Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Darndest Things

The family is sitting together to enjoy breakfast together -- talking about plans for the day and for one of the last weekends of the summer -- when Elliot, our three-and-a-half year old, suddenly introduces a profound new topic for discussion: "Daddy, let's talk about stinky... Because I don't know what stinky is."

In a moment such as this, we have to smile (although we try to do it discreetly). And even though we know full well that Elliot has a working knowledge of the adjective "stinky," we momentarily indulge him this conversation... Because the curiosity, wisdom, and insight of a three-and-a-half year old boy is a rich and delicious cream for the sometimes bland and predictable menu of life.

Sometimes, it's small things. Slight mispronunciations -- like "hostipal" (for "hospital") or "amimals" (for "animals") -- or word usage, i.e. substituting the word "macaroni" for "pepperoni" (as in, "My favorite kind of pizza is macaroni")... But many times, the words of Elliot the Wise are true proverbs, as though spoken by Solomon or Confucius. They've entered our family vernacular, much in the same way we quote verses from the Bible, or clich├ęs from "Poor Richard's Almanac," or film and pop-culture quotes. Further examples of such "Elliotisms" include:

"Sometimes Spidermans forget to watch out for babies." (spoken on the occasion of Elliot, a.k.a. Spiderman, falling into his baby sister after leaping from the TV table, a.k.a. the tall building)

"Sometimes, Dad, little kids need help from their parents to eat their peaches." (instructively spoken on the occasion of Elliot asking for help with his food and Dad responding by suggesting that he's more than capable of feeding himself)

"Is Oma smiling at Opa because he looks funny with a moustache?" (spoken on the occasion of seeing a picture from our wedding album of Elliot's grandfather with a moustache where his grandmother is looking kind of funny at her husband)

Of course, Elliot has much to learn in this world -- ways to grow "more mature" and wise to the "ways of this world." But I wonder if we can learn just as much from them and their fresh perspective at our society. Children offer such profound and hilarious insights into our world, because they have a keen and prolonged exposure to our culture -- yet they're always learning, and it's socially acceptable for them to make mistakes.

Maybe these kinds of things are only funny for parents. Maybe others tire of hearing about my children, including such Elliotisms. But for my part, I plan to keep enjoying and learning from Elliot the Wise.


At 1:14 AM, Anonymous Mom said...

You are so right in calling him Elliot the Wise! Children are amazing, and their view of life is indeed, so fresh. As the Oma across the ocean, I love hearing about these day to day things. And I remember Elliot's father calling a handkerchief a "frankernose." It makes me smile!

At 6:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's Funny!!!


At 4:19 AM, Blogger Jay said...

It is eerie (if that is indeed how you spell it) the way I can hear Elliot's first statement about Spidermans coming from Aydan's lips. Cue the music: "Cousins, identical cousins!"


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