Monday, October 29, 2007

Simplicity

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I laughed hysterically the first time I saw that. That is my humor in a nutshell. Stating the obvious. Because there is humor in the obvious, isn't there?

And it dawned on me that this is perhaps the best example of the way a child's mind works. You say, "Find X." Not, "Solve for x." Nope. "Find X."

"Here it is." Simple.

Subtlety and nuance are lost on children, yet we expect them to understand such things as idioms. I've lost my mind. He hit the books. Her heart was broken. Just figures of speech.

Common. You hear them everywhere.

When I stopped and spoke with the director of Ethan's school this morning, she said, "He's a very literal boy. He requires very specific instructions."

In other words, she believes idioms are somewhat of an enigma to him.

I'm not so sure about that. We have a wonderful book by Tedd Arnold called "More Parts" (buy it at Amazon today, together with the first book, "Parts", for the low, low price of $11.98!) which deals with this very subject.

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We chuckle at the part where the grandma tells her grandson to hold his tongue, or when the dad asks his son to give him a hand. And I say, "Does he really want his son to take off his hand and give it to him?"

Ethan laughs and says, "No, help him." At least as far as the idioms in the book go, he gets it.

But I will definitely be more mindful in the future of what I say to him. Like when I say, "You're driving Daddy to drink." Instead I'll say, "You're causing Daddy frustration, which leads him to drink."

Yeah. That's much clearer.

19 comments:

Jennifer said...

This reminds me of a joke my son told me once...

Q: What did the little dog say to the big dog?
A: Woof!

Avery Gray said...

See? That's my kind of joke! Or this...

A tomato walks into the bar. Bartender says, "Sorry, we don't serve food here."

*snicker*

As you can imagine, it kills at parties!

Joeprah said...

I think it is probably a better idea to cut the middle man out and just ask your child to bring their father a drink before you talk to him.

Shannon aka loveyh said...

Oooh, I like Joeprah's idea!!

Bec said...

I'm a very literal person, there are days when someone will talked to me and use an idiom and it'll take me a second to figure out what they mean.

I would say, don't worry, I'm okay, but I've learned not to use myself as an example ;)

Bec said...

A man walks into a bar...and was released from hospital the next day.

Rimarama said...

Oh, I freakin' love that diagram! I am idiom challenged myself, English being my second language and all.

dawn224 said...

oh I need to think of some of our greats from school...

Deb said...

I'm so literal I can totally identify.

cate said...

okay, that diagram almost made me spit my drink all over my keyboard...hilarious!

ummm..correct me if i'm wrong...but don't kids tend to be pretty literal...until they're older?

Pinky With a Brain said...

you are too funny!

R said...

That's very interesting because my Oldest son is obsessed with idioms. He is so literal that he was confused by them for a good length of years, but since he understands now that they are things we say as a society that don't have a literal meaning, he could sit and read idioms all day and test them out.

I, on the other hand, was raised in a home where they were never spoken, so I have no clue what Dear Sir is saying half the time. I am always asking him what he is talking about and he says stuff like, "Oh man, you don't know that one?" He is always pulling out a new one and I can't keep up. Looks like I need to study them myself!! LOL!!!

newnorth said...

:) I was always fond of "a horse of a different color." My Mom was an english teacher and put drawing up on the wall of literal translations. That one being a horse standing there while I guy paints him with a brush. I kinda liked the cat running off with a huge tongue too :p

Sheila said...

My kids (and yes me and my husband too) loved Parts and More Parts! They are hilarious!!

Jod{i} said...

...i can't stop chuckling..This is all so true. And to think, we, were once so literal.

;)

Jodi

Radioactive Jam said...

I love that math solution. To show my gratitude I too will tell a Joke.
Q: What's the last thing to enger a bug's mind when it hits a windshield?
A: Its back legs.

Radioactive Jam said...

And of COURSE it was supposed to be 'enter.'

At least I have an excuse now if someone reads it and doesn't get it.

Mert said...

Yup, I'm very literal at times too. We LOVE both of those books and I think we even have Even More Parts too!

SNORT Driving daddy to drink, you slay me. :D

Heather, Queen of Shake-Shake said...

Hmmm...I wonder why the director didn't say, "The worksheets need better instructions."

I mean...duh. It did say FIND it. snort