Thursday, June 9, 2011

Their other favorite teacher

Last week sometime the girls were watching an episode of their beloved WordGirl on PBS Kids and the word of the day was "scowl."

There is nothing funnier than children reduced to giggles by their very own scowls. Not that they don't scowl all the time, of course, in genuine frustration, but these scowls, born of delight and discovery, these scowls are joy unsubdued.

Image via whatalrightyeah

L is very into a rhyming game right now of her own very specific rules, wherein she announces a word or phrase and you have to provide her with a companion rhyme and she judges your entry in her contest. To obtain her approval, you must

  • rhyme directly (no slant rhymes)
  • completely match the cadence and number of syllables of her challenge.
You do not
  • necessarily have to speak English or any other known language while you play.
It's tricky, because she starts out with bun and you say, "fun!" and she nods approvingly: very good, Mama!

Cream cheese or butter! she demands. "South seas land lubber!" you reply quickly, feeling exuberant, only to look over at her face. She's not pleased with your double Bs against her own double Ts. So she makes you work harder.

United States of America!

You panic a little. Your desire to reply hastily before she begins chiding you lends a sense of urgency, which just makes it harder to think. "Erblagger gates cornucopia?" you suggest feebly.

She looks at you sternly. It might be the beginning of a bona fide scowl, though you'd never point that out at this time. "Erblagger gates of turmerica?" you offer.

Gooood! she beams approvingly. Good, Mommy.

She loves rhymes right now, so I couldn't help but offer one up to the girls to go with their new favorite funniest vocabulary word.

"Hey, L! You know what rhymes with scowl?" She thought about it.

"What does the bear do at the end of 'Going on a Bear Hunt?'" E, who was nearby, figured it out first. Growl!!

L didn't wait more than a second. Wanna see my growl scowl? Soon both girls had their fingers in front of their faces like claws, all velociraptor from Jurassic Park-style, making awful dry-gargling sounds through their giggles through their scowls.

And now that's a regular thing: if you see my kids they're likely to greet you with a Growl ScowlTM. It's only become more and more embellished. They hunch their shoulders like every storybook bad guy and lurch menacingly, and growl, of course, while scowling, while laughing like lunatics. I know they look deranged, but this is what we get for ignoring the evidence that television is detrimental to children's behavior.

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