The long learning line of language

Pity young children learning the English language:

Seven Year Old, reading from book: “.. and Pelican jumped the q – what’s that word?”

JB: “Yeah, it’s a funny one. After going through all those letters q-u-e-u-e you just say ‘q’.”

Seven Year Old: “That’s the most stupidest, idiotist word I’ve ever heard.”

Ha! Take THAT, English!

The Hero’s Journey from a seven-year-old’s perspective

Part 4: does the Hero understand his quest?

Seven-Year-Old (reading homework): “‘This week you have to write four things you would like for Christmas. You must write and draw them from first to fourth in order of how much you want them.’ Okay, that’s easy. First, a real light sabre. Second, the Force of the Jedi. Third is a Wii. Fourth is my own iPod.”

Mr JB: “Are you sure?”

Seven Year Old [pausing, dejected]: “I know I can’t really have the Force.”

My son, the pragmatist – and not a realist either, because he sure as hell ain’t getting a Wii or an iPod. That only leaves the real light sabre. But one disappointment at at time, poor kid.

Playing against stereotypes

Let’s have a little fun and play a game. In this game, however, you’re playing with the members of my family! Here’s how it works: I’m going to give you a list of family members, then a list of ages, and you have to guess which age belongs to which family member. Ready? Here we go:

Son 1
Son 2
Half brother 1
Half brother 2
Mother’s special friend


Have a little think about that for a minute ….

How did you go? This might help:

My stepmother is three years younger than me.
My husband is six years younger than my mother.
My mother’s friend is six months younger than my husband.
My half brothers are young enough to be my sons.
My sons are young enough to be my grandsons.
My boys have an uncle who isn’t a teenager yet.

So you don’t need to be a mathematician to work out that when we all go out in public, people get very confused. I always enjoy observing those looks – the ones where someone’s thinking, ‘is that the father or the husband? Is he a grandson or a son?’

Fortunately, love can’t add up for shit.

“C-h-r-i-s-t-m-a-s … Christmas!”

What’s different this year to last year?

Hide the lists.
Hide the dockets.
Hide the order forms.
Hide the toy catalogues.
Hide the instruction booklets.

When literacy comes to town, nothing is safe at Christmas time because now the Seven Year Old can READ! Really read. Inquisitively, incessantly and intensely.

Suddenly, the management of presents has reached a new level, and things will never be the same again.

And that’s okay with me.

The Hero’s Journey from a four-year-old’s perspective

Part 3 – Meeting with/mother as the goddess.

Four Year Old: “Mummy, why are your boobies so close to your tummy?”

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