28 March 2013

Words With Kids

So, Lego has this thing where you buy a small package with a minifigure, only you don’t know what’s inside until you open it. In the Lego catalog, you can see a collage of potential minifigures you might find in this mystery package, a pretty random assortment of characters such as Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde, a mermaid, a knight, an alien, a man in a chicken costume.

Perhaps most intriguing (to us) is a mustachioed man holding a tray and what appears to be a bottle of wine. He is maybe just a French waiter (or plain old waiter), but when asked by the Doozer what he was, the wife and I both found ourselves describing him as a sommelier.

Thus began another round of a new favorite game, Words With Kids.

It is pretty common these days for the Doozer to ask a barrage of questions—often about words—and then promptly discard the information he’s received or file it away deep in the recesses of his brain for some unknown use at a later, undefined date. And there is absolutely no way to predict what will come back or when it might come back.

So it was a day or two later when the Doozer asked me what we’d called that minifigure.

“Which one?”

“That minifigure.”

“The mermaid? Jekyll and Hyde? The guy in the chicken suit?”

“The sum . . .”


“Yeah. Smelly-A. I hope I get that one.”

“You should tell your mom that’s the one you want.”

And so ensued a lengthy routine of our 4-year-old son talking at length about a Lego sommelier (again, pronounced “Smelly-A”), then pretending to be a Lego sommelier and repeatedly giggling and offering us bottles of wine. And what kind of wine was it, you might ask?

“It tastes like watermelon, cinnamon, and raisins,” the Doozer told us.

Of course it does.

Now, at this point, you might be questioning the appropriateness of teaching a child about an individual whose main professional purpose is to ply people with alcohol. Personally, we find it highly amusing to experience our son going around discussing the work of a sommelier.

Don’t judge us.

More importantly, as I already said, I love watching the Doozer’s language—and interest in language—develop. He’s going around the house now, spelling out appliance names and asking what those words are. He was sitting backwards on the toilet the other night and yelled out a bunch of random letters and asked me what it meant. I had to go into the bathroom to figure it out and discovered he was asking me about the brand name on the underside of the toilet seat.

This is our life now.

His vocabulary seems to be pretty standard for someone his age, but there’s a few outliers there that he’s picked up somewhere along the way. On a recent day at preschool, he was playing blocks with a classmate and said classmate was making a very tall tower of blocks. The Doozer told this kid that his tower seemed “precarious.” The teacher asked if he knew what it meant. And he told her it looked like the tower of blocks might fall over.

His teacher was duly impressed. Yes, parenting win!

Plus, he keeps saying “peculiar.” About us or Little Brother or events or certain circumstances. “Peculiar.” Kills me. Also, I have a set of coasters with hand-drawn images of some of my favorite film directors on them. I taught the Doozer all their names and there is nothing quite like having your 4-year-old take out a coaster for his sippy cup of juice and say, “Noah Baumbach.”

And if he grows up to actually be a sommelier someday, we’ll have a very funny story to tell.

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