The conversation around our family’s dinner table tonight was very much like a long answer to the joke that starts with,
“What do you get when you cross a linguist with a speech-language pathologist?”
Lyle, kicking things off with a random deep thought: Mommy, of the side-to-side words (gesturing from left to right and holding out his hands), which do you like better, “left” or “right”? I mean, the words, not the directions. Which one of those words do you like the best? I like “left”.
Me, surprised: Hmm, I never thought about that. I guess I’d say I like…
Baxter, interjecting quickly: Right. I like right.
Me, finishing: …”left”. I think I’d say “left”, off the top of my head, just because it seems more unique and interesting than “right”. I guess I’m thinking about how common it is for people to be right-handed and fewer people are left-handed, so “left” seems kind of cool to me. That’s the first thing I think of.
Lyle: I like “left”, too, because “left” only means one or two things, but the word “right” can mean lots and lots of different things.
Baxter: Yeah, like when you get something “right”, or correct… I like “right” because one time in Amelia Bedelia, Mr. Rogers told Amelia to turn left and she said, “Left?” and he said, “Right!” and so she turned right! [This retelling was a lot longer but I couldn’t follow its winding roads well enough at the time to reiterate them for posterity here.]
Matt: I like “left” because it makes me think of leftovers...
Me, laughing: But I think many people have a negative connotation when they think of leftovers!
Matt: Well, I’m thinking of pizza leftovers… (all three of us were suddenly on board)
Baxter: Then there’s also getting “left” in the dust, and that’s bad...
And so it went, on and on. We also discussed our preferences for “up” v. “down” and a variety of other oddities. This has just got to be in their genes.
** Edited to add: At breakfast this morning, Baxter taught Lyle what vowels and consonants are. The boys spent half an hour giving each other words and naming the vowels in them. (I made Lyle a cheat-sheet.) They both found this endlessly entertaining. After this posting of last night’s dinner conversation, I did, too.