Eli (8) has discarded most of his cute linguistic peculiarities, but a few are still around. We live in a college town and that means lots of college sports. We have seen the men's and women's gymnastics teams in action lately, and have been to a few football games in the more distant past. Eli realized early on that when two teams face off against each other, it's "Team A versus Team B." However, he interpreted the word "versus" as a present tense third person verb, i.e., "verses," which in his mind means "to compete against." So when I mention that there's a home football game coming up, he'll often say: "Who is Michigan versing?" Very logical, if you think about it. Tonight Andrea was telling them the story of David and Goliath, and they were trying to get a sense of the size disparity. Since they're both big Harry Potter fans, I mentioned that Goliath was as big as Hagrid, and it would be like Harry fighting against Hagrid. Eli looked at me very seriously and said "Hagrid would never verse Harry!"
Adam (6) is very rambunctious, but also very sensitive and can get his feeling hurt easily. Several weeks ago at church, the children in his Primary class were asked to draw a picture of something they can do to show their parents that they love them. Adam drew a picture of himself cleaning up the toys in the basement and putting them away in the storage cupboards against the wall. The previous owners of the house put little decals of dogs on the cupboard doors, so Adam dutifully incorporated them into his drawing. Two sweet little girls in Adam's class, Lauren and Josie, saw Adam's picture and asked what he had drawn on the doors. When Adam said they were dogs, one of the girls very innocently said that it looked like they had beaks. This cut Adam to the core. He was convinced that the two girls were mocking him and his picture, and for the next few weeks he kept finding "evidence" that they were making fun of him. One of those weeks I was substitute teaching his class, and he seemed even more upset than usual, sulking in a corner of the room. When I asked for a volunteer to give the opening prayer, though, he jumped up and ran over to me, begging to be the one. I thought this was a good sign, so I let him go ahead. It was a very brief prayer, consisting of a few rushed formalities, followed by the following heartfelt plea: "Please bless us so that we can all get home safely today, except Lauren and Josie!" (After church we had a little talk about the inappropriateness of invoking the wrath of God to strike your fellow first-graders, but he seemed to have gotten most of the venom out of his system, and he's been much more pleasant ever since.)