A preschooler’s dictionary of terms according to Scarlett

Scarlett is four-and-a-half today, and one of my favorite things about her is the way she speaks. She has the voice of a chipmunk, for one — loud and high-pitched — but in a charming way, and two, she has a knack for inventing words that make so much sense to the rest of us that we start using them in our regular speech around the house.

Here are a few of my favorite Scarlettisms:

1. Yanky – this adjective describes a sensation to which we can all relate. When you are wearing a long-sleeved shirt and you slide your arm into a thin sweater and the friction between the two fabrics is uncomfortable, you might say, if you are four years old, “I don’t want to wear that sweater. It’s too yanky.”

2. Tearous – Scarlett was having so much fun with my husband, when she turned to him and said, “Daddy, when I am so so happy, sometimes I cry a little bit. I get tearous.” I think hearing her describe that event made him tearous himself.

3. Unsleeve – to turn a garment right-side out. One of the most common requests made by a girl who changes back and forth from regular clothes to leotards on a regular basis. “Can you unsleeve this shirt?”

4. Todding – this verb describes the act of a ponytail bouncing along as it’s owner walks or runs. Often seen on gymnasts in the 2-4 year old age bracket, the word derives from the term toddler, a child who walks funny and causes visible todding of their hairdos.

5. Shoot it out – another frequent request made to parents or any available adult with solid motor skills. Blankets and sheets that are being used for play with dolls, forts, or indoor picnic-related activities are hard to lay down flat, no matter how many times you shoot them out. “Mommy, please bring my green blanket and shoot it out right there.”

Happy four-and-a-half, Scarlett! May your favorite stuffed animals continue to be soft, not scrubby.