default)
Simon took his first unaided steps today -- walked clear across the room to me. At first he looked puzzled as to why I was clapping and cheering, but then he seemed to realize he'd accomplished something and broke out into a big six-toothed smile.

I am now the parent of Yet Another Toddler...
Here, more or less verbatim, is the text of Nicholas's first sermon, which he delivered to his grandparents and myself after sternly commanding us to sit down and listen while he "preached":

"On the first day, God created the aminals, and the juice, and all the yummy food. And then... there were people... and they turned... into a pumpkin."

I'm not sure what translation he's reading -- sounds more like a paraphrase to me.

(no subject)

Mar. 27th, 2003 10:49 pm
rj_anderson: (Default)
Oh! I remember one thing I was going to do that doesn't require much brainpower -- make a note of some of Nicholas's cute mispronunciations. Because I know he's going to grow out of them and then I'll forget. Here are the most common ones:

"Mommy, I want some breksef."
"Make Simon stop! He's playing with my trachster!"

And then there's his way of saying "I'm not" -- it isn't quite "I ain't", it's "I ant". Then there's "aminal crackers" and "chip-choc cookies".

I know there are more, but recalling them would necessitate actual thought and I'm not up to it.
Nicholas's verdict on our new reclining sofa and matching rocker-recliner:

"Don't wike it! Take it back!"

The old sofa and loveseat, you see, had nice soft foam cushions he could pull off and make a tower out of, and the new furniture doesn't. Never mind that the old set were garage-sale purchases with no decent back or seat support, whereas the new ones are gorgeous (hunter green with a faux-suede finish) and comfortable to sit on... if the cushions don't come off, it's no good, as far as Nicholas is concerned.

Oh, well. He'll get over it. I think.


rj_anderson: (Default)

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