Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dumbing it Down for Mom



Joel is just as into hot cars as Paul and I are, though Joel is a Ford Mustang kind of guy and we prefer imports. He's got such an affinity for them that when he saw a ride-on childsize Mustang in Wal-Mart, he came home and started putting price tags on everything he could find to sell. (Some of the things actually belonged to him.) He announced he was having a yard sale on August 10th. I had to talk him out of it. I think it worked.

But the yen for that Mustang, which costs $294, grows stronger by the day. We've had a talk with him about coveting, about the cost, and about the impracticality of having a car with only a steep driveway to ride it on (which he doesn't see as a drawback, but as offering greater momentum and hence a greater thrill).

So he was yammering on about it just before a nap yesterday. He asked me earnestly how many minutes of backscratching it would take to save up for the car.
"I really want a Mustang, Mom. You know, the replica--clone--of a Mustang in Walmart? Not a real one."

The way he changed the word "replica" to "clone" made me laugh. He had that look and tone that said, "You might not know that big word. I'll use a smaller one so you'll understand." It cracked me up.

I asked him, "Replica? Where'd you hear that word?"
"I don't know. I just did."
"Do you know what it means?" I asked. He looked timid. "You used it right, don't worry," I assured him.

"Yeah, it's something similar to the real thing, like a clone or a miniature."

Golly! He could even define it with two synonyms.

Later, coming home from Jerusalem Mill with him, I was in and out of conscious listening. (You know how moms pretend to listen, or half listen?) He was saying something about a friend named Betty who has a "thing you jump on, it has springs, what's it called?" when I snapped back into conscious listening.

"How big is it?" I asked. "Do you mean a trampoline?"
"No, it's for one person."
"A pogo stick?"
"Yeh, a pogo stick. And Betty was jumping on her pogo stick and she had to do one of those---" (pauses to think of the right word)--Mom, can I use you for a dictionary?"