Friday, November 19, 2010
A funny, punny world of words
What room should you eat vegetables in?
asks my son, "A mushroom."
Then we have a long discussion on
mushrooms really being fungi, and
discuss very seriously the mushroom's
claim to be a good friend because
he's a fungi and the plural of fungus
being fungi and not fungis and the
necessity for breaking grammatical
rules for jokes until he strategically
tells another joke-"What is a teletubby's
favorite vegetable? A potato. Do you
get it? Because one of the teletubbies
is named Po." This time I refrain from
pointing out that a potato is a tuber.
Words, the meaning and sound of them
are both a delight and a trouble to him
(as I suppose they are to us all, but
I'll avoid that philosophical path here).
He loves his Cat in the Hat Dictionary
and reads it like one of his Dr. Seuss
books, voluntarily and often. He's
had it since he was five.
About a year ago (age 9) he started asking
about the meaning of common words on a
regular basis. I'm still unclear how much
of this is a quest for knowledge and
how much for reassurance. But at
homework time he's started a new
"Let's look in the dictionary,"
he says and does.
I remember my childhood
trips to the mammoth tome
in the living room, but for my
boy with autism, a more
manageable and brightly illustrated
volume makes sense.
We had to model and coach, but
after a year or two he now uses
the book on his own and it's
proved a good investment.
Now if I can just get him
interested in those children's
encyclopedias . . .