Several months ago Will introduced Katie to "The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time". They play it on his still-working Nintendo 64.
I was never much of a gamer, so when I first saw Katie playing it I pronounced "Ocarina" like "Oooooh-carina". Probably because I was born in St. Joseph MO and it's what we do. We're big fans of the long o. You can tell a person is a native of the city if they rarely refer to it by its proper name but instead call it "St. Joooooh". Sometimes we even add an "oooooh" sound to "aw" words. I pronounce our dog Sawyer's name like it's spelled Soy-er. And if I ever had to visit a lawyer, I'd tell you I'm heading out to see my loy-er.
Will, however, is not from St. Joe. And he's a musician. He's used to words like octave. So even though he'd told Katie a thousand times the proper pronunciation of "ocarina" with a short o, she still had trouble remembering and would mimic my mispronunciation of it.
Until today. When I found her reading a comic book I'd checked out for her from the library, The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time Volume 2, I said, "You like that Ocarina of Time book, don't you?"
"It's Ocarina," she corrected me, using the short o as if she were some kind of pro.
"Oh, yes, sorry, I forgot." I left her to her fancy words.
So tonight I was tucking her into bed. Katie looked at the clock and announced, "It's eleven o'clock."
"Yep. Three hours past your bedtime if it were a school night." It is my motherly duty to remind my daughter of the structure in her life that will ensue at the end of summer.
She ignored me and said, "O'clock. Wouldn't it be funny if it was pronounced a'clock?"
"You mean because it's the time that shows on a clock? So it's a'clock?"
"No, like ocarina, not ooooohcarina."
"Oh! I see what you mean. Yes. Like octopus."
"Yes!" She sounded very proud of me that I was finally catching on. "Mama, I think it's the 'oc' words that are pronounced "ah" and the "o" words are pronounced 'oooooh'."
"That's smart thinking, Punk! Kiss your brain!" I love that phrase. I learned it from her kindergarten teacher who would have the children kiss their palms and touch their foreheads whenever they figured something out.
Katie complied. She kissed her palm, but she a-little-too-enthusiastically whacked her forehead.
"Ouch!" She laughed. "If I hit my head too hard everything inside might come out my ears in a big splat!"
Sharing some of her grey matter with the world isn't such a bad idea.