Out of the Mouths of Babes

My kids say cute stuff. Sometimes they say embarrassing stuff, or repeat my own words back to me. I’ve learnt an awful lot about how my words actually sound when they come back out of a child’s mouth. But that aside, mostly my kids say cute stuff.

Orion in particular is an almost never ending source of creativity and amusement. Now that he’s four and has a reasonable grasp of language, I often find my day brightened simply by the things he says.

For example, we’ve been teaching him to read numbers. He can count aloud and recognises written numbers from one to ten without an issue, but we decided to start taking it a step further. This decision stemmed from occasions when he will point at something he sees and say “What’s that number mummy?”

He doesn’t just do this with numbers but also letters and pictures and all sorts of things. I always answer these questions, regardless of topic, with: “What do you think it is?” I have a couple of reasons for this, but the biggest one is that I’m legitimately interested in his point of view. Other reasons include getting him to exercise his own thinking muscles and seeing whether he really knows the object in question or not. There have been quite a few occasions where he’s surprised me with the accuracy of his response and I’ve learnt not to underestimate his intelligence.

So, he’s learning to read more complicated numbers above ten. The other day we were looking at the calendar, and he was saying the number of the dates aloud as he pointed to them. Suddenly he says to me: “I’m going to count backwards now mummy.”

“All right, you try it,” I say. He gets this adorable little frown when he’s thinking very hard and his little finger skips along to a number he recognises.

“Fourteen, thirteen, twelve, onety-one, ten, nine, eight…” and so on he goes. I pause.

“Wait a minute, onety one?” I ask.

“Oh yes mummy, this one.” He points at the eleven.

“I thought that was eleven,” I say.

“No mummy, look, a two and a one together is twenty one, and a three and a one together is thirty one,” he points to the numbers as he goes.

“Yes,” I say. I can see where he is going with this, but I let him play it out in his head.

“So a one and a one together is onety-one!” he throws his hands up in the air in triumph.

“Oh. I thought it was eleven,” I say. He reaches out to pat me on the arm.

“Silly mummy. It’s okay, I showed you,” he says, adding a little sigh for my numerical failure.

I can’t really answer at this point because I’m trying not to laugh. Thankfully he takes my smile as one of approval and there is a round of applause for onety one. The whole event is deemed an overall success and he vacates the area in search of food, even though he’s only just finished an entire honey sandwich.

Now before you start to worry, the next time we did numbers I was prepared to correct him but he said eleven. Part of me was proud at his growth and understanding, but a part of me was also a little saddened, because onety-one is cute and I admired his logical approach. I love to see his mind at work and the adorable things (and sometimes not so much) that come out of his mouth as a result.

What about you? Do your children say unusual and amusing things?

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