Word perfect

There was a time – not so long ago - when Zane’s vocabulary was very much a work in progress. We were constantly telling him the names of things in our surroundings and he sucked up the new words as eagerly as he did banana smoothies. 

We had a little person who listened to every word we said and carefully noted how the sounds rolled out of our mouth.

Sometimes the new phrases he heard weren’t perfectly stored in his fledgling mental dictionary. To Zane, the device that changed the TV channel was “The Fat Controller”. When he was offered horse radish at dinner he knowledgeably informed us that he didn’t like “horse rubbish”

But overnight, Zane knew absolutely everything. He started correcting us. All the time! I thought I had at least ten years of being a fervent fountain of useful information about our world and that it wouldn’t be until he was a teenager that everything that I said was wrong.

I didn’t even make it to four years. The fervent fountain was a derelict dribble.

This was all a bit inconvenient as we were in the process of teaching Beau the basics: if I pointed out a “car” to Beau, Zane would very condescendingly note that it was a “Jeep”.

“Look Beau, there’s a bird”, I’d enthuse, but Zane would correct me: “Dad, that’s NOT a bird, that’s an ibis”.

It was a bit like having a live Microsoft Word word-check on everything I said. 

Now I couldn’t tell Zane off for repeatedly interrupting my fatherly education for Beau: he was simply repeating what I’d taught him.

(I must say, though, Zane didn’t rectify everything we said; there were times when he never corrected us. Whenever I said something like, “Zane, you are a clever boy, aren’t you!” he heartily agreed: “I am daddy, I am!”)

However, the constant corrections weren’t just to satisfy his need to perfect everything we said. The little smarty-pants used it to deflect being told off for something he shouldn’t be doing. 

On one memorable occasion, when Jas stopped him from performing a particular activity, he haughtily informed her that: “I’m NOT playing with my penis mummy, I’m playing with my SCRO-TUM!”

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