Preschooleristics: Buffet of Quotables

My three-year-old is a child of many faces. These days, E alternates between jollity and tragedy with the dizzying finesse of goldfinch in flight. I know I was just complaining about this very thing, but I must admit we enjoy the way he makes us laugh, even whilst we want to tear our hair out.

In his more coherent moments (i.e. not the tragic ones), he possesses a variety of linguistic personalities for different purposes.

Mature vocabulary.

Some things he says make him sound like a twelve-year-old.

  • “I like to throw the ball randomly sometimes.”
  • “The baby was freaking me out when she looked worried.”
  • “I’m tellin’ ya.” (At the end of any proclamation, for emphasis.)

Then there’s the kind of language that makes you feel like you’re being lawyered by an extremely short attorney-in-pajamas.

He likes to start off sentences with “For instance” and “Speaking of which”, even though he doesn’t understand the required context of either.

Once we explained that “As a matter of fact” is a lot like “actually”; next thing we knew, he’d efficiently coined the phrase “Matter of factually”.

Then there are the things he uses pretty accurately, which can be disconcerting at times.

  • Apparently, as in “Apparently I’m not going to put on any socks.”
  • Eventually, as in “I know I’ll put those cars away eventually.” (Also Sooner or later.)
  • Probably, as in “I’ll probably like spaghetti when I’m four.” (What kid doesn’t like spaghetti? Mine.)
  • In fact, as in “In fact, I already choosed three stories.”
  • Similar, as in “Look at my two crackers. They’re quite similar.”
  • Concerned, as in (from bed, where he’s supposed to be sleeping) “Mummy, I have to pee. It’s nothing to be concerned about.”
  • I discovered, as in “I discovered my reindeer was under the bed!”
  • I realized, as in “I realized I don’t like the taste of cheese.” (Not remotely true, of course, but he’ll say such things just to get our goat.)

Sean recently had a conversation with E about pretend-shooting. For many reasons, we are not comfortable with him pretending to shoot things/people, even though it’s imaginary and it seems most boys are predisposed to do this. Sean asked him, “Why would you even want to pretend to hurt people?”

E’s response: “That’s a good question. I can’t answer that.”

Misheard phrases.

E’s newest dinky car is a Ford Falcon, but he kept forgetting it was falcon and wanted to call it balcony. I told him a falcon was a bird that flies really fast, and he extrapolated: “Mama, remember when we were walking and we saw all those balconies flying?” (They were geese that appeared to be flying faster than a passing airplane, so that made an impression.)

A few others:

  • “Is this the DVD with the movie, or the one with bonus creatures?”
  • “This is my moat control. This is the moat and that’s the troll.” (I guess it’s like chili con carne.)
  • “Hey Mama, c’mon. C’mere and mon.”
  • “We can trade cars with our chother.” Also, “They don’t know they chother’s names.”
  • Mama: “Shall I refill it for you?” E: “No, I shall. I am shell to do it.”
  • Regarding his baby sister: “Why not does she cough in her oboe?” (He has self-corrected this one, since we’ve repeated it over and over this winter. Just last weekend he told his little friend K to cough into his elbow, “so we don’t spread germs around.” Glad a few tidbits penetrate.)
  • Also, he named one of his Kinder toys, a little streamer-comet thing, “The Beauty Of It”. Guess he heard someone say, “That’s the beauty of it,” and thought it sounded about right.

Healthy self-esteem.

  • “I’m awesome at this Lego game.”
  • “Know what, Mama? I’m a talented boy.”
  • “I’m getting to be an awesome and awesome painter. Soon I’m gonna be a paint-ientist.”

Which leads us to…

New words.

Some are obvious, like paint-ientist.

And “No – colour the water blue, Mama. It’s more oceananical.”

Then sometimes he comes up with mysterious words, seemingly out of nowhere. We were listening to some classical music (Grieg, actually) and he said, “This music is metellant.” He had to explain to me that it means music that sounds like something bad’s gonna happen.

My favourite is feniciousal, or probably fnishsl. (At the time he told me about this word, he confirmed that it started with F, and then when I started guessing vowels for the next letter, he told me, in a tone like I was pretty dumb, that N came next). It means really really tall and thin, like this llama made of Duplo:

duplo llama
Right? Totally fnishsl.


  • About to solve a Tangram on my phone: “Mama, this is gonna blow my mind!”
  • While carrying his beloved purple inflatable armchair from the living room to the kitchen: “Struggle… struggle!
  • Handing me a plastic play-food can: “Can you hear that sound? That’s the sardines, screeching for their mom.”
  • Getting tired of coughing and nose-blowing: “I don’t know why I always have a cold… When I die, will I hear my sniffling?”
  • While discussing how good dinner is: “It’s so yummy, I can’t hold my heart.”
  • And more recently, in reference to cheese (even though he doesn’t like the taste): “So delicious, my heart blasted right out of my body!”
  • When I’m about to brush his teeth: “Be so gentle, because my teeth are so hard that they burst out of my mouth. You have to be super-fast-gentle, like a rocket ship.”

(Should I be worried about this theme of body parts exiting the premises?)


To his cars: “You never brush your teeth… but you don’t have teeth!”

To his drawing: “It’s a ballet girl, ballet girl, ballet girl!”

ballet girl drawing
She’s not wearing a skirt or carrying ribbons, as I guessed… those are her feet.

Three-year-old reasoning.

  • “Mama, you’re like a cow.” (Excuse me, what??) “Because you like to feed the baby so much milk.”
  • When I apologized for misunderstanding something he’d said: “Mommy, you have nothing to be sorry about.” (Aw. He has his moments of generosity of spirit.)
  • “Yeah, I love french fries. Just not the crescent-shaped ones.” (“But they’re just the same thing, you know…”) “I just don’t like them. I was born that way.”
  • In a tone of affectionate derision: “The Wonder Pets think unicorns only live in magical lands, but they’re real as well.”
  • Snuggling and leaning his head on my chest: “I can hear the ocean.”
  • “I couldn’t hear you because my lip was against this french fry.”
  • “If Simon shares with me, I will share with them. That’s the case of people and sharing.”
  • “When you’re about to die, suddenly, POOF! The food comes out your nostrils.” (“What? Why would you say that?”) “It’s just true.”
  • Examining the red, green, and blue rings that go with our Magic Bullet: “Where are the yellow and black rings?” (Took me a minute to understand the Olympic reference. Don’t know where he learned about that, though.)
  • Demonstrating his eye for gradations of colour: “This is not the same blue. This one is more navyish than this one. You hafta take them apart. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.”

Finally, some insight into his texting abilities. This screen shot was actually from November, texting Auntie Beth from my phone. I was proud of his spelling, if not his manners.

texting with a 3-year-old
Priorities, people. Christmas is more important than vowels.



15 thoughts on “Preschooleristics: Buffet of Quotables

  1. Amanda says:

    Loved the sardines screaming for their mom!!!! LOL
    Matthew didn’t make up any words that I remember but the famous one for Victoria was cephaloni. She explained to me (as though she couldn’t believe I wasn’t smart enough to know) that means to shrink really really small. She would announce “today lets be cephaloni!”

    • dilovelyadmin says:

      Yeah, the sardines probably made me laugh the hardest. I always remember the cephaloni thing… and when we were kids, the thick bubbles in a bubble bath were “shanlay”… the words seem so obvious at that age, like you don’t make them up… you just KNOW them.

  2. Mama says:

    Many of these made me LOL, but particularly the moat con troll. Do you remember when your baby sister had an affinity for beginning sentences (irrelevantly) with “Nevertheless”? (speaking of the attorney-in-pajamas)

    • dilovelyadmin says:

      I wish I could hear my baby sister saying that stuff. I’m sure I thought it was fairly cute at the time, but politics interfered. I’d love it way more now.

  3. emerge says:

    OH MY LORD this contains enough great stuff for a passel of blog posts! (Did you go through my facebook for some of those, or did you write them down at the time?)

    I LOVE those sardines, oh my word, I am laughing so hard in the living room I’m afraid of waking you up! They’re so tragic!!

    Also the heart bursting out of his body. (The time when he couldn’t hold his heart, incidentally, happened after a protracted period of refusing to eat the food in question.) A couple nights ago he told me I had to tuck his blanket around his feet so they didn’t explode out of it.

    Metellant is a great word. I was totally thinking of cephaloney (that’s how I spell it) when I heard about E’s word for the tall thing. There’s another word that he made up but which he says is Spanish – I can’t remember what it is, can you, Di? He has said it means different things, and sometimes asks me and is annoyed that I don’t know (since it is his word and not real Spanish).

  4. Helen says:

    Oh my gosh, this had me laughing ’til I cried. Oh, Nimbility, I know where E gets his word-creation penchant from….

  5. Kianwi says:

    Aw, what a pumpkin! He sounds like a very smart and creative little guy. You will be glad you catalogued all this one day, once he’s a teenager and his phrases aren’t so cute and nice anymore 😉

    This was my favorite:

    Sean asked him, “Why would you even want to pretend to hurt people?”

    E’s response: “That’s a good question. I can’t answer that.”

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