Dear Smiley: Watching young children learn language is especially entertaining and often hysterically funny.
While my kids were little I would always have a hard time correcting their mispronunciations because they were just so darn cute, like “eyebrownies” for eyebrows and “pepper rally” for pep rally.
My husband invariably would correct their mistakes, much to my dismay.
But that’s OK, because I have immortalized most of their cute phrases by vowing to say them that way forever.
Now it just gets on my kids’ nerves. I remind them it was their fault in the first place.
I remember one day in particular, when my oldest daughter Carley was in preschool and learning to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
She explained to me that you put your right hand over your heart and face the “miracle flag.”
How appropriate that she was calling the American flag a miracle flag. This is the greatest country in the world and we are eternally blessed to live here.
I feel the same way, sweetie.
MICHELLE CARLEY LOUP, MD
Dear Smiley: A contributor to your column reminded me of sayings that I saw on a boss’s wall years ago:
“We the willing led by the unknowing are doing the impossible for the ungrateful!”
“We have been doing so much for so long with so little, that we can now do anything with nothing!”
These are now more appropriate than at any other time in our history.
Ode to ignorance
Dear Smiley: An Advocate article that caught my eye said two schools would open on time, but each would have a room closed because of a mercury spill.
I thought I would read on to see that there was a train derailment. Instead, a school office was closed because of a broken barometer.
Were the North Baton Rouge kids the only ones who played with mercury on the kitchen counter when their mother broke a candy thermometer?
I guess ignorance IS bliss!
FAYE HOFFMAN TALBOT
Dear Smiley: As a 5-year-old, my daughter Kathryn was fascinated by the weeping willow.
I had explained what “weeping” is. She immediately dubbed the smaller trees as “whining willows.”
One windy day Kathryn was gazing out of the window.
In a dreamy voice she said, “Mommy, the willows aren’t weeping anymore ’cause the wind is brushing their hair.”
I didn’t know whether to cry or try to sign her up for Mensa.
Dear Smiley: My just-turned-2 granddaughter, Anna Caroline Veal, told her mom, Lauren, “Mama, I have teacups in my mouth!” (Yes, she does speak in complete sentences!)
It took a few minutes before Lauren figured it out.
Anna Caroline had hiccups!
RITA LYNN JACKSON
Dear Smiley: I embarrassed my mom and dad at St. Anthony’s Sunday Mass when I was about 4 years old.
After receiving Holy Communion, they were returning to our pew when I asked them out loud why I couldn’t have one of those white suckers.
A few people started laughing out loud, and I think the priest also heard me.
The Villages, Fla.
Dear Smiley: Each morning I put a small amount of birdseed on the sidewalk near my door.
As I sit eating breakfast and reading your column I enjoy watching the birds feed.
Regulars include about a dozen sparrows, three cardinals and three doves.
The cardinals are very aggressive, attacking any other bird that comes near when they are feeding.
One day I was surprised to see a dove run at another dove, since I thought of doves as symbols of peace.
I was right. They were making love, not war.
Dear Smiley: Some recent items in your column regarding the early days of TV reminded me of a patient I saw in the early days of my practice.
In taking his family history I noted that he had 14 siblings.
I asked, “You mean that there were 15 children born to your parents?”
He apparently felt the need for an explanation, as he replied, “Yes, they ain’t had no TV in those days.”
GEORGE S. BOURGEOIS, MD