Sunday, October 19, 2014

Word Storm

L is in her second year of preschool now, and her savage little mind is literally exploding with words.  Every day she learns a new song and reads a new book, and when she gets home from school often skips around the house calling out phrases or words in sing song that have never before passed her lips.  She has also recently crossed the Rubicon of reading.  Don and I have always loved reading to her, and read several times a day.  We have been working with her, pretty casually (well, pretty casually on my part, more seriously on Don’s part) for a while on letter sounds and stringing those sounds together to make words.  Then, while Riley and I were in California a few weeks ago, L and Don started working a lot more and something in her brain clicked and letters and sounds became words and now she is reading. 

In essence, we have a perfect storm of words in our house right now, which has resulted in some pretty humorous conversations.  For instance, today at lunch Lucy decided that she was going to start using the phrase “pretty much.”  This colloquial expression can be laid entirely at my own door.  I don’t know where it came from or why I say it, but I do.  Too often.  How do I know that I use it too often?  Because it is now being used in my presence and it is pretty much super annoying.  But this is what happens when she encounters something new that she likes.  It doesn’t matter if she doesn’t know what it means, it just sounds nice.  She uses it often.  Too often.  She word storms it.

This is a new phrase I have recently invented to describe her relationship with words.  She hears a word or phrase in conversation, or reads it in a book.  She tries it on, like a new pair of high heeled, glow in the dark, flashing light Ariel dress up shoes.  Then, all of the sudden….word storm.  She is prancing around the living room in pajamas at 12:37pm, blowing a plastic flute and chanting “Cue the magic!  Cue the sparkles!!” at the top of her lungs.  R staggers after her like a tiny, drunken Igor.  I believe I have the PBS series Super Why! to thank for that particular gem.

This lends itself to a certain air of…total chaos…when it comes to everyday life at the Zimmer home lately.  But, not all the time.  Because now, there is the calm.  The calm after the word storm.  This is when Lucy uses her newfound relationship, her intimacy, if you will, to do something really special.  She changes its meaning.  So now, after the mad capering about the room has ceased, we have conversations like this:
L.     Mom, did I have a Vitamin yet today?
Me.  No, you did not.
L.     OK, can I have an Eight Stories High then?
Me.  <<blank look>>
L.     Eight Stories High is what I call my Vitamins now.  Because they are up on the high shelf.  So can I have one?  An Eight Stories High?
Me.  Yeah….yes.  Yes you may.  Have an…eight stories high.  Vitamin.
L.     Just Eight Stories High.

It is a rare moment with L when I am not being told that some word she is going to say, action she is about to perform, thing she is about to draw is not something else entirely.  Maybe this is the price we are paying for introducing her to science fiction and fantasy – the lines between realities are entirely blurred.
Not that there is anything wrong with that.  That is the way I grew up, and I turned out just fine.  Almost entirely not insane.  I mean, I believed in the Greek Pantheon of Gods roughly through High School….but whatever.  Lucy won’t read the Greek myths with me yet, so I think we are pretty safe from catching her burning offerings in the back yard.  My concerns now are probably entirely superficial.  Like, how am I going to keep anything straight?

The Vitamins are “Eight Stories Tall”
The shrimp in her sushi tonight was “Wazizi” and the avocado was “Grozz”
When she says “beeeeeeeeep” that means it is time for me to brush her hair, but if she says “nayno nay” then I need to stop.

Pretty Much.