Summer rerun3: Ender says rock

Polonius: What do you read, my Lord?

Hamlet: Words, words, words.

That would be a pretentious warning that the following rerun contains words that may offend. Well, just one. But repeated a lot. Because. This is a story of Ender learning to say… ROCK.

Yes, rock can be a dirty word. Read on.

(Originally published on November 22, 2011, when Ender was two’ish.)

NBTB-Ender Says Rock

Ender learned a new word today. His fourth or fifth I suppose. I’m so proud. I only wish his pronunciation was a mite better…

We’re at the Glenbow Museum, yyc’s answer to whatever THE museum in your town is. It has armour, paintings. Teepees. Rocks. That’s the trouble…

Cinder and Flora do their crafts in the Discovery Room, and then decide that they want to show Ender the rocks and minerals collection. We go up. They all pet the geode. (There’s a pet geode you can pet there. For real. You should come visit.) And Cinder says,

“See, Ender? You know what that is? A rock. That’s a rock.”

And Ender, adulation in his eyes, looks at his big brother and says…


Flora’s eyes get big as saucers. Cinder howls and howls. “Yes, Ender, that’s a fuck. A great big fuck.” Sideways glance at me. “What? He said it first.”

Jane: “Doesn’t mean you have to say it.”

Cinder: “You say it’s ok for us to swear when it’s appropriate.”

Jane: “I’d say right now is not appropriate.”

Cinder: “Fine. Ender? Come with Bubba. Look here. What’s this?”

Ender: “Fuck!”

Cinder: “And this?”

Ender: “Fuck!”

Cinder: “How about these over here?”

Ender: “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!”

I may never be able to return to the Glenbow again.

2014: I’ve been back. I have no shame.



PS Looking for me? Awesome. Click here.

Why the rerun: Nothing By The Book is taking a page from old school un-social media and doing a re-run summer, while I spend the hot days getting a tan, running through sprinkles, selling one book, writing another, reading two dozen more, neglecting my garden, falling in love, jumping off cliffs—you know. Everything but blogging. But, you get reruns of my favourite stuff, so everyone wins. Likely keeping up with Instagram—NothingByTheBook—connect there, if you like? Or Twitter—  or/and .”

Of first words, scheming mothers, and rewriting history

Flora: Was my first word really Bubba?

Jane: Sure was. That’s what you called Cinder.

Flora: Bubba sounds nothing like Cinder.

Jane: But it sounds a bit like Brother, right? I was always saying, “Brother loves you, Flora,” or “Let’s go see Brother,” and so you turned it into “Bubba.”

Flora: What was Cinder’s first word?

Pause. I’m still bitter.

Jane: um… Anya.

Anya was the name of our beloved Doberman. Cinder’s oldest “sister.” Anya was three when Cinder was born, and worked very hard to keep Cinder from learning to crawl or walk.

Flora: Really? What was his second word?

Jane: um… Doggie.

Flora: Really? Not Mama?

Jane: No. Not Mama.

OK, it’s stupid to be bitter about this, right? What does it matter that his first word was Anya, and the second word was doggie, and…

Flora: And his third word was Mama, right?

Jane: No. His third word was Dadda.

This is the part where I start to think I shouldn’t have written all of this down. If I hadn’t documented it, I could rewrite history, right? I’d even let “Dadda” be his first word. “Mama” would be second.

Flora: And then Mama?

Jane: Um, no. Then… stuff like “Yes.” “No.” “More.” Mama was… well, I wasn’t keeping track of first word, second word by the time mama came along if you know what I mean.

Flora: And my first word was “Bubba.”

Jane: Yup. And then Anya, and Dadda. And then Mama.

Fourth word. Not that I’m counting. 

Flora: So what was Ender’s first word?

We both turn to look at Ender, who’s sitting in his car seat smearing whipped cream all over his face and spilling hot chocolate everywhere, a picture of gluttony and happiness and innocence. And I… I seize the moment.

Jane: Mama. Ender’s first word was Mama.

Flora: Oh, you must have been so happy.

Jane: Yes, yes, I was. It took three babies, but finally, I had one whose first word was…

Ender: My first word was Monkey.

I don’t want you to think that I’m the sort of person who’s capable of looking at her child with loathing. But there was a look.

Jane: No. Your first word was Mama.

Ender: No. It was Monkey.

Jane: It was Mama. I remember.

Ender: It was Monkey. Hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo.


Sloth monkey