Context

Isaac is in his literal stage. His mother asks, “Isaac, where is your sock?” Isaac replies, “I took it off.” (He’s also in his stripper stage. I thought this only happened to girls whose parents give them names like “Brandi,” but like so many other parental notions I entertained before this boy came along, this is not true.)

“Where did you take it off?” asks his mother. “Off of my foot,” he says, with that you idiot tone of voice typically heard only from teenagers and customer service representatives.

He’s also in his legalistic stage. We don’t allow the children to throw around words like “pee-pee,” because if we did allow it, every other word in our house would be “pee-pee.” These boys are with “pee-pee” the way the writers of The Sopranos are with the f-bomb.

So no “pee-pee,” is the rule, unless it’s necessary, as in: “I have to go pee-pee,” or “Ouch! The toilet seat fell on my pee-pee!”

Well, Isaac has picked up on the spelling of “Mississippi.” He can’t quite spell it, but he knows there’s a couple of “p’s” in there somewhere. So he’ll burst out with something like, “Ess-I-ess-I-ess-ess-I-pee-pee-I.” Then he’ll glance at his mother. “I said ‘pee-pee’ Mom. Should I say ‘pee-pee?'”

“Only if you’re spelling ‘Mississippi,’ Isaac.”

“Oh. Okay. Sissippi. I-ess-ess-I-pee-pee-I. Ess-I-ess-I-ess-ess-I-pee-pee-I. Ess-ess-ess-I-pee-pee-I. . .”