My daughter, Ryan, said something last night that made my mother’s eyes widen. It wasn’t anything shocking or inappropriate (though that certainly happens sometimes)… it was something about how horror-comedy combo movies don’t make sense to her because they’re of completely different genres. It was the word ‘genres’ that got my mom and admittedly, it does seem a rather odd word for a 9-year-old to use… though not really for Ryan. She has a massive vocabulary, which she utilizes to its full capacity, and has since she was very small. She’s not being pretentious; she just loves words, which I find very cool, as I obviously do, too. Her father uses as few as possible (and usually the same annoying ones over and over and over), so I’m glad she got that quality from me.
In addition to having a big vocabulary, Ryan tends to pronounce even big words correctly. I'd like to say she gets that from me, too, but I can still remember seeing that ‘Hey Vern, know-what-I-mean?’ commercial on TV about 17 or 18 years ago (with that idiot actor, Jim Varney)… do you remember it? He was advertising some product, which he deemed ‘The Epitome of Excellence,’ except that he pronounced ‘epitome’ the way it’s spelled and not the way it’s supposed to sound. I was dumbstruck when I realized that ‘ep-i-tome’ and ‘epit-a-mee’ were the same word! I mean, I always knew what ‘epit-a-mee’ MEANT, I just didn’t know it was spelled ‘epitome’. I guess I just skimmed over it when I read it (I probably ought to have looked it up, eh?). Anyway, that realization wasn’t one of my prouder (or more intelligent) moments and my friend Mel still goes into hysterics when she reminds me of it (which is more often than she really should, given the things I know about her).
There was ONE word Ryan mispronounced when she was small, though. And even though it wasn’t a big word, it was a BIG mispronunciation. Lordy. It happened when she was just about a year old. We were in the bookstore and since she wasn’t quite walking yet, I was carrying her. As we were browsing near the kids’ section, she spied a giant wooden cut-out of Beatrix Potter’s frog, Jeremy Fisher, hanging from the ceiling. She did the bouncy thing in my arms that really little kids do when they get really excited… and bouncing and pointing to the frog, she says (at the top of her lungs… which is still her normal mode of delivery), “Mama!! Look!! FUCK!!! FUCK!!!”
Everyone in the store turned to look at my very loud, very foul-mouthed baby. I said (red-faced and just as loudly as Ryan), “Yes, Ry, that IS a FROG. A big FROG.”
More bouncing and pointing and “FUCK!! FUCK, Mama!!! FUCK!!”
I have never, ever left a Barnes and Noble so quickly in my life.