Our 5-year-old was telling me one of his jokes.
“Why didn’t the boy see the movie?”
“That’s why it was 3-D!”
Now, I’m not saying he’s going to turn into a YouTube phenomenon like “The Friday Song” girl – that tween who got a million hits for singing an irritating song while riding around on the back of a car without even wearing a seatbelt?
But that’s her mom’s problem. Although our son’s jokes make about as much sense, well, as that “Friday” song.
Our son is delighted by his punch line, and I guess that’s the most important thing. Meanwhile, as his parents, it helped us figure out that our son uses the term “that’s why” when he means “because.” Not that the correct word would make the above joke any funnier or even comprehensible. But he just doesn’t use the word “because.”
As in, “Why are you crying, sweetie?”
“That’s why I fell down!”
We don’t correct him because we think it's cute. We know he will learn it eventually and we're in no rush. I still miss the way his older brothers used to say things like, “ponce a wonna time” for “once upon a time,” and called helicopters “hoppercoppers.” And I don’t think there’s a chance that our youngest will grow up to be a lawyer arguing before the Supreme Court and still say, “We feel the Court should support a constitutional amendment outlawing pickles -- that’s why they are too salty!”
Our joke teller also has a temper and a keen sense of unfairness. So when we tell him to turn off the television, he occasionally pitches a fit – so he gets sent to his room. And he rarely goes there quietly. There is stamping of feet and closing of doors. At least he knows better than to slam the door. But the last time he was sent for that long walk down the hall, there was a certain amount of banging and bumping going on for about ten minutes so I went and knocked.
“Everything okay?” I pushed on the door and there was some resistance.
“Why won’t the door open?”
“That’s why I pushed furniture in front of the door.” I might mention he is a big boy and had managed to push a small wicker chest of drawers in front of the door.
He slid a folded paper grocery bag under the door. On it was an elaborate drawing in crayon.
“What’s happening in this drawing?”
He had drawn the chest of drawers in front of the door and then there was a figure of a boy whose eyebrows were in a “V” shape in the center of his face.
“That’s why I’m mad. I’m gonna ‘bout to live with another family. I’m packing.”
The boy in the drawing had a spirally thing in one hand. A rolled up sleeping bag.
I pushed on the door and slid the dresser aside.
“I hope this picture never comes true. Daddy and I don’t want you to run away. Don’t you like it here?”
“That’s why I wanted to watch a show!”
“But you can’t watch a show,” I said.
“Why, Mom?” he said sadly.
“That’s why it’s 3-D!” I said. His eyes widened at this unexpected answer and he tried not to smile.
I tickled him and the moment passed. Sometimes you have to speak the same language to get through a mini-crisis -- even if you don’t know what you said.
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