No, Mama, You’re Wrong!

In our mixed bag of crayons (remnants of a collection I had long before I was married, I think it traveled from Texas with me so who knows where its ultimate origin) is one purple crayon that is unusually long and skinny and lacking a paper wrapper. In fact, it is shaped more like a pen than a crayon. Which led to this amusing dialog this morning:

Bella, holding up the purple crayon: “Pen!”

Me: “No, crayon.”

Bella, unconvinced: “Pen!”

Me, insistent: “Crayon.”

Bella, growing slightly agitated: “Pen!”

Me: “No. It’s a crayon.”

Bella, very fussy:  “Pen!”

She puts her hands over her eyes in the gesture she uses when she’s upset as I repeat once more: “No. It’s a crayon.”

Finally, Bella holds up a chubby red crayon in a paper wrapper, “It’s a crayon.” Then she holds up the purple pen-shaped crayon, “It’s a pen.”

A fascinating window into the acquisition of language and the process by which she sorts objects into categories and names things that share common characteristics. Clearly the object in question had more of whatever characteristics she attributes to pens and less of those she assigns to crayons. So though I call it a crayon because in my mind a crayon is made of paraffin or wax while a pen dispenses ink, she’s got a different working definition of those terms. Kudos to her for sticking to her guns. Even if she is wrong.

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