Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Dave Hill reports, (very enviably), that his daughter's mispronunciations frequently not only convey her meaning, but do so with added value.

If only the same could be said here. It can't because as a general rule, mispronunciations and misapprehensions in this household breed utter befuddlement, acute irritation and panic. I wrote not long ago about the cannonball/cannibal situation, but this, lamentably, is far from unique. By way of another recent example:

Me (trying to break into a run): Please hurry up. We're SO late.
Ds (9) (running, obligingly): Where are we actually going?
Me: We said we'd meet them at the Tourist Information Centre.
Dd. (4) (stopping, already ten yards behind): I'm not going.
Me: Oh for goodness sakes.
Dd: I'm staying here.
Me (Scampering back with rapidly diminishing hope that I might be able to mobilise her): Only two minutes ago you said you couldn't wait to see X and Y.
Dd: I don't want to any more.
Ds: Why on earth not?
Dd: We aren't terrists.
Me: What? Oh for goodness sakes, just run. (At a hobbling trot): Look, I do see what you mean. They can be a pain, but we're all tourists every now and then.
Dd: I'm not.
Ds: You are, derr!
Me: Shut up. KEEP MOVING. Look, we all are when we go on holiday abroad, say.
Dd: I'm NEVER a terrist.
Me: Actually, I think we could count ourselves as tourists right nowww....

Out of the corner of my eye, I see that Ds now has come to a halt with his index finger poking in the air.

Ds: "Aahhh, I see! (He approaches Dd, apparently helpfully.) Look, we're only going there to pick up some bomb making information and a free balaclava.
Me: SHUT UP. What are you talking about?
Ds: It won't take long. We could pick up a few land mines while we're there.
Dd: (now wailing), STOP, STOP.

At this point, we somehow actually reach the Tourist Information Centre which, to Dds very evident relief, is closed. There's no sign of the people we were supposed to be meeting and it's raining quite heavily. We take the opportunity to sit down on a wall in order to try to muster an appearance of knowing what we're up to.


Tim said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tim said...

I think a Terrorist Information Centre sounds a great idea. :-)

Q: Are these the right size shoes for this bomb?

Q: How does my hair gel look?

Q: Does my bomb look big in this?

Carlotta said...


Anonymous said...

Very funny! It's interesting that you thought it likely that he would be scared of tourists!!


Sue said...

We heard a World Service report a couple of years ago, where some people in a small Asian country were convinced George Bush had declared 'War on tourists'.

David said...

What, no search for a common preference? Maybe shutting up and keeping moving was your agenda, but it's hardly respectful of your childrens' autonomy now, is it? :D

Carlotta said...

No, you're completely right! A definitive failure re DD...

David said...

Aye, well, that's the joy of fallibilism. Pity the Pope, I say.

You know, I never remember to ask you just what Truths you're seeking. Do remind me to ask you next time I comment.

Dave Hill said...

The other thing I might have mentioned is my four year-old's fear of "The Garlics". And why shouldn't she fear them? After all, I felt much the same way at her age when watching Doctor Who.

Carlotta said...

DH...Lol! Another word of wisdom, as far as mine our concerned!

Carlotta said...

And David...

I succeed far more in the trying and the occasional failure, than if I were never to try at all!

If you believe I lack sincerity, then you are wrong. If you accept that I don't live up to my ideals all the time, then you are right.

David said...

I certainly don't believe you insincere, though I'm not too sure how much weight sincerity should and does carry. I could possibly question your ideals (or what they are, for that matter!), but not your sincerity. For what it's worth, I'm sincere when I ask what Truth(s) you seek.

It's nice to know you think I'm right about something, though. ;)

Carlotta said...

Hi David,


to enact autonomy to the maximum and to assist others to enact theirs when I can.

to seek the truth, but to be pretty clear that we can never be sure that we have it, and that therefore I should accept that even apparently best theories may be refuted.

to act upon best theories, until otherwise refuted.

to acknowledge failure when it happens.

to seek to solve problems with hope that it may be possible...since it is impossible to know before-hand that it isn't.

to seize the day and recognise it's value.

(Oh yes, and one day, just one day, to take the piss out of Dh and Ds as much as they do me.)

As to the particular truths I seek, I wouldn't really want to attempt to lay out a curriculum aforehand, just in case my interests wander off again, as they are wont to do.

Currently interested in speeding up on basic calculations, doing a bit more maths, and generally finding out more about how the universe functions.

David said...

Apologies for the delay in getting back to you - my mind has gone on strike. my consciousness is too stuffy, and I could do with the intellectual equivalent of opening the window and airing the blankets. That's not going to happen, so I'll caffeinate until I get a headache.

Even if I were firing away on all two cylinders, I still don't think I could translate the abstracts you wrote into practical concerns - hard as I try it all looks like something in the way of management/new age speak to me. This is undoubtedly my failing, and you are obviously under no obligation to dignify my pesterings with an answer.

But I'll try and make a start.


Autonomy - what do you mean by it, and why do you consider it so important?

Carlotta said...

Hi David,

I sympathise with the feeling it right now!

By autonomy, I meant in the fairly standard sense of "to be self-governing". I consider it important for the reasons described in philosophical that to be not self-governing involves being coerced, and coercion involves being forced to enact a theory that is not active in the mind, which thereby reduces the possibility of the theory being subjected to rational and creative criticism.

It is important, therefore, to be self-governing because this is the only way that one can hope to live life fully, the only way in which one can learn effectively, and the only way in which one can hope to live in responsible fashion.

(Also, being coerced really stinks.)

Is this any help at all?

Anonymous said...

Your story made me think about something that happened here recently: I mentioned something about my daughter's upcoming wedding and Thomas started to cry. I was flabbergasted. It turned out he thought that her marrying meant she wouldn't be his sister anymore!

David said...


I'm in the middle of one of my periodic intellectual retunings, where I torch everything to see what the insurer's valuation is. I've too many questions to ask of myself, let alone anyone else. Which is why I haven't got back to you. But I will, some day.