Parenting With Grammar

My wife is a sort of language super-villain, and she’s trapped my inner language-superhero in a rather tough predicament.

Let me back up a bit.

My infant son is progressing my leaps and bounds, although thankfully he has not yet reached leaping and bounding.  After some significant struggle–he’s big and has a lot of weight to move around– he finally learned to crawl this past weekend.

He started awkwardly; I suspect grace is never going to be his forte.  He’s basically ready to go professional with it now though, which prompted one of my more amusing visuals today.  I was sitting in my daughter’s room, trying to get her ready for bed. Suddenly, an eager little streak crawled by the doorway and headed back the hallway, a fairly significant distance from where he was supposed to be playing.  He looked so happy, like he was going on an adventure.

One of his other growing skills is his ability to understand what we’re telling him, combined with a charming gentleness of spirit sufficient to make him mostly listen when he understands what we’re saying.  This is particularly useful when we have to change his diaper.  He’s large; we need his cooperation.

Herein lies the villainy, and note that I did not say, “Herein lays the villainy.”

My wife has taught my son to obey the command, “Lay down.”  He’ll happily lie down and let her change his diaper.  That is to say, he will happily LIE DOWN and let her change his diaper.  Naturally however, he won’t lie down for me, because I ask him to “lie down,” which isn’t the word he knows.

I tried to fix things by telling him, “Lay yourself down,” but I think that just confused him.  Needless reflexivity will do that to the best of us.

Needless Reflexivity

Either way, if I want him to listen, I have to stab mercilessly and repeatedly at the pure, hopeful, language loving heart that still clings to life inside of me.

I think she might have done this on purpose because I tease her about her accent.  Well played, Wife.  Well played.




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