Friday, September 23, 2005

Even More Mouths of Babes

Today's linguistic fodder is all recent. This summer has been a goldmine of garbled stupidity, and I've been writing down offenses as fast as I can. By now we've assembled a critical mass suitable for public release.

In July (I think) the tyke was in a full-scale, wacky western musical melodrama called "Westward, Whoa!" He played a cavalryman and a townsperson. He got to dance in his cowboy boots--dance fluidly, with a broom. And I must say he was pretty good. As is typical of this kid, by the second week he had learned not only his own part but had also memorized all of the other parts and the blockbuster songs, even though he wasn't in them.

So he came home one day and said, "Mom, there's this song where the saloon floozies sing together about how adventuresome it is to live in the wild, wild west. And in this one line a girl sings, 'Live in fat, as a lion in a fold.' What the heck does that mean? Who would ever live in fat?"
Well, I'd never heard that figure. I had to think about it some. A day later I realized it was intended as "Livin' [living] fat as a lion in a fold." Still a pretty obscure concept, but mystery solved.

A few weeks later we were in a shop selecting flowers for G's girlfriend's birthday. G said, "Should we get a boutique that's already here, or should we just put a bunch of different ones together?"

"A what?" I said.

"You know, a boutique of flowers. Like those over there."

The little one and I laughed. "G, it's a bouquet! Not a boutique!"

G brightened up, too. "Oh, yeah! What's a boutique again? Like when you go to the mall to get a game for the Gameboy Advance. At the . . . Electronics Bouquet!!!"

Next day, the time came for the ride to the birthday party, which was to take place an hour away at G's girlfriend's beach house in Clinton, CT. We had been riding along for about half an hour when the tyke asked, "Mom, how long until we get to Lincoln?"


"It's Clinton that we're going to, not Lincoln. Lincoln is in Nebraska. That'd be days away from here. We have about half an hour to go."

He said, "Oh, well, at least they're both presidents, so it makes sense."

A week or so later, I had put a houseplant out on the kitchen counter, planning to water it in the sink. Just for the record, the plant was a rex begonia. Tyke went over to it and said, "Mom, is this a pizzeria plant?" Well, that stopped me dead in my tracks. What was he thinking?

"Maybe I mean a pizza plant. No, it's not that. It's . . . a pepperoni plant!"

Oooohhh-Kayyyyy. Then I remembered that when I had peperomia plants, the boys could not remember that name, so they called it pepperoni.

"No, actually it's a rex begonia."

Or wrecks bologna, whichever you prefer.


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