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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it.

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« Everything is true except for the part about the mustache. | Main | You wanted me to post more, so this is what you get. »
Thursday
Jul142005

Yes, my son. The English language, she is a bitch.

This morning: Henry leads me to his train set, having detached each track piece from the next until all is chaos on the Island of Sodor.

“What happened?” I ask, and he waves his arm over the destruction and explains, “I broked it up… I had brokened it. It got breaked? It breakened--” And then he sighs and concludes, “I got it all up broke.”

This is nothing. You should see his spelling.

Reader Comments (42)

I love the kidspeak. My four year old still has a few of those little things that throw him. I don't want them to ever go away!
July 14, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterbuffi
I can't persuade my 5-year-old to quit with the "I hadded to" formation.

You gotta start teaching Henry German, with the verbs that have prepositiony prefixes that get split off and moved elsewhere in the sentence. And many fun past tense thingies. As we like to say around here (in fake German), "Mein Auto ist gebroken." Henry might try "Meine Tracken sind ausgebroken."

Also, what the hell does "Sodor" mean? Is that, like, one town over from Sodom? Does Thomas ever go down the tracks from Sodor to Gomommah? Do the train engines smile when they get sodorized? I'm just wondering.
July 14, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterOrange
My favorite expression from my son's early years was the time he was angry with the cat because he was licking him and got "tongue water" on him.
July 14, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLoose String
That is so sweet -- he obviously wants so much to use the right words. What a love.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterBeth
Hey, at least he was trying to conjugate! Which was, of course, completely adorable. ::grin::
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
I think "I got it all up broke" will be my new favorite Work Desk Destruction Phrase. Thanks, Henry!
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterEm
I like the it breakened personally.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterga girl
Yes, the english language is a bitch. I spent my childhood years saying saLLLLmon instead of saHHHmon because of my immigrant parents. And no one bothered to tell me that they were laughing at me behind my back.

Henry is such a sweetie.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterhalloweenlover
My favorite word for it's-not-right-ness is "keflurgity" (sp?). As in, "What's going on with your shorts, there? They're all keflurgity!" I have caught my daughter scolding my son, "Stop that, you're keflurgiting everything!"

But Henry's judicious trial of all the possible variations is EVEN CUTER!
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMir
Omigod! I'm still laughing! This is the cutest thing I've heard about all day.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterliz
breakened is the logical conclusion - i applaud him.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commentermathew
I just had to turn down my protective lurk-sustaining system for this.Because it's funny, yes, but mostly because of the reference to the german language.

Yes, I am German, and yes, it can be a bloody challenging language. The above mentioned prepositiony prefixes are fun, but just wait until it comes to punctuation - or even better, combine both for so much more excitement!

"I think it was wrong to do this" - plain, simple."Ich glaube, es war falsch, dies tu tun."Same meaning, nearly same word order, just these to little commas (Did you see this nice little infinitive with "zu"?). Believe me, this confuses a lot of Germans, too - and it was just a simple sentence.

So where was my point? A, yes. Erm. I like these stories. I'm afraid I turned into a fan of a Blog. A Blog-reader. Me.Brrr. This is frightening; I always thought this is something other people do.

Well, anyway, I'm sort of addicted now, and I spend most of my time in my germam office reading your archives (By the way, I found you searching for information about a muppet with AIDS...ah, never mind).

Believe me, it's hard to speak viz your german Kollegen in prroperr langvich after rreading 1 hour of finslippy. Vot is it viz zis "being finslippy" anyvay?

Boy, I should stop now.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterHerr Metik
Oh, the German language! It's the one of my five reading languages that consistenly throws me. So much art history is in German and I constantly have to look words up in the Dictionary and attempt to figure out why-oh-why are those commas in that sentence! Thank you, Herr Metik, for telling me you all struggle too.

My struggles are not nearly as cute as Henry struggling to find the right the conjugation. That is definitely one smart cookie you have there.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa
Aw.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commentervictoria
My son went through a long period of saying "that's why" rather than "because". "Why is so-and-so your girlfriend?" "That's why I love her."



July 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterNobody
he is aware of several options. the boy displays many qualities found in the genius mind. send him to college. he's ready. but remind him that he is underage and drinking of alcoholic beverages will not be tolerated unless mommy can tag along.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterhonestyrain
Hey, he was conjugating!
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterRunning2Ks
I know the feeling. Sadly, I went to college.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterSarcastic Journalist
umm, i have a graduate degree in english (okay, literature) and i still talk like that sometimes.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commentersweetney
my boyfriend and i always say "slef" instead of self. i cant remember why or how it started.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commenteraderyn
teaching English to kiddos that don't speak the language provides all sorts of creative and, I dare say, more interesting uses of our language.

For example... He my lover but very fool guy.

I get it and I could correct it but I also like it so on a selfish day I might say nothing.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMeredith
In the final hours at the office on a Friday, this is exactly what I needed to read. Thanks, Henry and Alice, for the laugh!
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterC
All this reminds me of the David Sedaris essay on adults learning French and trying to explain Easter traditions to each other, with phrases like, "He called himself Jesus and then he died one day on two morsels of lumber. . . . He died one day, then he went above my head to live with your father." and so on. Language in general appears to be a bitch, no matter the language or the age. But Henry's got a good start going : )
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterBabelBabe
My six year-old son recently amazed me with his skill and dexterity in reconfiguring his Japanese fighter robot. I asked him how he figured it all out. "That's easy, I just looked at the destructions."

Exactly.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterIan Kennedy
I love how he at least tried all sorts of different combonations before resigning himself.
July 15, 2005 | Unregistered Commenterchasmyn

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