No one ever told me directly, but I assume that I am “supposed” to correct my children’s language errors. When they say, “I blowed the candles,” I am supposed to gently suggest “blew” because it’s my job to teach them the Queen’s English.
But, sometimes I enjoy their mistakes and can’t bring myself to correct them. Because it’s funny.
And I’ve been burned before. (Like the time I thought it was hilarious that Sadie called Cheese Nips, that cornerstone of healthy snacking, “Cheese Nipples.” I never corrected her because I have an immature sense of humor, but then one day, in front of 8 preschoolers, their mothers and the teachers, Sadie yelled across the room, “Mom, did you bring me some Cheese Nipples for a snack.” Universe 1, Outlaw Mama 0.)
And today I stand on a similar threshold with the latest malapropism that has the potential to be very offensive very soon.
Please behold Sadie’s new jewelry box:
Problem is, she thinks it’s is a “Jewish” box. And the treasures inside: They are “Jews” of course. She just got it so there is time for me to work on the “corrective” experience, but it’s so funny to hear her. When she first opened this early Christmas gift (from her nanny who is leaving for 5 weeks to visit family in Algeria (which will spawn its own post in a few days)), I explained that it was a jewelry box, which is a place to put treasures, called jewels.
I thought I did a good job being both celebratory and didactic, but something got lost in translation.
All day long, I could hear Sadie’s territorial concern for her new box. “Simon, don’t touch my Jewish box!” And my favorite, “My lipstick is my favorite Jew in my Jewish box.”
I don’t have to tax my imagination too much to envision a scenario where this misunderstanding might turn a dark corner. So, I am going to correct it this morning. I think I am going to weave my corrections into our discussion of Hanukkah. I’m thinking the lesson will be more likely to stick if we have it while cleaning our Menorah. (But, I will probably videotape her calling it a Jewish box before the lesson, because posterity may have a sense of humor too.)