Saturday, February 6, 2016

Off-the-Wall ABCs

A recent conversation with Bug:

Bug:  Mama, what sound does the letter 'K' make?
Me:   Kah. 'K' makes the "kah" sound. Like 'kangaroo.'
Bug:  Kangaroo?
Me:   Or king, or koala, or kindness, or kudzu, or... kamikaze? Kefir? Kwanzaa?

As you can see, I have a problem. And with a four-year-old who is diligently practicing his alphabet skills every chance he gets, it's a problem I deal with on a near daily basis. It's not a big problem by most standards, but it's definitely a problem.

My problem is that when faced when the task of giving my son words that start with a given letter, my mind kind of blanks. And when it doesn't go blank altogether, it goes in weird directions instead.

Most people, when asked for 'G' words, would head for gorilla. Goat. Good. Giant. Nice, normal words. Me? My brain goes straight to Gorgonzola, gangrene, Geonosis, or Gollum. J is for jaguar, jungle, jack-in-the-box, jellyfish. Or jugular or juxtaposition, Judas or jinx, Jabberwocky or jackalope. (Or Jack Daniels. Definitely inappropriate.) C is for cat or cheese, cheetah or chimpanzee. C is also for cantrip, canasta, cancer, contrarian. F is for farm, family, friend. F is for flatulence, fandango, Fallopian tubes, flagellate, (the) Forsaken.

(Disclaimer: These words don't all make it from my brain to my lips. Obviously.)

A is for ant, alligator, amphibian, allopathic, agoraphobia, amnesia, androgynous, algorithm...

Honestly, I don't really know what's going on with my brain sometimes. Is this a side effect of reading too much? (Not that such a thing is truly possible!) Is this because I have strange interests and a rather morbid fascination with certain unpleasant subjects? Is this the result of four years of not quite enough sleep? (Because even when kids finally start sleeping better, parents don't... or maybe that's just me.)

Am I just plain weird?

Whatever it is, it really does come up all the time. Sometimes, Bug wants me to make up my own words to alphabet books. Normally, that task belongs to D, but since he's away for the foreseeable future, the task instead falls to me. As you can see, I have a strangely difficult time coming up with decent nouns for every letter.

Or sometimes he asks for more words when he's doing his workbooks (definitely not trying to push early academics in this household, but Bug LOVES workbooks! And I'm all for encouraging whatever he's interested in), or when he just sees random letters on the walls (thanks, DMV and military hospital pharmacy). Sometimes when we're in the car, he'll ask for letter sounds and words. Sometimes Bug just likes copying letters from books, and will ask me for sounds and words as he goes.

No matter the situation, I find that my mental lapses happen pretty much every time Bug asks for words beginning with a certain letter. And as of now, I have no solution, except to at least keep my filters intact and keep the inappropriate words to myself, along with the words that will spark questions I'm currently unwilling to answer and the words I just don't want Bug repeating.

At least my kid will have a good vocabulary. Right?

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