Tuesday, February 26, 2008

infectious laughter

Nobody needs to tell me Anaya's grandmother was a drama teacher. I probably could have figured it out even if Alan hadn't told me. For instance, today she was telling me something that was, to her, very important. "That's wonderful, Anaya," I answered absently.
"You shouldn't just say 'wonderful,' Mommy," she admonished. "You need to say it like this! She threw her arms in the air. "WON-derful!"
Vocabulary expansion is one of Anaya's hobbies. It's very entertaining, though not always in ways she wants it to be. She loves big words; the more syllables, the merrier. But she doesn't always get them right, resulting in unintentional hilarity at her expense.
Today, during a rather boisterous game of tag, she bumped her lip. It wasn't bad, but it bled a little, so I gave her an ice cube to hold on it. Soon she came to me with a sober announcement. "I think I know what the problem is, Mommy."
"Oh? What is it?" I asked.
"It's pain." This was followed shortly by, "Mommy, it's not funny!"
"'Pain' just means 'owies,' Anaya," I explained.
She returned a few minutes later. "Mommy, the pain is getting worser and worser!" Her eyes widened in staged fear. "I think I need to go to the DOCK-tor."
I assured her she would be fine, that we didn't need to go to the doctor unless there was lots and lots of blood, but the promise was deemed hollow. Soon she was back. "Mommy, I think there is an in-fec-tion," she announced. Once again the information was followed with, "Mommy, it's not funny!" and then, of course, "Mommy, what's an infection?"
Now, I used to think my English skills were sufficient for most of what life threw at me. But I suddenly found myself struggling for words. "Um, an infection is, well, it's when germs get into a cut," I tried to explain lamely. "Then it hurts very badly, and it gets worse and worse." It was no use; I could see the wheels turning, and I couldn't seem to find a way to explain that she didn't have a life-threatening infection, and wasn't going to get one in the next five minutes.
"And is there lots of BLOOD coming down?" a wide-eyed Anaya offered hopefully, making flowing motions down her chest.
"Not exactly, well, not always. It's more like some yellow stuff," I muttered.
"But Mommy, what IS an infection?"
I tried to find pictures of an infected wound on the Internet, but couldn't seem to come up with any. Anaya was getting impatient. "Mommy, what is an infection?"
"The pathological state resulting from the invasion of the body by pathogenic organisms," I spluttered (thank you, Google).
"Oh." She scampered off, satisfied, I suppose, that there were still several big words left in the world to learn.

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