Category Archives: Learning

Questions and answers


Liz asks me questions all the time, because she’s four.   I ask her questions, too, under the pretense of stimulating her mind and increasing her vocabulary.  Really, I’m just mining for funny stuff.  So here are some questions and answers.


Liz:  What do pigs eat when they’re not at a farm or at someone’s home?

Me: [consults the googles]  Dude!  They’re walking garbage disposals!  Feral hogs, pigs that don’t live on farms or in homes, eat EVERYTHING.  They eat plants, bugs, dead animals, lizards, amphibians, birds, and small mammals.

Liz:  That’s not good.  They should only eat healthy foods.


Me:  Liz, which of Santa’s reindeer are girls?

Liz:  Maybe if we’re really strong, we could flip the reindeer over and see which ones have girl parts and which ones have boy parts.


Me:  I’m sick.  I have strep.

Liz:  Awww, poor fing!  Are you really sick?  If you get two streps, will you DIE?!

Me:  …………………………!


Me:  Why do all Taylor Swift songs sound the same?

Liz:  Because maybe she likes songs that all sounds the same.  Or maybe she doesn’t know how to make other songs.


Liz:  Who made Target?

Me:  Builders.

Liz:  Oh.  What are their names?

Me: ………………………!  I don’t know.

Liz:  Well, who made all the streets and the parking lots?  And who makes the houses?  Hey, WHO MADE COLORADO?!


Liz:  Sometimes robots make cars.  I saw it on How It’s Made.  And sometimes robots make buses, too.  Do the robots that make cars talk to the robots that make buses?

Me:  I’m sure they could share information if they had to…


Liz:  What is your car saying?

Me:  What.

Liz:  What is she finking in her brain?

Me:  Cars don’t have brains.

Liz:  Well if she had a brain and a mouf, she could talk.  So what is your car saying?

Me:  Ok…she’s saying, “It’s such a wonderful day for a drive across town!”


Thanksgiving weekend silliness


Liz’s thoughts on the Thanksgiving Day parade:

“MOM!  We have to go there and watch the parade at there, outside!  It’s in New York City.  That’s where Sesame Street is!  I will go there and ride on a float.”

But that wasn’t enough:

“Mom, maybe I could live at New York City.  I could have an apartment with fabulous girlfriends in it, and I could watch the parade at my apartment or I could be on the Sesame Street float.”  I asked her what her job would be, since living in NYC is expensive.  “I could just be on TV all the time.”


Punkin Chunkin:

I left the following message on Dad’s facebook wall:  Your daughter is designing Punkin Chunkin machines, including one so big that the operator must take an elevator to the top of the machine to load it.  She thinks you’ll build it, Twin Bro will “do the science and the maf,” and I will keep everyone safe.  ^_^

(Dad is the type of guy who thinks “No User Serviceable Parts Inside” means “There is fun stuff for me to play with in here!”)

She kept talking about “flying dust” for the pumpkins.  It took a little bit of ferreting out, but once she described putting the flying dust in the cannon to make the pumpkin go, I figured out that she was talking about gunpowder.  “Oh, that’s okay, Mom.  You’ll be there to keep everyone safe.”


Thanksgiving dinner itself, on our national bird:

Aunt:  Did you know that our founding fathers almost made the wild turkey our national bird, instead of the bald eagle?

Liz:  NO WAY.

Aunt:  What do you think of that?  Would you want a turkey as our national bird?

Liz:  I don’t know.

Aunt:  Well, what do you think of the bald eagle?

Liz:  I don’t know, I’ve never tried it before.


Black Friday:

Mom:  Can you believe that?!  There are people camping outside in tents, just so they can go to that store in the middle of the night and push and shove each other around to buy things they don’t need because they’re getting a deal.

Liz:  Oh, yeah, Mom.  We should do that so we could buy lots of things and get deals.


We did NOT go shopping.  We went to the science museum instead.  I took Liz to see the gems and minerals, which has become the Hall of Sparkly Things That Liz Really Really Wants.

“MOM!!  Did you see all that gold?  I want ALL OF IT.   And the diamonds, and the amethysts because they’re purple and I like purple now, and the silver, and the crystals…Mom, you should write down that I want all that gold for Christmas.”


Twin Bro is applying to medical school and I’m helping him proofread his application essays:

Liz:  What are you doing?

Mom:  I’m helping Twin Bro with his medical school application.  He’ll be telling medical schools why they should teach him how to be a doctor, so his answers need to be written well, with no mistakes.

Liz:  MOM.  Why isn’t he going to be a scientist?

Mom:  Well, because he likes people.  He likes to be nice to people and help them.  He wants to figure out why they’re sick and make them feel better and be healthy.

Liz:  Oh, okay.  Well, he should work at a kids doctor, so he could be nice to kids.

Liz’s latest good idea


“Hey Mom, I just got a great idea!  What if buildings had rectangles in them that were on the ground?  That way, kids could watch all the bugs!  Grownups could watch them too.  And the rectangles would be clear like windows, so we could see through them and see what the bugs are doing.

We should tell the builders that!  You should find the people who build all the stores and daycares and houses, and tell them to put windows that look at the dirt so that everyone could learn something.”

Learning the wrong lesson


The other day at daycare, Liz got hurt.  Her daycare center is going through some remodeling, and the contractor was fixing the big lighthouse on the playground.  The teacher told the kids to stay away, but Liz went in there anyway.

Somehow, Liz got hit in the face with a board!  It got her mouth, her chin, and her neck. 

When the teacher told me about it, I figured that getting hurt is punishment enough for being where she wasn’t supposed to be.  I kept her inside for the night, gave her some soft pasta for dinner because her tooth hurt, and put her to bed early.

The next morning, we were getting ready to go back to daycare.  I asked how her face felt.  She told me it didn’t hurt anymore.  I asked her what she learned from her accident the day before.

She said, “Eating healthy foods and resting will make me feel better!”


She eventually got the lesson that she should listen to her teachers when they say to stay away from something, but I had to spell it out for her.


Liz had me do math problems last night.  There are a bunch of addition, subtraction, and multiplication problems in her Hello Kitty coloring book.  This happened…
Liz:  Mom, you should do all this maf.
Me:  Okay.  [does all the problems while thinking out loud…arithmetic was never my strong point]
Liz:  Are you all done?  [looks at problems]  Oh, wow, that was very good!  Here, you can have a sticker.  [puts Hello Kitty sticker on my shirt]  Now everyone knows you’re a big fan of Hello Kitty.  And if they ask, you can say you got it because you did your maf.  Good job!

How Liz acquired the words to bring the funny


(A friend of mine asked me some questions about Liz’s language development last year, when Liz had just turned three.  This is what I wrote back. –Mom)

I have been reinforcing language with Liz ever since she was a baby.  I knew it would be frustrating to deal with a baby who couldn’t articulate what she wanted, so I consciously decided that she needs to learn language ASAP.
I started talking to her once I got enough sleep to string together a coherent sentence.   When she was three months old, I went back to work.  I worked overnight, and would get home as she was waking up.  I’d talk to her as I was feeding her:  “Hi, Miss Elizabeth!  Did you have a good night?  Did you sleep?  I hope so!  I worked all night.  I told the ambulances where to go.  My friend was nice to me, she gave me a hug!  I know YOU like hugs, you’re a snuggly baby.”  …and so on.
We’ve been reading to Liz since the day she was born.  I remember Dad reading Dr. Seuss books to Liz in the hospital.  When one of us was up with her during the day, and she was in the mood to be awake but we were in the mood to read our own books or magazines, we’d read aloud to her from those.  She’s heard bits and pieces of the Harry Potter series, a little bit of Noam Chomsky, and a few articles about swimsuit shopping and makeup (don’t judge!).
I’ve always pointed things out to Liz.  I’m sure I looked silly walking through the grocery store, pushing a cart with a car seat in it, talking about yummy green broccoli and big, heavy jugs of milk.  I talked to her in a high, animated tone of voice, but didn’t dumb down any of the words I used. 

I am SO glad that Liz can pronounce most words now.  When she was about 18 months old, we were watching a DVD.  She kept saying, “Mushum.  Mushum.”  I told her I didn’t understand her.  She started pointing at the TV.  “Mushum!  Muh shum!”  I still didn’t get it.  She stomped up to the TV and started yelling at it and making the sign for “more”.  “MUH SHUM! WANT SHUM! SHUM!”  Finally, I realized that Barney was on, and she was telling me that she’d rather watch Fireman Sam again.  :facepalm:
She used to call every black cat a “Billie” and every tabby cat a “Moe,” after the black cat and the tabby cat at home.

Since she’s been going to daycare, she’s been picking up all kinds of new stuff.  She calls her pacifier a “binky” because that’s what her friend L calls it.  She used to call her Crocs “clogs” because that’s what Grandma M taught her, but since she’s been going to daycare, they’re “Crocs.”
She went for a walk with Twin Bro around Christmas (she was about 2 1/2).  Twin Bro lives in a neighborhood with old houses, some of which have lions out front.  Some of the lions had bows on them for Christmas.  Liz called the plain lions “lions,” but the ones with bows were “Christmas dogs.”  She told Twin Bro, “Santa comes and brings us presents.  The presents has bows on them…just like little dogs has!”
Now she’s learning grammar, and is in that stage where she knows the rules, but not the exceptions.  So she’ll say things like “runned” or “swimmed” instead of “ran” or “swam.”   She’ll tell me, “I want to go to home” (or “I want to go to [our address]” if she thinks she needs to emphasize), or “I want to stay at here.” 

She’s also learning expressions.  The other night, she told Dad, “I shouldn’t worry about taking a bath tonight.”