Archive for the 'Language' Category


Claire wanted to know what “fricken snow” was because that’s what I muttered when I looked out the window this morning. I explained that it was a special kind of snow that happens in the spring…

…and that we shouldn’t use naughty words

…like snow.


Hallaline a chanchaline

“Momma, sing me this song,” Claire says.

She often asks me to sing songs for her, and I try my best. Sometimes, I’m really good at it…and other times, not so much.

“Which one, sweetie?” I ask, wondering what it will be this time. Beyonce? Oasis? Man in a Box? Lump? What. Anything is possible.

“Hallaline a chanchaline,” she says.

“Halla what?” I ask.

This isn’t the first time she’s requested this song.  The other day, she asked me to sing this song, and I couldn’t figure it out.  When we’re not trapped in the car, I can pull them up on my iTunes or Youtube if I don’t know how they go.  As this wasn’t an option at the moment, I was able to distract her by singing a different song.  She forgot all about her original song request, and so I had I…until now.

“Hallaline a chanchaline,” she says again. “You know, the one on Rock Band.”

That doesn’t really narrow it down.  We have a lot of songs on Rock Band.

“Say it again,” I coax her.  She’s usually really good at pronouncing words, and there are very few times when I don’t understand her.

“HALLALINE A CHANCHALINE,” she says, exasperated. “It goes, ‘Hallaline a chanchaline. Hallaline a chancheline. Wouldya like time. Wouldya like time.’ Ya know? Come on, Momma. SING IT.”

Uhh…  “Hallaline a chanchaline” I sing, matching her tune.

“No, sing ALL of it,” she says.  My trick hadn’t worked.

The tune and the words are distorted as they travel from her four-year old brain out her mouth, but she sings it the same way every time. Now, she’s signing it over and over, the exact same way every time, hoping that I’ll finally understand it.

I don’t.

Soon she finds that singing it louder doesn’t help me figure it out any quicker.

“Okay, you said it’s on Rock Band. Which one? The first one or the second one?” I ask. Maybe she’ll give me a clue.


“Okay, calm down. We’ll figure it out. Just give me a second,” I say as I’m wracking my brain. I love puzzles. I’m good at puzzles. Most normal, sane people would be amazed at some of the things I figure out, even on the smallest of clues.

Normally, I can Name That Tune in two notes, Jim, or knock Twisted Lyrics for 1,000 out of the park, Alex.
But not this time.

Hallaline a chanchaline? Wouldya like time? The second part (that she’s now shouting) sounds vaguely familiar.

“Rock Band 2?” I say, stalling.

“YES,” she says. “HALLALINE A CHANCHALINE!  ON ROCK BAND TWO!  It’s the one where the cars are racing, and then they crash! And he’s bald! The guy singer. He’s a man! He’s singing! And he’s bald! And the drummer guy is drumming! And they crash! But they keep singing! And they go whhhhhoaaaa, and they fly! And they keep singing!” She’s showing all the animation for this, of course.

She’s describing the opening song/animation of Rock Band 2, so I know we’re on the right track.

“Okay, so it’s on Rock Band 2,” I say. “Is it the song they sing during that opening or is it on into the game?”

“HALLALINE A CHANCHALINE!” she sings again. “They play it! Hallaline a chanchaline. Wouldya like time. Wouldya like time.

Luckily, we’re at home, close to youtube. I could go downstairs and get Rock Band all set up to see exactly what the opening song is, but I’m sure I can find it online.  I can picture the opening in my mind, but the song totally escapes me, what with all the Hallaline a chanchaline being shouted at me.

Sure enough, we find it, and she’s thrilled!

“THAT’S IT!” she screams as Cheap Trick‘s, Hello There starts playing. “HALLALINE A CHANCHALINE!”

Want the translation? Hallaline a chanchaline is “Hello there ladies and gentlemen,” and Wouldya like time actually sounds exactly like that to me, but is technically, “Would you like to.” (As in “Would you like to do do a number with me? Would you like to do a number with me? Would you like to? Would you like to?”)

So, the mystery is solved. We listened to the song a few times, and then I shut youtube and started to go about my day.

“Sing me a song,” she says.

“Okay, sweetie. What would you like me to sing?”  How about Lump, I think to myself.  I love singing that song, and I know the tune and all the words by heart.

“Hallaline a chanchaline!” she says with a smile.

Quotable Claire

I love the things my 4-year old says:

  • On the way to the airport to pick up Round One of our March Visitors, Claire said, “We live so far from the airport, we should take a plane to get there!” If only it worked that way…
  • At dinner one night, she said, out of the blue, “Did you know that if you cut a square from corner to corner, you get two triangles?” Yes, yes you do, and then I nearly choked on my food.
  • One day she said, “If Merlin and Jasper had opposable thumbs, would they get in more trouble than they already do?” Uh, yes. Undoubtedly.
  • Another day she said, “Do you know what Ell, Oh, Vee, Eee spells!? LOVE!” Then she said, “See Ell Aye Eye Are Eee can spell Ell Oh Vee Eee!” Yes she can, and I think that’s Aye Double-you Eee Ess Oh Emm Eee.

The name-calling loop hole

I am the oldest of four kids, and even I was shocked to discover a name-calling loop hole that Claire found.

Yesterday, I was telling her to do something, and she yelled, “You’re a monster!”

Just as she said the word, I said, “WHAT!?”

And she drug out the ending of the word and added, “Hunter!”

I laughed out loud.

“You’re a monster HUNTER!” she said again, hoping she wouldn’t end up in the time-out corner for name-calling. “You know…you hunt for monsters,” she said, still back-pedaling as fast as an almost-4-yr old can pedal.

Her points for creativity saved her.

This time.

…and I’ve always found it ironic that “Phonics” starts with a P.

“I figured out what this starts with, Momma!” Claire said excitedly.

She was talking about a letter at the beginning of a particular word. Any word. It’s a little game we’ve been playing. Yes, she’s only three, but I’ve been following her lead on this, and we’ve been having fun with it.

There’s no pressure. I’m just taking advantage of “teachable moments.”

“What word did you figure out?” I asked, curious what it was this time.

“It’s umbrella, and it starts with an M!” she screeched.

“Hmmm. Actually…umbrella starts with a U.”

“No!  Umbrella starts with an M.  See?  Em-brella.   Em.  Umbrella starts with an M!”

I really am amazed at her sounding-it-out skills, and she was so enthusiastic that I was a little sad to correct her. 🙂


It’s been a while since I’ve written about some Claire-isms! What’s a Claire-ism? A Claire-ism is a word or phrase that Claire has taken upon herself to alter in some way. Looking back through the Claire-isms of the past brings back such great memories. Sadly, most of the Claire-isms have been corrected right out of her vocabulary, but some of them still remain.

Here are some new ones that she’s been using lately, and they make me smile:

“Holy-Poly Bugs”

Claire loves ladybugs and roly-poly bugs. When she was just learning to speak, she called ladybugs “leedle-leedles,” but she quickly grew out of that. But, roly-poly bugs? Those she calls holy-poly bugs, and it cracks me up every time!


“Momma, may I have a zip of your water? I won’t drink it all. I’ll have just a zip.” Like some of her other Claire-isms, this one actually makes sense to me. I mean, sips are just short little gulps that are over in a flash. Zip! 😉


Whenever we have upset tummies around here, we get out the Tums® If your tummy is only slightly upset, you only need one. And, what is the singular of a Tums®?  Well, it’s a Tum. Obviously. It makes perfect sense to me!  🙂

If you haven’t had a chance, you should check out the Claire-ism Category!

In context, they make perfect sense.

It’s been a while since I’ve shared some Claire-isms!  What is a Claire-ism?  It’s a word or phrase that Claire has altered with her own twist.  It won’t be long before these will morph into the correct words, so I’d better record them while I can!  (You can check out some Claire-isms from the past by clicking here.)


One of Claire’s favorite foods is guacamole.  She will eat an entire bowl of it if you’re not paying attention.  What’s really funny is that she always pronounces it “block-amole.”  She usually has no problems pronouncing other Spanish words, but this one gets the best of her.  And, we love it!  (In fact, we have a hard time not asking for block-amole, too!)

Kitty Woman

Daddy and Claire sometimes play video games downstairs in the entertainment room.  One of the ones they like to play has Lego-versions of the Batman characters in it.  And, who is Claire’s favorite character?  You guessed it.  Kitty Woman.  I love it!  I can’t even get myself to correct her.

Doubled Eggs

I mentioned this one in the Claire vs. Chair post, but I think it deserves an entry of its own.  We eat a lot of eggs around here, and one of my favorite appetizers to make are Deviled Eggs.  Deviled?  I’ve never really understood why they’re called that.  In all honesty, I think “doubled eggs” actually makes more sense as a description!

A Tennis Whack

And, speaking of definitions that make sense…we come to the game of tennis.  How do you play tennis?  You play with a tennis ball and a tennis whack.  You whack the tennis ball with a tennis whack.  Obviously.  😉

In other news, posting will be light this weekend!  Have a great one, and we’ll see you on Monday!

Because donkeys don’t drive very well

I’ve written before about how I used to suffer from Vehicular Tourette’s.  I’ve come a long way.  I purposely watch my word-choice when around Claire, because she’ll repeat what I say and use it in a way that would point a huge “Yep, she totally got that from me” finger my way.  Having a very verbal child has pretty much cured me.

I know there are those who would tsk-tsk for even hearing me admit that I swear at all, but there you have it.  I love using clever words properly, and it just so happens that some of those words are little more brightly colored than others.

…but, that being said, I don’t swear in mixed company.  I don’t swear on the blog.  I don’t swear around Claire.  And, I don’t swear in the car.  Usually.

A few months ago, we were driving around town, and this man totally cut me off.  He nearly hit my car, and it totally caught me by surprise.

“Jackass!” I yelled, out loud.  It was a purely involuntary reaction, and the word fell right out of my mouth when I stomped on the brake.

As soon as I heard myself say it, I glanced in the rear-view mirror to see if Claire was paying attention.  There is a list a mile long of words much worse than that, but still…probably not a good idea to use it in front of Claire.  I was so glad it was that word that fell out and not another, harder to explain word.

“That man almost hit our car!” I said, still rattled.  “But, it’s okay, Claire.  He didn’t.  Everything is okay.”

“What’s a jackass, Momma?” she asked innocently.

“It’s another name for a donkey,” I said, without even missing a beat.

What?  It is.

“Why did you call that man a jackass, Momma?”

“Well, I said that because he wasn’t driving very well, and he almost hit us!”

“And donkeys don’t drive very well…do they, Momma?” she asked.

“That’s exactly right, Claire!  They certainly don’t.”


Excuse Me

Claire was “reading” quietly in her room.  As is her custom, she’s most happy when every book from her book bin is strewn about her.  She loves it when nearly every inch of the floor is covered.  She’s pretty easy going when it comes to putting her things away, so I try not to panic whenever I come upon such a disaster zone.

“Claire, it’s almost time for lunch!” I called to her from the kitchen.  “Are you ready to come eat?”

“Almost, Momma!” she yelled from her room.  “I really made a mess!”

“Oh no!  Really?” I said, as I was walking down the hallway to investigate this mess and why she was giggling.

“Yeah, and YOU’RE going to clean it up!” she said with mischievous lilt in her voice.

“Excuse me!?” I said incredulously, as I made it to her doorway.

“Momma, did you fart?” she asked, bursting out in laughter.  “You did; didn’t you!”

“What?  No!” I exclaimed, and I started to tickle her.

“Well, you said ‘Excuse me!’” she said laughing even harder.

By that time, we were both laughing hysterically.  After we calmed down, I explained what I’d meant, and we picked up the books together.  But, now, every time I say ‘Excuse me’, for whatever reason, I can’t help but laugh to myself.  🙂

The Elf winked at me, so it’s cool…

Last Thursday, Claire and I went to visit Santa for the very first time.  You can read about why we haven’t gone in the past by clicking here. This year, I roped our Moms’ Club members into joining me in line.  I thought that this way, even if Claire didn’t want to sit on the big guy’s lap, at least we’d have a fun day at the Mall with our friends.

All week, in preparation for our little field trip, Claire and I talked about Santa.  We talked about how some kids are scared to sit on his lap, and that’s okay.  We talked about how Momma would be right there, and it would be just fine for her to sit on his lap and tell him what she wanted for Christmas.  I played it up as super-exciting, but not big deal, which is a tightrope I’ve learned to walk pretty well these days.

The day arrived, and Claire insisted on wearing her party dress, AND her sparkly shoes.  “Santa will love my sparkly shoes!” she kept shouting as she ran around like a crazy person.

As we pull into the Mall parking lot, Claire keeps seeing random strangers walking toward the building.  “Is that Santa?  I don’t think that’s Santa.  I wonder if Santa is here already, Momma?  Is he here already?” she’d ask with such excitement that it was hard to contain my own excitement.

“I bet Santa is already in there!  I bet he’s getting ready to talk to the children now!  This is going to be so much fun!”  I told her, but she was too excited to really pay attention to my answer.

As we walked through the Mall and found our friends, I reminded her that it was okay to be a little scared of Santa.  She told me she wasn’t afraid, and she couldn’t wait to meet him.  I was hoping that was the case.

Now, call me a cheater or a scrooge, but I had no desire to pay an inflated price on the “Santa and Me” portraits, or whatever they call them, at the mall.  I’d asked one of my friends who had gone to this particular location in the past if personal cameras were allowed, and she assured me that they were.

When we get there, I see the signs that indicate where to line up, and on the sign is a message that says, basically, “We respectfully ask that you not take personal photographs.”  Hmpf.  I’m a rule-follower.  I usually follow rules to the T.  (Even though there isn’t a T in Rules, but I digress.)  The last thing I want to do is be tossed out of the Santa Line for taking photos with my digital camera…but still!  I don’t want to pay their prices, and unless the rules have changed, personal photos were allowed last year and every previous year.  I mean, technically the sign didn’t say it was prohibited…just that it was being respectfully asked of us, and if given a chance, I may have to respectfully decline.  😉

I can see other children with Santa, and their parents have digital cameras, so I decide to go with the flow.  I put the camera around my neck, fully intending to take photos up to that point and then play it by ear.

I took some cute photos of Claire and her friends waiting in line and petting the stuffed reindeer and looking at all of the holiday lights.  As the line winds around through the evergreens, we’re almost to the end!  It’s almost our turn!  Claire is getting more and more excited about seeing Santa, and I’m a mixed bag of emotions:  Will she do it?  Can I take pictures of it?  Will either of us cause a scene?

As we get to the front of the line, a nice Elf starts to check us in.  She asks if we’d like to have a photo package today.  I couldn’t lie to her.  She had pointy ears…and rosy cheeks…and a cute green hat.

“No,” I said sheepishly.  “I’m not interested in the photo packages.”

She looked at the camera around my neck and said with a fake “pretend I’m not telling you to break the rules or I’ll lose my job” smile and said, “Well, you’re not obligated to actually buy any of the photos we take.”  And she winked at me!

Then, she continued.  “But, if you allow us to take photos, no one will care if you snap a couple with your own camera.”  And she winked at me again!

So, I smiled at her for the purpose of the security cameras and whispered between clenched, smiling teeth, “So, what you’re telling me is if I agree to the look at the photo packages, I can take photos with my own camera, but I’m not obligated to buy any of the ones you take?”

“That’s right!” she said with a smile…and another wink!  Then she added something about having kids in grad school and not wanting to lose her job, but being obligated to tell me company policy.  She was good.  She could have been a ventriloquist, because to the untrained eye, she was just a smiley happy elf wishing us all good cheer.

“All right!” I said.  “You convinced me.  I’d love to see your photo packages!”

So, the Elf indicated to the photographer that she had another live one, and he tried desperately to get Claire to smile for the camera.

Claire, on the other hand, wanted nothing to do with that silly-dressed man behind the camera.  She was there to see the big guy.  She hopped up on his lap and proceeded to tell him in great detail what she wanted for Christmas.  For weeks, she’s been saying she wanted a Christmas Tree, and since we put that up last week, she’s set her sights on something different.  (I won’t give it away, but it rhymes with Dorbie Ball.)

As she’s talking to Santa, I’m clicking as many photos as I can before the Winking Elf changes her mind.  That poor camera man tried everything, and Claire kept giving him the most annoyed “please let me talk to the one in charge” looks!  I couldn’t wait to see what they got on film.

I finally put him out of his misery and told them I thought we were done.  I didn’t want to waste any more of their time, especially since I wasn’t going to be buying any photos.  (I kept that last part to myself…)

Claire hopped off Santa’s lap and then proceeded to tell me all about it!  She’d talked to him!  She’d told him what she wanted!  She wasn’t scared, Momma!

After a few minutes, our photos were ready to view on the computer monitors, and I couldn’t help but laugh.  Thank goodness I wasn’t relying on these photos!  They were a riot!  The first one showed Claire scowling at the photographer.  The second one had her eyes closed, and the last one was the biggest frown I’ve ever seen!  I actually laughed out loud.  She’d done it!  She’d not only had a great time, but she’d given me the total excuse to not buy any of their photos!

So what about the ones I took?

Click to enlarge:  Claire & Santa ~ Check out her Sparly Shoes!

Click to enlarge: Claire & Santa ~ Check out her Sparkly Shoes!

You can see that she’s mid-sentence, but already giving the photographer the eye.  She’s starting to get a little perturbed by the photographer for interrupting her discussion with Santa.  And, trust me, she’s not as nervous as she looks in this picture.  I was just glad she didn’t burst into tears and that I didn’t get tossed out for taking my own photos.

But, I knew it would be fine.  The Elf winked at me…honest.  😉