Friday, March 9, 2012

Rhinos purple, hippos green...

When my youngest brother was around four or five, my father was very disappointed to learn that my other brother and I had informed Aaron, with requisite elder sibling superiority, I'm sure, that it's "SPA-ghetti" not "PA-sgetti".  When David began to talk, I planted myself firmly in my dad's camp.  Those little guy mispronunciations are precious and fleeting.  When we started homeschooling, though, I had to adjust my stance somewhat.  Now I correct all but the most endearing improper English for the school-aged kids.  This one, however, I left alone.
Brother H:  (Pretty much all of his side of the conversation was in italics, but the emphasis shown here is on words that were italicized-er.)  Mommy, what's destructive-er, an atomic bomb or a GUH-nuclear bomb? 
Older brother:  (with disdain) It's "nuclear bomb" not "GUH-nuclear bomb". 
Brother H:  (no loss of confidence)  Well I call it a "GUH-nuclear bomb". 
Me:  (jumping in before an all out battle over the proper pronunciation of various weaponry)  I'd say a nuclear bomb. 
Brother H:  You mean GUH-nuclear bomb.   
Me:  My bad.  I'd say a GUH-nuclear bomb.
This exchange put me in mind of this Brothers H favorite poem...

Rhinos Purple, Hippos Green

My sister says
I shouldn’t color
Rhinos purple,
Hippos green.
She says
I shouldn’t be so stupid;
Those are things
She’s never seen.
But I don’t care
What my sister says,
I don’t care
What my sister’s seen.
I will color
What I want to-
Rhinos purple,
Hippos green

By Michael Patrick Hearn

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