‘You can’t clock a toilet’ and other disputable facts

It’s cute the way kids talk. Until it isn’t.

A speech therapist mom and writer dad, we work in words all day long, and as such, our girls are far less likely than most kids their age to get away with poor speech. I mean, we’re not over the top—we’re not using flashcards like Rick Moranis in Parenthood—we just feel as though they’re at the age now where it’s important for them to pronounce things correctly. Ya’ know, to learn and stuff.

Which is fine … until they manage to drag you down with them into the abyss of meaninglessness.

They say pick your battles as a parent, and it’s true. It’s not that I pick the wrong battles—although I do—it’s that, once engaged, I get strung along on an adventure that is so far away from the initial point I was trying to make, I end up alone and left for dead on the island of confusion. If I didn’t know better—although I don’t—I’d say they do this intentionally. To wit:

Me: Anything exciting happen at school today, girls?

Girl 2: Marley at school said the toilets were clocked.

Me: That’s a great story. (debating whether or not to even bother) (voice in head screaming “DON’T BOTHER”) (decide I shouldn’t bother) (can’t help it) And it’s not “clocked,” it’s “clogged.”

Girl 2: Yep. The toilets were clocked.

Me: Honey, it’s not “clocked.” It’s “clogged.” You can’t clock a toilet.

Girl 1: It was, Dad! I sawl it!

Me: OK first of all, it’s “saw,” not “sawl.” I don’t know how many times we have to go over this. Second of all, I’m not saying Marley was wrong about the toilets being clocked; I’m say—wait …

Girls: (in unison) SEE, DAD? (start giggling)

Me: Ugh! You girls get me so flustered. What I was saying was, I’m not saying Marley was wrong about the toilets being CLOGGED—I’m sayi—

Girl 1: DAD DAD DAD, can we watch “Wild Cracks” when we get home?

Me: Oh my GOODNESS. I’m in the middle of talking here! Do we really need to have the interruption conversation again? Sheesh. And for the millionth time, it’s not “Wild Cracks,” it’s “Wild Krats.” Ts, Ts. Like cats.

Girl 2: One time I sawl cats at school tomorrow.

Me: You can’t even be serious right now. I don’t even know where to start with th—

Girl 1: Dad, the way you clock a toilet is with poo. I know that for a fact.


Girls: (start crying)

Me: OK, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have yelled. It’s just that I’m trying to get you girls to listen to what I’m saying. You need to speak the right way or people aren’t going to know what you’re talking about. A clock tells time; a toilet gets clogged. It’s not, “I sawl it;” it’s “I saw it.” Like a see-saw. You’re not going to want to be in first grade sounding like you’re 2 years old, right? Are you guys listening?

Girl 1: Dad?

Me: Yes?

Girl 1: So are we gonna watch “Wild Cracks” or what?

 "And I discovered the 'cats' she spoke of earlier were actually bagels. Other than that, I think she's ready for Kindergarten."

Note: This column appears in the 10/23 issue of The Glendale Star and the 10/24 issue of the Peoria Times.