I’m in the back seat of Ed’s green Pathfinder with my friend Kayla, who is three, and we’re on the way to an Easter gathering at Wally and PJ’s place. Ed and Elaina (her grandparents, who are raising her) are in front.
Kayla shows me the contents of her colored wicker basket and announces, “I got eggs.”
I say, “No, you have eggs.”
She says, “I know, I just said that.”
I say, “Look, it’s not, I ‘got’ eggs, it’s I ‘have’ eggs.”
She says, “You don’t got eggs. I got eggs.”
Ed says, “Uh oh, I can tell this is going to be a long ride.”
I say, “Kayla, this isn’t a possession conversation, it’s a grammar conversation.”
Ed, rolling his eyes in the rearview mirror, chimes in, “Great, that clears it right up for a three-year-old.”
She hugs her basket tightly to her chest and declares indignantly, “They’re mine!”
I ignore him and continue, “Darling, I know they’re yours and I’m not taking them, I promise, but when you have eggs in your basket you don’t say: I ‘got’ eggs, you say: I ‘have’ eggs.”
We arrive. Ed, relieved that this conversation is soon to be over, parks in front of the barn, Elaina, laughing, gathers her plates of pies and my chocolate brownies, and I unfasten Kayla from her car seat and she scrambles out the back. As we are readying ourselves to join the party, Kayla looks up at me with her grandmother’s Irish blue eyes, shows me her collection again, and says proudly, “I have eggs.”
I straighten her cream-colored crocheted Easter outfit, then rest my hand on top of her red hair and beam at her freckled little face. “Yes you do, my friend, yes you do!”
And that’s how you teach grammar to a smart three-year-old.
— Sonoma 1999
Catherine Sevenau is a local writer, irreverent humorist, and astute storyteller. Her newly completed third book, “Through Any Given Door, a Family Memoir” is available as a free web series at Sevenau.com. A longtime Realtor and Owner/Broker at CENTURY 21 Wine Country. [email protected]