And now a word from Granny Grammar…

November 14, 2006

In more than two years of blogging and reading blogs, I’ve learned something very important:

Some people just don’t have a freaking clue when it comes to certain grammar rules.

I can easily overlook spelling errors and typos, especially in the informal context of blogging. But some errors are so heinous, and repeated so often, they beg to be addressed. So. In the interest of the public at large and the crimes being committed against the English language with terrifying frequency, here are a few, basic grammar and usage rules.

Your and You’re:

You’re missing your favorite movie.

Your is a pronoun which shows possession, as in Is this your coat? or Your eyes are lovely. You’re is a contraction, a short form of the words you are, as in Are you sure you’re alright? and You’re in a lot of trouble, mister. Anytime you start to write (or type) the word you’re, stop and substitute the words you are. If your sentence still makes sense, you’re good.

There, Their and They’re

They’re looking over there for their mittens.

There is a place or a point; it is the opposite of here, as in There is the cafeteria or Is there more to this than meets the eye? Their is a plural pronoun which shows possession, as in Their car is in the shop. They’re is a contraction combining the words they and are, as in They’re [they are] going to the store. Again, substituting the words they are in your sentence can help you determine if usage of they’re is appropriate.

Two, Too and To

Two bears are too many to challenge.

Two is a number, as in I have two dogs. Too is used when the meaning is “in addition,” as in Paris and I attended the party. Nicole came along, too. OR when the meaning is “more than enough,” as in I’ve made too many trips to the pediatrician or Too many cooks spoil the stew. To is a preposition with many definitions (see link), and is generally used whenever two and too are inappropriate, as in We went to the mall and To what do I owe this pleasure? To is also used to anchor an infinitive (to plus a verb), as in To know him is to love him. (I’ll refrain from going on a rant about split infinitives.) (Okay, I can’t refrain completely. It’s Try not to split your infinitive, NOT Try to not split your infinitive. It’s awkward, and it HURTS ME, PEOPLE.)

A lot

A lot of cars were stuck in traffic.

My seventh grade English teacher said, “If you only remember one thing from this entire year, let it be this: A lot is TWO. WORDS. Not one.” Alot is not a word.

Would’ve, Could’ve, Should’ve

Perhaps the most horrific crime currently being committed against the English language is the tendency some folks have to substitute the word of for the word have or for contractions ending in -ve. When I read something like, “I was so mad, I could of screamed,” a little part of me dies. Would’ve. Could’ve. Should’ve. As in would have, could have, and should have. As in I would’ve picked you up at the airport, if I had known you were arriving today.

One last thing, folks…

Every time you write if I had of known (*shudder*), God kills a kitten.


Tune in next time, when we address Hillbilly Grammar, and the difference between SEEN and SAW!


How to brighten an otherwise dull work day

November 7, 2006

1. Play with a puppy during your lunch hour.

2. Repeat daily, as needed.

Note: It helps if the puppy is (a) irresistibly adorable and (b) so happy to see you that he nibbles your ear lobes and dances figure-eights around and through your ankles.

How to keep your two-year-old (and yourself) entertained while waiting in the exam room of the pediatrician’s office

November 6, 2006

1. Pack crayons and a coloring book in diaper bag/backpack.

2. Offer to color with your toddler.

3. Resign yourself to the fact that he is in charge of the crayons.

4. Which means he can, at his discretion, pull the crayon you’re using out of your hand.

5. Ask him politely for another color. Say “please.”

6. He’s really getting a kick out of this power trip. It’s a game now.

7. Make sure you don’t really give a flip how the picture turns out.

8. The joy is in the path, not the destination.


Advice from the Trenches

October 3, 2006

Never have more kids than you have hands.

…and we’d teach all the babies this tune *UPDATED*

November 29, 2005

(Credit where credit is due: This post was inspired by Circus Kelli’s CD list.)

When I was pregnant with The Drama Queen (gasp!) nine years ago, Natalie Merchant appeared on the Rosie O’Donnell show, promoting the CD “For Our Children Too!”, a collection of children’s songs performed by big name artists, which benefits the Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Natalie Merchant sang her contribution to the CD, a waltz-like lullaby called “Come Take a Trip in My Airship.” I was so enamored with this song, I decided then and there that I MUST have that CD so I could learn that song and sing it to my baby. I had the CD within a week. The lyrics (Click on the link to sample the song on Amazon’s site.):

I once loved a sailor
Once, a sailor loved me
But he was not a sailor
Who sailed on the wide blue sea
He sailed in an airship
Sailed like a bird on a wing
And every evening at midnight
He would come to my window and sing

Come take a trip in my airship
Come sail away to the stars
We’ll travel to Venus
We’ll sail away to Mars
Noone will see while we’re kissing
Noone will know as we swoon
So come take a trip in my airship
And we’ll visit the man in the moon

One night, while sailing away from the crowds
We passed through the Milky White Way
While idly drifting, watching the clouds
He asked if I’d name the day
Just by the Dipper, I gave him my heart
The sun shone on our honeymoon
We swore to each we never would part
And we’d teach all the babies this tune

Come take a trip in my airship
Come sail away to the stars
We’ll travel to Venus
We’ll sail away to Mars
Noone will see while we’re kissing
Noone will know as we swoon
So come take a trip in my airship
And we’ll visit the man in the moon

I’ve mentioned this briefly before, but did you know if you sing the same one or two lullabies to a baby from the time he’s born (or in utero, even), that singing (or even humming) one of those songs will often have an almost instantaneous calming effect on the baby? It’s true. I’ve sung this song to all three of my children, though it worked best with Big Boy*. When he was younger, I could sing it from the driver’s seat of the car when he started fussing in the back seat, and he would calm down almost instantly, often going to sleep. This song will always make me think of rocking and cuddling my babies.

* Updated to add: “Come Take a Trip in My Airship” is Big Boy’s naptime lullaby. I sing “Brahm’s Lullaby” at bedtime. When Deputy Dad is on naptime/bedtime duty, I think he usually sings “The Dance”.

Public Service Announcement

January 31, 2005

Attention Men and Women of the General Public:

If I can actually COUNT YOUR FAT ROLLS through your clothes, YOUR SHIRT IS TOO DAMN TIGHT.

[Update 2-01-05: This entry is in NO WAY intended to imply that I do not have fat rolls, only that I do not offer them up for public display. I won’t show you mine, if you don’t show me yours, People.]

He Likes It! Hey Mikey!

December 9, 2004

Baby Boy had baby cereal for the first time last night. I had planned to wait until he was exactly six months old before starting solids; but our big boy was HUNGRY. He was no longer satisfied with only the contents of Mama’s boobs. He was also trying to eat Mama’s face, Daddy’s fingers, his sisters’ hair, his own fists, and anything else he could get in the vicinity of his mouth. And, since he turns six months next week anyway, we decided to go ahead and try the cereal.

Good grief, was Baby Boy excited! He’s been trying to eat our food for a while now (which is one of the signs that a baby’s ready to try solids, by the way), so he was happy to see the spoon coming at his face for a change. He ate every bite, and then tried to eat the bowl. Actually, he tried to eat the bowl BEFORE he had eaten all the cereal, because, as I said before, he tries to eat EVERYTHING he can get his little mitts on. (Takes after his Mama that way.)

So, I guess our baby has officially started solids now. Which will totally screw up things. ‘Cause, you know, one of the best things about a baby that’s exclusively breastfed is not having to mess with bottles or powders or bowls, or any other accoutrements that go along with formula-fed or food-eating babies. Not to mention what this will do to the whole diaper situation. Baby Boy typically poops once every four or five days, which is perfectly normal for a breastfed baby, and may I say very convenient. And breastmilk poop, although not necessarily pleasant – “pleasant poop” would have to be an oxymoron, don’t you think? – is certainly nothing like that slap-yo-Mama stench that escapes the bowels of formula-fed babies. (Now, let me pause here and say I am not, repeat, NOT, criticizing anyone for giving their baby formula. No nasty comments necessary. I’m simply expounding on the differences in the poopage of breastfed and formula-fed babies. I now return you to regular programming…) Starting solids is sure to change not only the frequency of said poopage, but also the odor/texture/consistency factors. I’m figuring he’ll either be constipated or will begin releasing noxious emissions on a daily basis. (Note: “emissions” didn’t sound quite right there, so I looked it up at Submit: “A substance discharged into the air, especially by an internal combustion engine.” Yep, that pretty much sums it up.)

So, score one for Gerber Rice Cereal and the advancement of baby bowel movements. And you know you can totally expect more posts about poop. Now there’s something to look forward to.