I am not especially familiar with the work of rapper Busta Rhymes, and I am sure if I were I might regret assigning that moniker to my four-year-old son; but ignorance is bliss, and it is a such a pithy name to describe our boy who rhymes!
Oscar’s propensities for language revealed themselves early, and talking with him, for me, is a sheer delight. But lately he has been manipulating language in such a way–through malapropisms and rhyme–that make his self-described nerdy English teacher mom sit up and take notice.
Tonight instead of playing with his Oscar the Grouch puppet, it was Oscar the Pouch. In explaining to me yesterday afternoon how milk is procured, he said you milk a cow’s gutters. For a snack this afternoon, he asked not for key lime yogurt but key lime motor, which afforded me the opportunity to discuss with him the freeing concept of approximate rhyme. And my personal favorite: “Mommy, are you going to have imperial for dinner?” Of course, he is referring to my beloved Frosted Mini-Wheats, or cereal. Each of these instances, naturally, is followed by twinkling eyes and maniacal laughter.
Having endeavored for the last 19 years to help students to improve their English language skills has been incredibly rewarding, but watching Oscar’s skills blossom as he plays with language is about all the entertainment I require. And I believe that watching this process unfold since its inception has made me a more sensitive teacher as well.
When Oscar was a baby, and I was still in the throes of serious sleep deprivation, I thought I heard him say “Constantinople.” I attributed it to the sleep deprivation, but now I’m not so sure.