A snippet of a conversation from this past Saturday morning, 4 December 2010:
Toby: On this farm he had a spoop.
Tom: What’s a spoop?
Toby: It’s for making plates.
Tom: Oh. (Pause.) Do we have one?
Toby: Yeah. It’s in the pock.
Tom: Really? Where’s our pock?
Toby: Over there. (Points at front hallway.)
The one thing that troubled me about this exchange was the word “pock.” Toby has a classmate at day care who appears to be a kind of two-year-old bad seed with a potty mouth. He calls other kids “stupid,” but he also calls them “stukid”—in other words, he seems to have learned very early on the sophomoric dodge of changing a consonant or vowel of a bad word, thus rendering it technically not a bad word. (What kind of parent raises a toddler to verbally abuse other toddlers? Some of these kids can’t even talk yet. Does bullying really start this early? Are democracy and civilization doomed?) So Emily and I are a little worried that “pock” is a word that’s come home from day care—a word learned from a bad kid who intended it to be a stand-in for something else.
I’m glad to learn that we have a spoop, though. Plate-making might be just the sideline business we’ve been looking for.