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This evening, instead of reading her a story, I found myself giving the nine year old gel an impromptu spelling bee.  (Lest you think I have been taking a few too many swigs from the cup of St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method, let me assure you that it was her idea, not mine.)

After a while, stumped for a word suitable to her academic level (i.e, somewhere between “spot” and “onomatopoeia”), I suddenly remembered one of my favorites.

“Okay,” I said, “try defenestration.”

After pronouning it to herself a couple times, the gel had a go.  And I’m happy to report that aside from an “i” where she should have put an “e”, she pretty much got it right.

“Know what it means?” I asked her.

“Um, no,” she said.

Whereupon I told her.

After a split-second’s silence, suddenly the gel’s eyes blazed and she burst out laughing.

“Word of the day, then?” I asked.

“Word of the day? Word of the year!” she replied. “Word of my life! Best. Definition. Evah!  I can’t wait to take it in and share it at morning meeting tomorrow!”

Whereupon she hopped out of bed, grabbed pen and paper and insisted on writing down both the word and its meaning, lest she forget.  

Well, all I can do at this point is apologize in advance to the gel’s teacher.  On the other hand, I surely would like to be a fly on the wall when that squib goes off in the morning.


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December 2009