Conversations, Grammar


Opposite of “Goodhavior” of course.

Jack has been creating his own dictionary of combined terms. And I think they’re a bit more descriptive than the originals!


me: How was acting class? (Jack started a once-a-week class after school)

Jack: (gives me the guilty look) It was okayyy, why?

me: I’m just asking. Why, what happened? You and Ben weren’t acting up again were you?

Jack: Well, he had a little badhavior, but then he stopped. I was pretty much okay.

me: Badhavior, huh? Interesting word. So if I come to the next class and grab Ben and his Mom, and we all have a talk, what do you think will come out of it?

Jack: OKAY it was all my fault!

(like I don’t know this boy)

me: What was your fault?

Jack: Sigh. We were just trying to come up with our idea for the thing, ya know, and then I grabbed him and his knee went into my face and the lady told me to stop and that was it!

me: What lady?

Jack: The mom that pretends she runs the whole school!

me: Was she a Mom or a PTA lady?

Jack: What’s a Peetay lady?

me: No, PTA for Parent Teacher Association. She works for the school and for the parents, and she’s in charge of the after school programs.

Jack: Anytime there’s a Parentssociation, that can’t be a good thing.

me: That’s not a word you know.

Jack: But it should be.


Last year Jack was worried about these words. Funny to go back and read the old sh*t.



School vs. Home (an ode to vocabulary)

Jack is in 2nd grade. He’s a pretty good speller and knows lots of obscure words and their definitions. His new teacher will be focusing on “trick” spelling words, which are mainly words that most kids have trouble spelling because they’re a little … tricky. Hence the name. However, at HOME, Jack is learning a whole different set of words. These are words from whatever book he’s currently reading. Can you see the difference? Hmmm… Now picture a day where you’re asked to define a new word, oh, every two minutes or so. It’s not like you can brush it off or fake it. This kid really wants to know what these words mean and he won’t give up. I usually have to tell him to read to himself and make a list of words that he doesn’t know and I’ll tell him about them later.

me: Jack, if you don’t know more than 5 words on a page, didn’t your teacher say that maybe the book is too hard for you?

Jack: Yeah, but if I read a book that has only words I know, how will I ever learn anything new?

me: Good point. Carry on.


A sample of Jack’s vocabulary list from school:











Jack’s vocabulary list from home:

Zilch – Jack: What’s zilch mean?   me: Use it in a sentence.   Jack: Father knows zilch. Calvin says that should be a new TV show. I don’t get it.   me: Sigh.

Consistency – Jack: Moms’ rules have no consistency. What’s that mean?   me: It’s a lie.

Fiendish – Jack: What’s “friendish”?   me: Huh? You mean “fiendish”?   Jack: How should I know, I’m asking YOU!

Cholesterol – Jack: Do little boys have lots of cholesterol?   me: Doubtful.   Jack: Well?   me: I said I doubt it.   Jack: I mean “Well what does it mean??”   me: Sheesh.

Commission – Jack: How can you be out of something if you don’t know what it is?

Persuasive – Jack: I’m very pervasive.   me: Yes you are.

Extorting – Jack: Is that like blackmail?   me: How the heck do you know THAT?

Surreal – Jack: What does surreal mean?   me: Weird and unnatural.   Jack: What’s unnatural mean?   me: Not normal.   Jack: What’s normal?   me: I don’t know anymore.

Percussion – Jack: Is percussion an instrument?   me: It’s a group of instruments that you bang on.   Jack: That’s funny because the word sounds like what it is.   me: Hmm, pretty good Jack.

Legible – Jack: Am I legible?   me: No it’s about handwriting, whether or not you can read it.   Jack: Is that like legal and illegal? Is there an “illegible”?   me: Now you’re scaring me.

Controlling – Jack: Daddy says you’re very controlling. What’s that mean?   me: It means I’m always right.   Jack: Oh.

Hypothetical – Jack: What’s “hypothecal” mean?   me: What? You mean hypothetical?   Jack: I guess so.   me: It’s like when you think about something that COULD happen, but it’s not really going to happen, but maybe it might happen..   Jack: You can stop now.