Sunday afternoon was devoted to putting up Christmas lights.

I don’t have a ladder tall enough to reach our front-porch roof. But we have one of those heat-wasting two-story foyers, and there’s a window right above the front door, about 12 feet up, and it opens onto the porch roof. So I took our 8-foot ladder inside and climbed up. I had to reach up as high as I could and unlock the window (why’s it locked? to keep the top part from sliding down, of course), then boost myself up and pull myself through the window.

Trish and Ella stood outside and watched. I think Trish tries to find a balance between letting me act like a fool and worrying that she’s going to have to start cashing disability checks.

I got about half-way out the window when I heard Ella say something, and Trish laugh.

“What’d she say?”

“She said, ‘He doesn’t know what he’s doing!'”

Of course, Ella said it in a very cute, sing-song voice, but she’s very convincing. HE doesn’t know what he’s DOing! And when I laughed she started saying it over and over.

“Where’d you learn that?” I wanted to know. I try to keep a mental list of phrases she’s not supposed to learn from me.

“From Grandpa.”

Yep. Sounds like something my dad would say.


The other day we were in the car coming back from shopping.

“Ella, when we get home do you want to ride your bike?”

“Yes I do. … Well, actually, I just want to watch a movie.”

I looked at Trish. “Did she just say, “actually?”

Trish, laughing: “Yeah, I think that’s what she said.”

“Did you say, ‘actually?'”

“Yes I did.”

Now, everything is actual. “Actually, I just want some milk.” “Actually, I’m not tired.” “Actually, I want to listen to Rhinoceros Tap.”

Actually, you’re just 3 years old! Far too young to be talking like an adolescent, much less using sentence-modifying adverbs (I looked it up here and here) in proper context.