Friday, May 3, 2013

What's Dat Called?

Abby has finally reached the ever-so-exciting phase in which she finds the need to have every little thing named and explained to her.

In the space of one minute, I witnessed her grill her father this morning with the following questions:

"What's dat called?'
"What's dis?"
"What are dey called?"

Once I got over my shock that she had combined proper tense and pronoun in each sentence, I smiled with amusement at her persistence. I had that luxury, since I wasn't the one being pestered. However, even when I am, I consider her endless questions to be a breath of fresh air compared to her other recent tendency, which is to pick her brother's worst behavior, copy it at the most inopportune of times, and defend herself with the argument, "Michael doos it!"

Also, though she may require a seemingly-insane amount of repetition at times, the knowledge that she is gathering is clearly being put to use.

Take, for example, her recent acquisition of dinosaur names. Ever since she received a dino book from Nana on Tuesday, she's made it her mission to learn the name of every animal in the book. While I'm thrilled that she's turning out to be as big a dinosaur fan as I was as a kid, I'm finding that I'm not nearly so gifted as I once was at churning out those crazy names.

I am appalled that these books aren't required to have some kind of pronunciation guide. The age range is supposedly 1+, and though they'll be enjoying the pictures from the time they can hold the pages, any child who has started talking is bound to begin asking the inevitable question: "What's this one called?" and it's the ignorant parent who will have to find an answer.

Cue Tom and me. We're doing our best, but it's the blind leading the blind over here, except in the cases of the species that he and I both knew and loved as kids. But there are a whole lot of new ones, or at least ones I've never heard of before.

Take Euplocephalus. He's one of the first that Abby took an interest in (Tyrannasaurus Rex, was, of course, the original, though she insists that he is, in fact, T-Rex, as all explanations about nicknames and how they work are currently being denied). After my eyes uncrossed, it took me several tries to come up with something resembling what might be the pronunciation (yu-plo-sef-a-lus, maybe?).  No matter whether it's the right one- Abby has adopted it, and thus it shall be (until some day in the future she learns how terribly wrong I was and makes sure to tell me about it). In fact, she adopted it so quickly that as I struggled to remember the name off the top of my head to tell Tom which species she had memorized already, all he had to do was turn to her and ask her to clarify. She, of course, remembered. No problem.

She can also correctly identify Stegoceras (not to be confused with Stegosaurus) and Iguanadon. All in less than a week.

There are about 36 other species in the book. Any guesses as to how long it will take her to memorize those, too?

And can someone lend me a hand (or should I say a tongue) with the pronunciation of these babies?


I've got a precocious two-and-a-half year-old who wants needs to know...