Oh *&$@ My Daughter Can S-p-e-l-l

I’m a pretty good speller.

Not like spelling bee obscure word spelling goddess.  I mean rapid fire conversation with multiple spelled words.

Like “Should we go to the  D- a- i – r – y  T- w – i – s – t  for  i- c – e  c – r – e – a – m?”


“I think she’s getting a  s- h – o – t   at the  d- o – c – t – o – r  today”


“Buddy, you d- r – i – v – e   like an i- d – i – o – t!”

My husband Jamie and I have learned how to spell everything out because of three children who are nosey, have good hearing and are constantly looking for dessert.

For 6 years, we’ve been able to have random conversations that our kids don’t understand.  I’m a stickler for clean language around the kids.  My language can get a little salty with close friends and my husband.  A choice word here or there to make a point. Or a few points. But we vowed to spell stuff out to avoid enhancing a three-year old’s vocabulary with four letter words.

We’ve even had a few testy exchanges… okay,  fights where we’ve spelled out some flat-out nasty words in the heat of battle.

At times I’ve spelled so many things in a sentence, Jamie has had to stop and say, “Ok, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” And I admit I’ve spelled out words I didn’t need to, out of habit. Like “Hon, we need some more m- i – l – k.”  But it has happened.  Our oldest, the biggest eavesdropper of them all, can spell.  And she’s a really good speller.

Proof of spelling genius

“So, when should we talk about the p- a – r – t – y?”

“What party?” Caroline pipes up from the other room.

D- R – A – T.

Now what?

You see, once we had kids, we knew life would change.  We didn’t get to enjoy one bite of dinner until the baby was in bed.  So we moved dinner until after 8pm.  As more kids came along, we realized we’d have to scratch tv watching until everyone went to bed. (The Bachelor is not rated G)  Then, as kids got older, we realized we had to wait to have important conversations, like about jobs or in-laws (“Are you talking about Uncle Fred?”), until everyone went to bed.  With the spelling developments, it now seems we must save ALL parental communication until 8pm.  So I’ve made my husband a list of things we can talk about while the kids are awake.

Grocery shopping.

That’s pretty much it. He wanted to add sports, but then realized a few choice words he lets fly when his favorite teams are losing, and that pretty much ended that topic.

So while we’re thrilled Caroline is the best speller in the first grade, we can only look forward to our next two children automatically figuring out everything we’re talking about. And I’m sure Jamie and I will have meaningful, carefree conversations in about 15 years.

# – !- & – % – @.

Next speller: the 5-year-old