Saturday, September 13, 2008

Grammar humor is lost on a toddler

It's all happening at the zoo
We started today at the zoo on a playdate with some of 3B's friends and their parents, who are coincidentally friends with Mama and me. We spent enough time in the spa-like weather--by which I mean that it was hotter and wetter than being in sauna--viewing exotic animals such as this...
Acting as 3B's jungle gym in that heat, plus wrestling him when he was passively resisting our direction of travel, took about three years off of my life. Seriously, this kid must have watched old Gandhi newsreels in the womb, otherwise, how does he know to go completely limp when The Man comes to put him down? It's like trying to pick up a puddle of water with tweezers--a 35 pound puddle of water I might add.

Shopping under Marie Antoinette's rule
So, after we all collapsed at home for a few hours, we went out again, but this time we did our running around indoors, both to avoid the heat and to avoid starvation and a diaper shortfall. At our first stop, 3B drove...
At our second stop, 3B grabbed a free cookie, his own Shopper-in-Training cart, and was off to the races...
He did a good job picking healthy foods: a red bell pepper, fresh broccoli, two avocados, a canteloupe, three bags of pita chips, and some sharp cheddar cheese.

When we did go by the ice cream cake display, he did come to a screeching halt in the middle of the aisle, run to the glass freezer door, smack both his hands flat on the door and announce to the entire aisle that, "I need some cake!"

Two-year-old obscene caller
There's been more bike talk than usual around Casa Bradstein for various reasons, which has led 3B to once again watch more of his favorite biker video and imitate the music when he's not listening to it. While this does make him sound like a two-year-old obscene caller, it's a nice break from our usual musical fare--all fiddlers, all the time.

Grammar humor is lost on a toddler
Mama and 3B were reading a book with moving parts this week and I overheard Mama explaining all the animations to him...

"And then if you pull on this, his leg goes back and forth, except his leg was pulled off, and over here, if you pull on this, his head shakes back and forth, except his leg was pulled off...notice how I'm using the passive voice?"

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  1. You are so lucky, by the time the stores had the fun carts, my kids did not fit anymore.

    Too bad about the legs in that book. I wonder how they fell off?

  2. The upside is that he's distracted for 20 minutes. The downside is that when he's done with it, you're stuck with a cart that's as nimble as the Exxon Valdex and a runaway toddler, so don't feel too unlucky.

  3. Anonymous12:36 PM

    We call that the "civil disobedience" move. So simple, yet so darned effective.

    3B might not know what passive voice is, but I'll bet any day now he'll use it correctly in a sentence. The other day my 4-year-old correctly used the conditional (something probably along the lines of "If I had that cookie, I would eat it."). I was so proud.

  4. I find that I gravitate toward the books that include the proper "neither...nor" construction and proper use of the subjunctive...which raises the question: is grammar geekery nature or nurture?


  6. PS: where can I sign up for remedial grammar for grown-ups?
    I could not properly label the parts of a sentence if my life depended on it.

  7. Don't we all. Don't sweat the lack of grammar knowledge--it didn't stop me from being an editor for over five years.

  8. Let me start off by saying I always need cake too. It must be genetic.

    CAgirl: My kids do not know they have outgrown those carts. Daughter J can not put as much in them as the big cart. Note to self... never take her shopping.

    I am sorry if my grammar offends anyone, I am in the dark there too. Fortunately I was raised by parents with a firm grasp of good grammar and they taught it to us through example. For examples, my kids have me and their dad... a constant example of bad grammar. I giggle when they DOL him. (that would be Daily Oral Language, where they practice in school how to correct what is wrong with a sentence.)

  9. Anonymous10:51 PM

    Oh, I think it's both. Kids learn most of their language completely unconsciously, just through imitation. So that's nurture. But then if they have a nurturing environment, they probably have grammar geek parents, which means there's going to be a genetic component too. Whatever, just lots of talking and reading will do the trick.

    I also believe that it's not so important to be able to parse a sentence (unless you're teaching grammar) -- the important thing is to be able to communicate effectively. Toddlers are masters at that.