Posy by Jessica R.

My 4-year-old has decided that I am her dictionary. At all hours of the day I find myself quizzed on the spelling or the meaning of words. Even the little one has taken to asking me what certain things spell, which just cracks me up because she’s two, what does she know of spelling?

Now the older one does know because she’s trying hard to teach herself to read. She also happens to be terribly inquisitive and never misses anything. The spelling thing is challenging. I’ve never been a good speller and I’ll admit that I sometimes check spell check before answering her. Sadly it’s not always as easy to find the perfect 4-year-old appropriate definition for a word as it is to find the spelling.

I’m not one to use baby talk around them so my daughters are often exposed to “big” words. I usually try to put them in context so that they can infer the meaning from my sentence, but at times I fall short and she asks me to explain.

Recent words I’ve had to explain: Community, Church, Vehicle, and airborne.

Now, the issue doesn’t lie in explaining the word, the issue lies in figuring out how much to explain it. She doesn’t always want a theological lesson on places of worship and who people are worshipping. Sometimes she just wants the quick answer and frankly sometimes we just have time for the quick answer. But I never want to leave her without an answer so I have to find something succinct and complete that’s not over her head, but still answers the question.

Not always an easy task.

Have you turned into a walking mom-dictionary? What fun words have you found yourself trying to explain recently?

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Category: General Information, Mom Talk
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One Response to

  1. Maria says:

    Oh thank you, this was such a refreshing post. I am also inundated with these questions from sunrise to sunset and they really are growing in their complexity. On one hand it is refreshing to know her little mind is stretching so far and so fast and still looking to me to help provide context but on the other it can be perplexing to define concepts that I myself have trouble explaining to other adults. How do you explain poverty when she is barely aware of monetary concepts. Why some people only eat vegetables, what is China… Oh it’s like discovering the world all over again when I have to contemplate the simple, core meanings of the world around me in words that my four (soon to be five) year old can understand.

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