From the constantly churning mind of a three-year-old:
3-y-o: Mama, what is speck–spentacular?
Me (trying to figure out a way to explain it so that a 3-y-o can understand, and won’t be tripped up by even more difficult words): Spectacular? It means great, wonderful, really fabulous.
3-y-o: Am I spentacular?
To which I responded, “Of course”, of course.
I was attentive to this little exchange for a couple of reasons.
One, it goes to show that kids can be self-conscious and aware/concerned, at any age, of how others perceive them. My son, more than his sister at that age, seems particularly more concerned about how we—and especially, I—perceive him. I’ve been noticing for the past half-year or so that whenever I reprimand him, he bursts into tears and cries, “But do you love me?” His sister, who can be very sensitive much of the time, has always taken discipline more stoically. Or perhaps that’s because she’s always gotten in less trouble than he, and hasn’t been disciplined as much.
The second reason why I remember that conversation was that it made me realise how much his vocabulary has been growing recently. Much like his sister, he enjoys word play, puns, jokes involving such, and asking about the meaning of words, then using them correctly. He’s even more fortunate in that he has his sister—i.e., someone closer to his age than his parents—talking to him constantly and explaining things like a little teacher. So along with “spectacular”, this month, he’s been saying things like, “I’m anxious to do that tomorrow”, and “I regret that I didn’t choose the red one.” It reminds me of how amazed I was when I first heard my daughter correctly use terms like “in fact” and “actually”, at his age.
In short, the little minds of kids are quite spectacular.