My name is not Merriam or Webster, nor am I from Oxford. Despite this, my angelic little cherub spends hours a day peppering me with incessant requests to define words. In lieu of the fact that most days I border on having delayed cognitive functioning, I do my best to answer even though it would really be best for him to wait for first grade to begin.
“Mommy, what does ‘almost’ mean?”
It’s like when you have one bite of food left. You’re almost done, but not quite.
Score! Now I’ll take Analogies for $500, Alex!!
This new passion for defining words has escalated to the point that it consumes most of our time. The words that he wants defined are fairly simple, everyday words, that are difficult for someone who is language-impaired to explain.
“What does ‘maybe’ mean?”
It’s not a yes or a no, it’s in between. Like maybe I’ll actually get the kitchen cleaned up, if you stop asking questions.
“What does ‘soon’ mean?”
It means, uh…something that’s coming up, but not quite yet…like senility.
“What does ‘senility’ mean?”
You get the picture.
This has been going on for a couple of weeks now, and the words I’m defining are becoming more and more simple. A few times I’ve looked at my husband and muttered, “Mama always had a way of explainin’ things so I could understand them.”
I mean, seriously, I was starting to worry that there was a massive brain cell die-off occurring. And when I think that, I always quote Forrest Gump. Who doesn’t, amiright?
Yesterday was the last straw. We returned from camp, and walking up to the house, Connor said “watch out for the ant pile, mommy.”
Then he turned to me and said, “what’s a pile?”
That one was easy to define, there were examples in the laundry room as well as the backyard. But I’d had enough, and decided that was the last time. A few minutes later, he asked me what ‘hysterical’ means. This is a word he uses every single day, whenever he is just beside himself with laughter.
What do you think hysterical means?
“I don’t know.”
Do you think it means ‘sad’?
Do you think it means scared?
If you know what these words mean, then why are you asking me?
“I don’t know.”
So all this time, at least on most of the words, he is totally yanking my chain.
Guess what, I know that game too.
“Mommy, can I watch Yo Gabba Gabba?”
What’s Yo Gabba Gabba?
Yeah, I’ll just sit here and wait while you try and describe to me what those creatures are, ’cause it’s going to be a while.
I might not have a snappy definition for the word “possibly”, but Mama Gump still has some game.