So, at 5, Hannah is at the delightful stage of development where she is starting to explore words and language. She can spell a handful of words, she loves to write words on paper, and she writes several (long!) stories each day with that wavy-line text that resembles an EKG printout but looks like prose when used in illustrations. And then she will narrate said stories… repeatedly.
(I will really, truly miss this when she goes to Kindergarten next year. Really, I will.)
One thing that is not so delightful is her experimentation with abbreviating words. It’s cute when she tells me my chocolate candy-cane cake is “dee-lish!” (gotta get that second ‘e’ in there for emphasis) or I am “awes” for getting a good hula-hoop score on the Wii Fit. While it doesn’t rank as high on the irritating list as, say, spelling out entire paragraphs, it does become a bit problematic when you don’t share the same context. Sometimes, when that happens, it leads to a conversation not unlike the one we had earlier today.
Yes, I’m going to share.
In order to give YOU context, I need to give you a teeny bit of information. When she gets computer time, Hannah likes to visit a site called GirlsGoGames, which is mostly harmless and full of dress-up and decorate sorts of games. Most of the characters are Japanese anime, and we’ve run into a few hiccups when a game is in Kanji, but we muddle through and do the best we can. (Seriously, a girl could get LOST on this site. The games link to other games, that link to other games, that link to other sites, and you’d be hard-pressed to get bored.)
Once or twice, my girls have clicked on a game to find that the dress-up doll is naked, or the clothes to dress her in are ridiculously immodest. They call me over to see, we agree that yes, it’s best to leave THAT link alone, and we move on. It doesn’t happen often enough for me to be concerned, and it gives us a chance to have a quick dialogue about what standards we hold and why they are important. Normally, the site is not a big deal.
Unless you’re the mother of a five-year-old who speaks in half-words.
Today’s example went something like this:
Kemi: (Alternates between preparing chicken for the crock pot and baking Apple-Cinnamon bread.)
Anthony! Get off the back of the couch. Hannah, did you remember to brush your teeth before you got on the computer? Make your bed? What game are you playing? Abbie, are you ready for more cereal? Anthony, I said GET OFF THAT COUCH.
Hannah: Yeah, ma. (mom) It’s fu. (fun)
Kemi: (Struggles to pry apart half-frozen chicken pieces. Answers phone. Answers phone again.)
Hannah: chatter, chatter, chatter… chatter, chatter chatter…chatter, chatter, chatter… chatter, chatter chatter…chatter, chatter, chatter… chatter, chatter chatter…chatter, chatter, chatter… chatter, chatter chatter.
Kemi: Anthony, stop throwing your blankie at the chandelier. Next time I won’t get it down.
… … … …
Hannah, what did you just say?
Hannah: (deep sigh) Ma (mom), I ju (just) asked you wha (what) I shou (should) name my whore.
Kemi: … … …
… … …
!!! !!! !!!
Hannah: (deeper sigh) Mom, come on. My whore. What should I name my whore?
Kemi: (running to the computer) What game are you playing?
Hannah: It’s on GirlsGoGames. It’s a Bratz one. So what do you think I should name her? My whore?
Kemi: Hannah, WHERE did you learn that word? Stop saying it right now. It’s naughty.
Hannah: (rolling her eyes) Not whore, mom. My whore. Look!
Kemi: (blinks eyes repeatedly)
Hannah, that is a hor-SUH. Horse. Say it with me. HorSE.
Hannah: Well yeah, Mom, that’s what I said. Whore.
Kemi: SUH. Hor-SUH. If you abbreviate that word again and say it the naughty way, your time on GirlsGoGames will be over. Forever.
Hannah: (giggling) Mom, I luh ya. (love you) You’re so sil. (silly)
I weep for my future.