You think he learned this in school?

by DaniGirl on June 25, 2007 · 7 comments

in Ah, me boys

We’re driving back from the Carp Farmer’s Market, a bag containing fudge and homemade salsa and fresh cukes and tomatoes at my feet. The boys are chattering in the back seat as we meander through the back roads bisecting rolling countryside.

“Mom, I know how to say cow in French,” Tristan informs me as we pass a herd of Holsteins noshing in a nearby field.

“Oh yes?” I ask. “How do you say cow in French?”

Vache!” he announces with authority. I confirm he’s right, and tell him that the French word for horse is cheval. The boys continue to discuss French and English for a while, until out of the blue, Simon asks me the French word for penis. I am neither entirely that the version of the term I know colloquially is the appropriate clinical translation nor sure that my 3 and 5 year olds need it in their vocabulary, so I tell him I’m not sure.

“R-3-8-H-M,” says Simon. “That spells PENIS!”

I decline to comment. Tristan does not.

“No, no, Simon,” Tristan says. “This is how you spell penis.” He thinks for a minute. “P-E-N-N-E. That spells penis. Oh wait, there’s an S too. Um, P-E-N-N-S. That spells penis. Yep, P-E-N-N-S spells penis.”

I shoot a look at Beloved, who is concentrating very hard on the empty road in front of us, the little muscle in his jaw flickering in the effort not to laugh. Personally, I’m conflicted. Spelling words out loud is a new talent of Tristan’s. Do I praise his effort? Celebrate the mentorship over his younger brother? Correct his spelling? Feign deafness and ignore the entire exchange?

Some milestones are more ignominious than others. We continue through the pastoral countryside, both boys misspelling penis at the top of their lungs. I can hardly wait for the 10-hour road trip.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 BeachMama June 25, 2007 at 1:31 pm

I would have had to pull over. Do you go to the coast this weekend? we may cross each other on the highway. Us on our 9 hour drive you on your 10 ;).

2 Barbara June 25, 2007 at 2:06 pm

Way better to hear them spell penis at this age then to try and have age appropriate discussion of sex and associated diseases with them used to little boy names for their penis. Better get the embarrassment out of the way when there isn’t much at stake. Now for 10 hours …. Good luck.

3 nancy June 25, 2007 at 4:22 pm

I am suddenly craving penne for lunch.
The pasta version.

4 hw June 25, 2007 at 8:38 pm

I got a really good laugh at this one. Kids are hilarious.
Have you heard of the penis game? Tweens and teens love this one. Basically, a group of kids start out and at first penis is said in a whisper. Each time its said thereafter it gets a little bit louder until its shouted. Also, the momentum moves from slow to faster.
This usually works best when played at night after lights out often at summer camp or at sleepovers. They seem to think that the adults cannot hear them. But, penis seems to be a word that reduces girls to fits of uncontrollable giggles and provides hours of endless amusement. It doesn’t seem that the game can be played with any other word.

5 Karen June 26, 2007 at 2:07 pm

I think I would have rolled the car – your kids are just adorable. Good spellers … likely have a future in writing like their mom 🙂

6 Sayre June 27, 2007 at 5:17 pm

Correct their spelling!!!! The more comfortable they are with the word (and their… apparatus), the better for you down the road. We, unfortunately, had to become quite adept at dealing with penises (penii?) when my son had to be circumcised at age 5. Not fun. But he was able to articulate things about his surgery, his pain, and the maintenance of said – which made it a little easier for everyone.
that said – this was absolutely hilarious! You should run a tape recorder some during your 10 hour trip. Some conversations that happen during a long trip like that are priceless.

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