Written By Kate Parlin
Teenagers are infamous for thinking they know everything about everything (or at least that they know more than their idiotic, lame-o parents). Today I would like to formally apologize to teenagers for this negative stereotype.
I am not yet a parent of teenagers, but I do have twin three-year-olds who are showing me more and more each day that teenagers ain’t got nothin’ on three-year-olds. In fact, whoever coined the term “three-nager” is right on the money. If you think you know something, about anything, just tell it to a three-year-old. I promise you will discover, in no uncertain terms, just how ill-informed you actually are.
So without further ado, I give you this list of reasons my three-year-old has corrected me, just this week.
I called a vessel from which one might drink coffee a “mug.” She said, “It’s called a cup.” She then looked me in the eyes and said “cuuuuup” really slowly to make sure I understood. She takes her job as my life-coach very seriously.
Me: “Finish up your egg salad if you want to have more cantaloupe.” Three-Year-Old: “Egg salad sandwiches. They’re called egg salad sandwiches.” Me (only in my head, of course): I don’t care what you call it. Just, for the love of all that is holy, eat it so you can have more fruit and go. take. a. nap.
Me (holding out a plastic toy asparagus bunch): “Here you go! Here’s a vegetable for your soup!” Three-Year-Old (stops stirring her pretend soup and sighs): “It’s not a vegetable; it’s spagarius.” Right. Because spagarius is totally a thing. Silly me.
Three-Year-Old, examining contents of a shopping bag: “What are these things, Mommy?” Me: “They’re candles, to keep the mosquitoes away on the porch.” Three-Year-Old (shakes head, shrugs, and laughs a small, condescending laugh): “Spageetoes? There are no spageetoes on the porch.” (Walks away, marveling at my ineptitude) “Heh, heh. Spageetoes.”
It was a nice day, so I rolled the windows in the car down a little. We turned off our street, and I was going about 25 mph. Three-Year-Old: “Are we goin’ fast?” Me: “Not really. Just a tiny bit fast.” Three-Year-Old: “Well, my hair is blowin’ so we ARE goin’ fast.” Which begs the question, “Why on earth are you asking me, then?!?” But unfortunately, you can’t really say that to a three-year-old.
The baby points to a picture of a bicycle and says, “bi-cle.” Me: “Yes! That’s a bicycle!” Three-Year-Old: “I think she’s sayin’ ‘pretzel,’ not ‘bicycle.’ Yeah, she’s sayin’ ‘pretzel.’” Me (but again, only in my head, because, you know, appropriateness): Right. It obviously makes way more sense to point to a picture OF A FREAKING BICYCLE AND SAY “PRETZEL” THAN TO SAY “BICYCLE.” I don’t know how I’ve survived this long without your wise counsel, young genius.
I have a coffee mug, oh wait, excuse me, coffee cup, that has a design with the name “Montague” on one side and “Capulet” on the other. I got it at the Globe Theater gift shop in London, and it’s one of my favorite things. The other day, I was drinking coffee from it when, Three-Year-Old: “What do those words say, on your cup?” Me: “This side says ‘Montague’ and this side says ‘Capulet.’ They’re family names from a play. The names of the characters in the play are Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet.” Three-Year-Old: “No they’re not.” (Walks away.)
My husband’s birthday is coming up, and he and the twins and I were all talking about what food he’d like to have for his birthday. The girls obviously suggested “CAKE!” and “ICE CREAM, ICE CREAM, ICE CREAM!!” Hubs: “Well, you know what I really like that we could have? Ice cream cake!” Three-Year-Old: (Closes her eyes, flaps both hands up and down at her sides in the international signal for “calm down”): “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Everybody calm down.” (side note: no one wasn’t calm.) “There is no ‘ice cream cake.’ There’s ‘ice cream,’ and there’s ‘cake,’ but there’s no ‘ice cream cake.’” (Other side note: if she’d known about air quotes, she totally would have used them.)
So there you have it: a list of things about which I know nothing, but with which my three-year-old is “helping” me. This week. Who knows what sorts of wise expertise she’ll have to share next week, or when she’s a teenager, or, oh dear God, for the rest of my life.
About the Author: Kate Parlin is a writer and mom of three girls, two of whom are twins. She is a former high school English teacher who now uses her love of words to chronicle her parenting adventures – the funny, the frustrating, and the infuriating – at her blog, Shakespeare’s Mom. Her writing has been featured online at The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Redbook, and In the Powder Room, and in print in Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine, Peninsula Kids, and in two forthcoming parenting anthologies. Follow along with her shenanigans on Facebook and Twitter!