As I promised the Ninja Monkey the other night that I would definitely come back in to the bedroom and check on him and his brother in ten minutes to see if they were still awake, he looked me square in the eye and said, “For reals, player?” I had to be sure that he had in fact said what I knew he had said, so of course I asked him to repeat himself. “For reals, player? For reals? Mommy, you come back in ten minutes, for reals?” Yup. Just as funny every. Single. Time. My five year old, the funny man.
I tend to talk to my kids the same way I talk to everyone else (with a few less profanities): with grown up language, or at least with language as grown up as I am, which is, admittedly, not very at times. For instance, when i want to say that there is an extremely small amount of something left, I don’t say teensy, tiny, or itty-bitty (usually); I say infinitesimal. When they ask me what it mean, then I use the small words to explain it, but I always start out talking the way I talk. Other words I’ve been known to use (a lot) are exorbitant, gregarious, loquacious, placid, and of course, facetious. Those are the good things they pick up from me; the slightly more grown up vocabulary they can take with them as they grow. It’s they way I learned most of the words I know: from hearing them spoken, in context, and then having them explained. I think it’s a good way to learn.
Of course, with my habit of speaking to children like they are mini-grown ups comes other learning, such as the phrase, “For reals, player?”. What can I say? I like to spice things up a bit by using words and phrases I know sound [more than] a little silly coming from my mouth. So my kids say things that not only sound like they’ve been reading the SAT prep book, but also like they watch a little too much reality TV. For a long time, “True dat, boo,” was another of my favorites. I think I must have given that one up before the kids were really old enough to talk because I’ve yet to hear any of them say it. I think one of the best phrases I’ve ever heard them use though can’t even be credited to me. That honor goes to the Husband. You see, after watching a very touching movie about an Irish father, played by Pierce Brosnan, Evelyn, he started using the expression, “Fair play to you.” It’s kind of like touche but Irish. After a few months of this, the Scientist, only about two at the time, came out with it after the Husband had convinced him he could not have an open cup in the car because it would spill. Fair play to him, indeed.h
Is it the end of the world (another phrase my kids have picked up from me, “It’s not the end of the world!”) if our kids talk like us? I say, as long as they’re not being taught to curse and use other inappropriate words, what’s the problem? At worst, they’ll get strange looks from other kids and parents. At best, I’ll get one helluva good laugh out of it, and isn’t that the real reason we teach kids to talk anyway? So we can make them say funny things? … Oh, it’s not? My bad.