"I don't think that's right, Mommy."
"Trust me, it's right."
"No, you're actually wrong."
"I'm actually right, Adelaide."
"I'm afraid you're mistaken. I KNOW that you are wrong."
"Adelaide. You have been on this earth for all of five years. I've been here for nearly three decades. I think I know what I'm talking about."
(sing-songy) "No, you don't."
At this point in our daily conversation/argument I start grinding my teeth and remind myself that I am the adult here. I do not need to allow myself to get sucked into these pointless debates over where Laura Ingalls Wilder was born, the best way to sew a simple skirt, or if the carton contains butter or margarine.
This works for close to five seconds, then I get frustrated because I have yet again allowed myself to become distracted from our original plan of reading a book together or cooking supper. I then remind Adelaide that it does not do well to focus on the minutiae of our lives; we should be concentrating on a much bigger goal. Oh, and by the way, I'm still right.
At some point after these interactions, my words turn inward and I mentally wince for scolding Adelaide because she sometimes does what I do all the time: Get hung up on the little things, to the point that I miss the big picture. In my case, the catalyst is grammar.
First, let me say that I'm not bad about this in everyday conversation with other people. If they misuse/mispronounce/make up a nonsensical word, my brain might stutter momentarily, but I am able to move on almost immediately.
The problem is more when I am listening to a teacher. This was a problem at times in school (depending on the teacher), but as I am no longer a student, I now generally find it happening at church.
So here's where I get hung up.: The pastor (and we are blessed with three terrific ones at our church) is talking, teaching, things are going swimmingly, but then something happens. Yesterday, he said the word, "Fictitional." My mind didn't so much stumble as come to an abrupt and screeching halt. It's no wonder, what with all the screaming going on in my head: Fictitional? FICTITIONAL? That's not a word! He must have meant 'fictitious.' Right? He did mean 'fictitious,' didn't he? I mean, that's the only word that could appropriately fit the context here. He must have meant 'fictitious.'
Now, while my head is reverberating with all these thoughts, the sermon has gone on. I surface some ten seconds later, concentration broken, lost.
I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me.
Did he just say "crisises"? The plural of 'crisis' is 'crises'!
Um, no. Did he just pronounce that name "DOO-muss"? Is he seriously talking about Alexandre Dumas, author of one of my very favorite books ever, and he pronounces it "DOO-muss"? Say it with me people: 'Doo-MAH'! It's freaking French!
Then I have the audacity to lecture Adelaide on the same transgression of which I am guilty: hyper-focusing on things that honestly, don't really matter. Who cares if the pastor can't pronounce the name of some long-dead French author (except for me, obviously). Who cares if he can't convert singular nouns to plural? Who cares if he completely makes up new words? If anything, he should be getting points for creativity!
This is what I've started telling myself when my mind starts sprinting off on those unproductive grammar-Nazi tangents.
I almost believe it.