Mastering language


A conversation reported to me by a friend driving four boys to football practice. A mispronounciation and giggles in the back of the car about hearing ‘gay’. Gabe steps in and explains that gay means two men who live together. His Dad’s best friend is gay. Two women who live together are called.. ‘What are they called?’ Gabe asks the adult in the car. Lesbians, the adult in the car clarifies, the conversation soaring way over the other boys’ heads.


Shopping with L in Monsoon, Robin saw some sparkly Christmas outfits: ‘Strictly dancing dresses, Mummy.’ Onto Laura Ashley: ‘Old people’s shop Mummy, don’t like it’.

Later that day, L took Robin to the fife concert at Gabe’s school. Robin objected to going and was placated with sweets. Sitting on the front row, when the music started, Robin clamped his hands to his ears. Periodically during the show, he turned to L, hands still in place, to bellow above the music and loud enough for him to hear with his ears covered, ‘Nother sweety, please’.


Eliza’s spelling at school is moving beyond the green (phonetically predictable) words to the red. With precision, but not always accuracy, Eliza is applying this knowledge. On a card drawn for L and me, she wrote: To Mummy and Daddy, you are so nighce. Yesterday, she spelled out how she wanted to travel to Gabe’s football: by b-i-g-h-k.


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