Idioms with kids are a gold mine for memories. To see their varying expressions is priceless, as they try to get their heads around an idiom and separate it with the literal meanings of words with innocent, squinting eyes. And it definitely spices up everyday conversations, too.
Raining cats and dogs
I can still remember how Iva and Uri chorused with their giggles and screams at the sight of falling felines and canines, but this newfound vocabulary has surely found its way into our normal conversations.
Dad: “Iva, is it raining outside?” Iva: “Yup.” Dad: “Cats and dogs?” Iva: “Nope, just puppies and kittens.” Dad: “Okay. I guess you don’t need boots today.”
Our most recent idiom talk was at Christmas morning. I had just woken up, while the kids were already halfway with their breakfast of bread, which we had left on the table, so that they would let us sleep in a little longer.
While I was still gargling and washing my sleepiness away, Uri was already deep in thought: “Daddy, can you stop calling this time, 8 o’clock?”
Iva had replied to Uri’s question, and they had begun conversing, but it was inaudible. When I finally joined them at the table, Iva blurted out a “Uri, Daddy isn’t listening.”
“But I was busy washing!” I protested, before going back to “Okay, I’m all ears now. What was your question again?”
“All ears!” Uri started laughing at the image I had just painted myself with for him.
“It just means that I am no longer doing anything, so I can listen to you now. All ears.”
“I said can you stop calling this time, 8 o’clock?” he went on, but not after a few more laughs.
It was just a few minutes before 8 o’clock. And, on school days, this was usually the time that we would leave for Uri’s school. So, it turns out, Uri wanted me to be exact because “this time” was obviously still not 8 o’clock.
“Well, honey, 8 o’clock can mean not just 8 o’clock, [as in exactly] 8 o’clock. It can also mean a time close to 8 o’clock. What you are talking about is called ‘8 o’clock sharp’.”
“Sharp?” Iva interjected.
“Sharp. As in when the time falls exactly at the [number] 12,” I explained.
“Falls?” Iva chuckled, as she knew that I had just shot in another idiom into the conversation. Okay. So, at Christmas day I learned how hard it is to do idiom lessons while half asleep, and caffein depleted.