Use the Dictionary: When Mommy Mispeaks

19 Jan
Thanks a lot Oxford!!!!

Thanks a lot Oxford!!!!

Growing up a bad speller will spark a love a words if pushed in the right direction. My dad (I thank him daily for this) would NEVER help me spell out a word no matter how nicely I asked. “Look it up in the dictionary” was his response. A horrible speller himself he would watch me spend hours trying to figure out how to spell “notice” or “Arkansas”. My mother on the other-hand was a champion speller and would yell at me for selecting a less complicated word out of pure “lazy spelling.”  The end result was that I fell in love with dictionaries.

I became that teenager, like Ione Skye in Say Anything, who would check off words I have looked up in my massive dictionary. Ironically most of those braincells that were used to absorb that information were wiped away later in my Junior year. The greatest college graduation present I received was a massive hardbound Oxford Dictionary. So, of course when my children were born I aimed to pass on this little obsession to my kids.

I set up rules about making up words, looking up words you can’t spell and the use of a Junior Scrabble board. Well thanks to Oxford Dictionaries and my own mistakes along the way my kid has started to use the term “Selfie” and jumps up when ever anyone is taking a photo and shouts “photo bomb”. The two words have made it into the dictionary along with “fauxhawk”, “digital detox” and “phablet”. I know that they are used everyday, but it is just hard when your 5-year-old asks to have your phablet to take a selfie to not place judgement on society, or myself for that manner since I have now begun saying selfie out loud (I am ashamed of my behavior) – the photo bomb I can blame on my nephew.

It all reminds me of an episode of the late 1990s Disney cartoon Recess. In one episode T.J. and the kids get busted by the adults for saying “that whomps”. The parents and teachers get all up in arms over the use of the word and accuse the kids of swearing, the kids argue that it is just a way to explain something negative without swearing. I remember making up words as a kid. It was fun. But I also remember discovering a new word in the dictionary that perfect described something and adding it into my everyday conversations.

I guess it is time to purchase a new dictionary and start discovering more words that will have my kids’ approval.

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