Alice In Winter Wonderland

, , , , | Related | December 20, 2018

(I have two nieces: Eve, aged two, and Alice, aged six months. It’s just before Christmas.)

Niece’s Mum: “So, tomorrow is Christmas Eve…”

Eve: “And Christmas Alice!”

Keeping It In The Family Circle

, , , , , | Related | December 20, 2018

(I’m visiting my extended family for the holidays. Nobody bothered to get things ready for the upcoming party, so a handful of my relatives and I are hectic, running around the house, cooking and decorating. Since we’re so busy, my young cousin is left without supervision in the living room, and is currently drawing gigantic circles on the wall.)

Me: “[Cousin]! Look at this mess! You can’t just go and draw such big circles on the walls!”

Cousin: “Sowwy…”

(I leave and come back sometime later. He’s still drawing circles, but this time, they’re the size of pennies.)

Me: “[Cousin], stop that! Your dad will be mad!”

Cousin: “Okay.”

(I left and came back yet again. He was nowhere to be seen, but he’d left a message on the wall. It read, “Don’t be mad, Daddy.”)

Searching Passively

, , , | Related | December 12, 2018

(When my daughter is about a year-and-a-bit old, she starts doing what every kid does sometimes: she starts to misplace her pacifiers often. For that reason, we have pacifiers designated for the cars, attached to the seats with straps, and at least one in the glove compartment. Every jacket I have has at least one in a pocket somewhere. At home, though, we have them all in the same place, so that whenever one is required, we at the very least know where to fetch one, even if it is sometimes very inconvenient to go there and get it. Our young one isn’t too keen on vocalising her desires, except when it comes to expressing severe displeasure. But she is d*** good at gestures and facial expressions. The normal procedure when she wants a pacifier is to bring one of us into her room and point at the storage box they are all stuffed in. On this occasion, we give her one, and she goes and sits on the sofa for a while, doing typical toddler things like trying the five hundred different ways one can sit on a sofa and finding none of them comfortable. Then she walks away and decides to do… God knows what. And she comes back a minute later… without the pacifier.)

Me: “Where is the pacifier?”

Daughter: *shrugs*

Me: “Where is the pacifier?”

Daughter: *surprised*

Me: “Did you lose the pacifier?”

Daughter: *confusion*

Me: “Fetch the pacifier.”

Daughter: *shakes head*

Me: “Show the pacifier.”

Daughter: *understanding*

(My wife and I both follow the young one into her room. She stands still, right at the centre of the floor.)

Me: “Where is the pacifier?”

(And with that she responded with a facial expression that I quickly decided meant, “Good lord almighty, what kind of stupid are the two of you, really? Don’t you know anything? Anything at all?” and pointed at the storage box. Her language perception wasn’t good enough for us to explain to her that, “Yes, that is the box with the pacifiers, but you had another, and we wanted to find that one,” so we settled for, “Yeah, you are absolutely right. You showed us where the pacifiers are. Good girl. Next time you need one, you can show grandma, too!” We never found that lost pacifier.)

Teaching Them About The Birds And The Beers

, , , , | Learning | December 8, 2018

(I am an American living in China, teaching young kids aged three to twelve. We have two main categories. The first one is based on age. If you’re three, you go to a specific level, same for four or five. The second category is based on skill, and you’re given a proficiency exam to go into it, or a kid ages into it by completing the first category. This takes place in my lowest level of the second category.)

Me: “Okay, guys. We’re going to learn, ‘What’s up?’ It’s like saying, ‘How are you?’ but more fun. Okay, [Student #1], what’s up?”

Student #1: “I’m okay.”

Me: “Good start.”

(I turn to the next student. He tends to learn things a bit slower than the others, so I expect the exact same response.)

Me: “[Student #2], what’s up?”

Student #2: “Birds.”

(I crack up. I have no idea how he knows this.)

Me: “Great, [Student #2].”

(I keep practicing this for several weeks, and each week [Student #2] always says, “Birds,” probably because I always laugh and he likes the positive attention. Finally, I tell him, “No more birds.”)

Me: “Okay, [Student #2], no more birds. What’s up?”

Student #2: *pauses* “Birds and beer!”

(I’ve had quite a few hilarious instances with the kids in China, and their amazing way with playing with the language, but I have no idea where he picked that up from! To this day, it’s one of my highlights of teaching in China.)

Face/Off: The Toddler Edition

, , , , , | Related | November 30, 2018

(I’m driving my three-year-old daughter home after preschool. She’s very quiet and shy, especially around other kids.)

Me: “So, did anything interesting happen at school today?”

Daughter: “Yes.”

Me: “What happened?”

Daughter: “[Other Kid] pushed me.”

Me: “[Other Kid] pushed you?”

Daughter: “Yes.”

Me: “Where?”

Daughter: “In the wood chips.”

Me: “[Other Kid] pushed you in the wood chips?”

Daughter: “Yes.”

Me: “Did you fall down?”

Daughter: “Yes.”

Me: “Are you all right?”

Daughter: “Yes.”

Me: “Did you tell a teacher?”

Daughter: “Yes.”

Me: “Was it Ms. [Teacher]?”

Daughter: “Yes.”

Me: “Okay. Did she do anything about it?”

Daughter: “Yes.”

Me: “What did she do?”

Daughter: *suddenly loud and gleeful* “She grabbed [Other Kid] and taked his face off!

(I have no idea what actually happened. My best guess is that my three-year-old was describing her fantasy vengeance instead of what the teacher really did. And the next time I saw [Other Kid], he still had a face.)

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