‘Never leave a child’s question unanswered.‘ That’s among the few cardinal rules my late mother passed on to me when I became a mother as well. I enjoyed it to have 3 inquisitive girls then aged 6,4 and 3. Until one time, in 2001, I realized I was not a walking encyclopedia , after all!
My eldest daughter , Christa Lou or ‘Chickie’, then 6 y.o., came home from her school with a small bluish mark on her leg. I grew up in a household where my late parents ( as dentists, esp.Dad) ordinarily called it by its medical term ‘Ecchimosis‘.
In the Ilonggo dialect, we either call it ‘lagum‘ or ‘laghub’ But since parents’ vocabulary has great influence on their children, we got used to using the medical term most often. Well, we usually tend to know more words when spoken rather than when written, don’t we ?
The word sounds high-falutin, yes, but when Chickie asked me to explain it to her, I did it with ease .”Well, it’s a black-and-blue spot you see under your skin when you get bumped, or bruised,etc.” (She nodded,then curiously struck the next question that made me pause and look blankly at her ! )
Chickie: “How do you spell it , Mama?”
Having no dictionary at hand and cellphone or laptop were not handy yet those days, I grinned and asked her back,impishly:
Me: “Good question! But..ah..er…can I spell ‘lagum’ instead? Anyway,they have the same meaning.”
What can she do but agree at that moment? A mother is always right, as old folks said.But that’s another cardinal rule to deal with.