Listening To My Kids Is Like Reading Dr. Seuss: A Whole Lot of Amusing Nonsense

I love hearing the boys trying out new words; they’re so innocent and adventurous and oblivious about it. Evan’s favorite new word is “ta-da!” This he says with the widest smile and proudest inflection at every turn, whether it’s a moment fitting a magician’s greatest reveal or not.

When he finishes “reading” to himself and closes the book:  “Ta-da!”

When he spills smoothie all down his pants:  “Ta-da!”

When I lay him on his back and open up his dirty diaper, he smiles up at me proudly: “Ta-da!”

Ironically, Kostyn’s favorite word this week is “nonsense.” Everything is nonsense, and somehow he’s mastered the proper way to channel a cynical old man when saying it. He curls up one side of his mouth in disbelief and adamantly exclaims “Nonsense!” He doesn’t say it in any sort of traditionally appropriate situation, just whenever the mood strikes. Thing is, when you live with two kids under 4, there’s almost always some nonsense going on.

Yesterday Evan managed to put on his snow boots (on the wrong feet, but still on) and came clunking into the kitchen beaming. “Ta-da!” he said, his arms outstretched for effect. At that moment Kostyn swept by with a puppet covering his hand and one of them, I believe it was the puppet, snarkily said, “Nonsense.”

I stopped Kostyn and asked if he knew what the word “nonsense” meant.

“Nonsense?! What?!” he said, surprised that I, his own mother, might not know the definition of this, his favorite word. “Nonsense is the way somebody is missing. That’s nonsense,” he added authoritatively.

“What?” I asked, and he caught the doubt in my voice. His eyes shifted sideways for a moment, the gears whirring inside, searching for an alternate definition.

“I know all about nonsense,” he said finally. “It’s the way ... Aughalgh!” he said, suddenly falling dramatically to the floor. Then he stood up. “That’s nonsense.”

“Ta-Da!” Evan chimed in, completely amused.

I guess sometimes they do get it right.

Kostyn glanced at his little brother, clearly pleased that he had an audience, and the puppet flapped its paper mouth — “Bye. Bye.” — before the two of them disappeared.

“Wow,” I said to Evan, loud enough for Kostyn to hear me. “That was silly, huh?”

“Yeah!” Evan said, galloping around in a circle in his ill-fitting boots.

“NONSENSE!” called the curmudgeonly 3-year-old from the other room.

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