Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Game Changer

"Simplified spelling is all right, but, like chastity, you can carry it too far." -Mark Twain

This is it. I am done for. I have lost my ability to effectively communicate with My Director... in front of Peanut. We have been speaking the same language pretty much since Peanut was born. And now, the kid's in on it. Peanut just started Kindergarten, but she can already spell.

This is the game changer.

Tastes a lot better that it spells
One night last weekend I asked My Director if we should "go out for I-C-E-C-R-E-A-M." And Peanut immediately jumped in with, "We're getting ice cream?!" Yes, apparently we are.

Now, granted, when you spell ice cream it SOUNDS a lot like "ice cream." So Peanut is no prodigy aiming to be the youngest ever to compete in the National Bee in Washington, D.C. next year. There are plenty of words she can't spell. And there's that little detail about not being able to read yet. (Although: she did just read a book to me last night, almost all herself.) Still, the game has changed.

It's only a matter of time. What am I going to do? Once she's able to spell, how am I going to name people, then disparage them, in front of her? How am I going to swear? How am I going to have any thoughtful or even mildly controversial conversation with My Director with our burgeoning little blonde-haired dictionary monitoring my every letter?

That's not even the worst of it.

While we already have a code for - ahem - "the bedroom," there's nothing in our secret lexicon for, "Your mom is crazy." There's "Why does she have to be so C-R-A-Z-Y?" There's no code for "Should we just order Chinese food?" (Because Chinese food is Peanut crack.) There's "Should we just get C-H-I-N-E-S-E?" And as if on cue, as I write this My Director just said, "He's a D-O-U-C-H-E," while watching a story about about Michael Phelps. Soon that's all going to change.

Thanks to spelling, words like "stupid," "idiot," and "a$$hole" now roll of my tongue one letter at a time like a familiar Starbucks order. I've even grown accustomed to spelling E-F-F-U instead of "f*ck you" because, you know, it's classier.

Peanut's got brains and she knows how to use them. It's only a matter of time before our spelling language goes the way of Sanskrit. But I do have a solution. It's not going to be easy, but we have no choice. We're going to have to brush up on our Pig Latin. For the sake of our S-A-N-I-T-Y. We need to ixnay on the ellingspay.

This post originally appeared last month on You Know It Happens at Your House Too. For another one of my snarky takes on one of Peanut's milestones, check out this post from her Pre-K stepping up ceremony.


  1. Rarely have truer words been spoken. I've been through it and it happened far too early for my taste. In 4th grade now, my daughter learns to spell more and more difficult words all the time. I've long since run out of ones she doesn't understand. Sad really, and I was an English Major

  2. It's all over now.... wait until she is amazed by something and she exclaims O-M-G! Yes, it's true... she will eventually talk in text.

  3. The hubs and I now text things we don't wish the mini me's to hear. Although the 10 year old has gotten wise to it and peeks over shoulders to read for himself. ..

  4. When my now-4-year-old was about 18 months, she got hip to one of our spellings. As chinese is crack to Peanut, chips were to our Ladybug. So at about 9 or 10 months we started spelling. Suddenly one day I say "Hey, how about some c-h-i-p-s and d-i-p?" And Ladybug comes running in from the other room (yes, she wasn't even standing there!!) Yelling at me "Mommy! Mommy! Chips! Chips! Chips!" :( sad... oh, or when I say "That girl is a s-l-u-t" and she, without missing a beat, said "Yeah, she's a s-l-u-t!" eep. 'cause there's no way outta that one, no "oh, she misunderstood me" you don't misunderstand spelling out a word like slut. ya just don't.


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