Everything's a Ball
Catchr's newest word is “ball”. He uses it all the time to describe round things. A football is a ball. A basketball is a ball. Even a balloon is a ball. It is wonderful to see him make the connection between a word and physical object. The only problem is figuring out when to stop being impressed by his connection between spherical objects and the word ball, and begin correcting him when he gets it wrong. Granted, the watermelon at the super market looked a heck of a lot like a ball, but c'mon, we all know it's NOT a ball. And the fat lady buying the Ho-Hos in aisle 8, yes she was rotund, but even he must have known that she was not actually a “ball”. How do you correct that?
“No, no Catchr. That is not a ball, it's a just a very fat lady. Can you say fat lady for Daddy?” This seems like it would be highly inappropriate. I don't want to stomp out that fire for learning that is obviously burning in his soul, nor do I want to correct him when the fat lady is within earshot. Should I take him down a couple of aisles, where she can no longer hear us, and point to her and whisper in his little ear, “Not ball. Fat lady”? That simply seems rude. What if someone overhears our private tutorial?
“Oh I'm sorry, I wasn't trying to be rude. I was simply trying to teach my son the difference between a ball and a fat person,” I would mutter, knowing full well this explanation would fail to suffice for any but the most simple-minded of observers. Then I would have to go into the whole story about how he is using his new word in the wrong context and that I was merely trying to save him the embarrassment that I was currently feeling.
The one bright point is that he is actually saying the word “ball” and not “baw” or “bah”, which would be utterly disappointing. I know it seems petty, but last year, after counting his ten fingers and ten toes, my first thoughts were, “Don't let him be stupid.” And, “Don't let him have a speech impediment.” Not being of the religious ilk, I had placed these demands on no one in particular, but still feel it my duty to guide the process/progress in regard to these two demands. So when Catchr first said, “baw,” I swiftly corrected him by over-emphasizing the “l” sound at the end of the word.
“Bawlllll,” I said to him encouragingly.
“Baw,” he retorted.
“No. Bawlllllll,” I said again. This time dragging out the “l” sound for what felt like days.
It took about 10-73 times, but he picked it up like head lice in daycare. Now he owns it...and correctly, I might add. I only wish he would have started out with a word like dog.