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Little Miss Malaprop

Nearly every day I find myself jotting
down something Maddie’s said, not wanting to forget that she
used to call grasshoppers “grasspoppers” or that she
sings “Crinkle Little Star”. I don’t always post
them because as fascinating as my child’s every utterance is
to me, I know it grows old for other people.

But (and you knew there was a “but”) recently
Maddie’s said a few hum-dingers, so here you go.

One of Maddie’s new songs is
“A Farmer In The Dell”. I love hearing toddlers sing
the words they think are correct; it often gives new insight into
the actual meaning of the song (as well as a glimpse at your
diction). I can’t remember all the verses to the song so
I’ve taught Maddie only a few, but I know the last one and
she sings it lustily. Except that where I sing, “The cheese
stands alone,” Maddie sings, “Jesus stands

I can’t decide if I’m amused or awed at her theological

Or how about this one: Maddie walked up to me the other day and
said solemnly, “Mommy, I’m boring. What can I
do?” I had to bite back the urge to say, “Try coming up
with a list of conversational topics before you head to a party.
Memorize people’s names, and ask them about themselves a lot.
People like that.” Instead, I was a good mommy and simply
replied, “I think you mean ‘I’m bored’, not
‘I’m boring’, and let’s go find something
to play together.

Then there’s my current favorite: for the past few months,
Brian and I have taken to calling Big Elmo “Big E”; we
figured such a member of the family deserved a nickname. Maddie has
picked up the habit, except she calls the poor red monster
“Piggy”, as in, “C’mon, Piggy. Come play
with me.” Brian and I have both tried multiple times to
explain that it’s “Big E, honey, not Piggy. We call him
Big E because Elmo starts with E, so instead of Big Elmo we say Big
E. Just like we’d say Big M if we were talking about
you.” “But Elmo doesn’t start with M,” she
replies every time with irrefutable logic. “I know, it starts
with E, which is why we say Big E.”

Pause. Blink.

“Let’s go, Piggy.”

I can only imagine some point in the future, when Big Elmo is all
grown up and moving in a different circle off friends than those of
his childhood (yes, I’m sleep-deprived if I’m thinking
of Elmo’s future), and his grown-up friends find out what his
childhood nickname was. “Your friend called you
‘Piggy’? Were you heavy? Did you eat a lot? Get dirty?
I don’t get it.” “You never will –
it’s a long story,” the long suffering Big Elmo will
reply. “Can we just move on?”

Sorry, Piggy. I mean, Big E.


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