Out of the Mouths of Babes

New words, observations, and questions that come out of the mouths of babes often delight us because they show logic that we adults may have missed and might not have expected from such young minds.

New words from the mouths of babes
Our family moved to France when our daughter was barely four years old, and while my husband and I studied French in a formal setting, she learned French at a French preschool. The first phrases she came home with were assiez-toi (sit down), tais-toi (be quiet), and c’est a moi! (it’s mine!) She often tested the last phrase with her older siblings.

After four years in Europe and Africa, we returned to the States. As I recall (and I might be wrong about this) the two older kids helped their their eight-year-old sister learn the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag so she would fit in at her first American school. When you’ve been out of the country for a while, the flag looks so beautiful.

Freedom of Expression
Freedom of Expression

I love it when kids make up new words.

Our four-year-old grandson came out of the bathroom rubbing his hands.
Grandma: Did you wash your hands with soap?
Grandson: No, I used hanitizer.

It was lunch time, and we set the table with still water and fizzy (sparkling) water. At the end of the meal, our three-year-old grandson said, “Could I have some busy water?”

Busy Water
Busy Water

Observations from the mouths of babes
One evening when I was helping our four-year-old daughter get ready for bed, she told me that she was going to be like her two grandmas when she grew up – she’d buy teeth that came out at night and hair that came off. Of course I had to share the story with her grandmas, because they seemed to enjoy hearing their granddaughter’s aspirations as much as I did.

Hair that Comes Off
Hair that Comes Off

When we were on the way to visit grandparents who lived in Longview, our little daughter asked if we were going to stay with them in their compartment. She’d recently learned the word compartment (in the context of glove compartment) and switched it with apartment, which struck us as humorously appropriate because her grandparents had lived in a spacious house for many years and thought their apartment was on the small side.

4th of July Questions
Years ago, we visited the historic sites in Philadelphia with our young children. As we stood in line to see the Liberty Bell, our three-year-old son asked, “What is liberty?” So we explained it meant freedom. Some people ahead of us reverently touched the bell. When we got close to it, he asked, “If we touch it, will we be free?”

Let Freedom Riing
Let Freedom Riing

No, but touching the bell and feeling the crack – sensing the size, hardness, weight, yet vulnerability of its metal – makes us appreciate its place at the beginning of our history, a time when our founders fought for a country where they could live, work, worship, express themselves, and move about freely. That our melting pot of people from all over the world has survived over 200 years still shines as a unique phenomenon.

May God bless America, Land of the Free!

Posted on June 30, 2015

5 thoughts on “Out of the Mouths of Babes

  1. Lovely post!

    One time, we told our 7 year old daughter that we were planning to eat on the college campus where my husband worked. She turned to me and asked, “will we eat at the bacteria?”. We laughed all the way to the cafeteria!

  2. I think we should add “hanitizer” and “busy water” to everyone’s vocabulary!
    My favorite vocabulary gaffe from our son’s preschool days:
    As we were driving to church one Sunday morning, he noticed pedestrians entering a crosswalk along our route. Worried that his Mom was not prepared to slow down or stop the car, he warned “Watch out for the Presbyterians!” To his young ears, there was no distinction between pedestrian and Presbyterian, which was especially funny while driving to church.

    1. Laurie, your anecdote made me chuckle and wonder which daughter said it. Diane, I had to laugh at what Luke said. Glad you enjoyed the post, Judy. Thanks to everyone for your encouragement!

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