25 May 2011


'“I just wanted a multigrain bagel,” Professor Rosenthal said. “I refused to say ‘without butter or cheese’. When you go to Burger King, you don’t have to list the six things you don’t want. Linguistically, it’s stupid, and I’m a stickler for correct English.”' Article.

Honestly, I could see this sort of thing escalating easily with a number of my own children. It ended up with the cops coming in and ejecting the customer from the place. How about the people in Starbucks just give her a plain ol' bagel, and if she wanted something with it she could ask for it?

The other day we had a horrid fight in the doctor's office. Horrid. We were trying to pass the time and G's idea of a game is to think of a thing and we would get twenty questions to ask ("Is it an airplane?" and so on.) The odds of getting the "thing" are pretty slim, the universe being as vast as it is, but there you go.

Emperor guessed things like "freedom from sin" and "liberation," and G got doggone angry. It's a NOUN, G told him. You have to guess a NOUN.

Emperor said that "freedom" IS a noun, for it is an idea. G then accused me of teaching Emperor "all wrong in this homeschooling" and meanwhile, the lady behind the next curtain (we were getting a cast removed... eventually) started cussing about how much F'in pain she was in. I'm trying to ignore the cussing and the lady's family - I'm guessing the ol' bat was senile - are trying to discuss good language around children.

G is still going on about how he is getting "seriously pissed off" at Emperor's deliberately not guessing anything close to what he was hoping would make for a good game. Tears are welling up in Emperor's eyes. Awww.

Just tell him it's a CONCRETE NOUN, G, and he will understand. He doesn't understand just "noun." I don't know why, but when you ask him things like "guess a number," you must specify that it is a positive integer. Just trust me on this. He is not meaning to get you angry.

"I'm seriously pissed off," G is telling me. "You know, someday when he goes to *real school* all the kids are going to make fun of him."

I was not about to verbally agree with him then, but yeahh, you think? My schooling the child and teaching him that nouns can also be ideas is just wack. He needs some real school, that boy does.

But fool that I am, I'm trying to negotiate and redirect the conversation. Just guess a concrete noun, tiny Emperor, ok?

*sniff* Ok.


"See, G?" I asked.

"See what?"

He gets it now, I told him. G reiterates how *messed up* I have made my kid. Blehh.

Anyway... sometimes we just need to be tolerant of the language-y idiosyncracies of others. I hope this professor who just plain old wanted a multigrain bagel finds a place that understands. :)


  1. I remember this after sending my oldest to public school. He frequently let me know how I was messing up his younger brothers and how they were going to suffer for it. Now that he was all worldly wise, of course, he knew EVERYTHING. His Dad finally handled that for me. You might dig up a book on grammar and show G that you're not warping his brother, but that he might be missing something in his own education. :)

  2. Too funny. :)

    Our latest language excursions have involved 11 year old Buddy Boy exploring usage of slang. Some I allow, such as "You owe me a solid, Dad", while others skirt too close to profanity/abusive language, such as "Those guys just jacked me".


  3. We got a new word...snark-o-lepsy. It's when you answer every question with a smart-aleck remark. We didn't make it up, unfotunately.

    I used to tell Ben he was "too literal", and it appears Emperor is too, but in a brilliant way. I thought it was kind of funny, what he said. So innocent...

  4. I thought 'freedom from sin' was EXCELLENT....if anything, it shows that you *are* teaching that child things of REAL value!!

  5. Technical versus cultural, I guess. And I adore "freedom from sin." I will take that with my plain coffee...which folks seem to think means "sugar and cream" as opposed to "plain, as in black."

  6. Clearly my own education was lacking because I've never thought of "freedom" as a noun.

  7. I have a smart aleck in my house. I would turn the question around on him. If freedom not a noun, then what is it?

  8. What I also think is great about this story is, that you KNEW what he was thinking.

    Smart mama!


Non-troll comments always welcome! :)