The Games Children Play

The other day as I was cooking (a.k.a. heating and stirring), my older kids sat at the kitchen table playing a word game.

I wasn’t paying close attention, but I knew my daughter was asking my son some questions and giving him multiple choice answers. And as long as he followed her directions exactly, there was peace.
I don’t know where she gets that from.
“Nope!  You are wrong!” my daughter declared triumphantly.  Encouragement may not be her gift.
“Stay here,” she commands and comes over to the stove where I am laboring over macaroni and says, “Mom, we’re playing idioms.  Can you give me another one, so I can see if he can guess the meaning?”
I must confess even though I have a degree in English, I couldn’t recall the definition of the word idiom, much less an example.  Probably because I was using so much energy and brain cells on cooking.  
I told my daughter as much and she looked disgusted.  It must be hard to be gifted and talented and live with such trolls.
She returned to her seat and looked into the face of little brother.  “Do you even know what an idiom is?”
He paused.  I leaned in, hoping to hear the answer.  He scratched his head and pushed up his glasses.  I could tell he wanted to please his big sister.
“Am I an idiom?” he asked earnestly.
I laughed and said, “No, honey, but great minds think alike.”
My daughter stood and declared, “That’s an idiom.”
And so it is.


  1. 1


    Ok, I love that story!! My parents have housed international students for the last 15 years, and every time a new student comes, we sit around and tell them American idioms. It’s always hilarious to try and explain…there are SO many that we use. “Cat got your tongue, break a leg, you’re a pain in the neck” etc.
    Enjoyed it!:)

  2. 2

    Marcy - The Glamorous Life! says

    Please let Ms. Smartie Pants know that I working on a post for this week all about IDIOMS. We LOVE them in our house. There is lots of comedy in idioms. Even if it does sound alot like idiOT…..

  3. 3


    Ok, too smart for “your” own good! Cute Cute Cute. I had to really think hard about it myself, glad you got it explained quickly so I didn’t have to hurt myself thinking!!!

  4. 4


    So funny. I tutor a student for whom English is a second language and I’ve learned from her how horribly American English is stuffed with idioms. Most of which make no sense to an English learner.

  5. 7


    I remember feeling absolutely annoyed when my mother would forget something so simple. Now, as revenge, I can barely remember if I’ve showered this week or not. LOL

    Cute story! :)

  6. 8


    Great post! Here’s a few for future reference:

    You’re driving me up the wall!
    I’m so hungry I could eat a horse (also a hyperbole).
    Her face fell when she heard the disappointing news.
    Quit running around like a chicken with its head cut off (also a simile).
    My eyes swept the floor searching for the missing earrings.
    I’ll go out on a limb for you.

    Great fun! What an entertaining post.

  7. 23


    I am laughing so hard. I truly didn’t know what an idiom was until I got to the end of your post and said “oh, that’s what it is” LOL.

    My own daughter sometimes looks at me and says “mom what did they teach you in school?” LOL

  8. 26


    I have an English degree too, and the whole time I was reading this I was thinking, “Idiom, idiom….hmmmmm.”

    Glad to see my expensive college education is paying off.

    Great story!

  9. 27


    Why is it that everyone thinks an English major must always (as in for the rest of our lives) remember the proper terms for all of the English language, write/speak with perfect grammar (even if it’s a grocery list), know how to properly diagram a complex sentence (yeah, that’ll get you a high-paying job or a raise, right?) and never spell anything incorrectly?

    I feel your pain…

  10. 32


    ha ha! Great post!

    Did you know there are actually whole BOOKS on idioms and their origins? I don’t have one, but I have a friend who does. We had a good time reading through it one day…much fun!

  11. 36


    Okay, I LOVE the English language, and although it doesn’t show much of the time, I’m pretty darn good at it.

    But, I had to look up Idiom, and now I totally get it!!!! Thank your daughter for me. I LEARNED something today, BLOGGING of all places. See, it’s well worth the effort of blogging.

  12. 37


    Thank goodness for 4th grade! That’s the grade I worked with this year and where the word “idiom” was refreshed in my vocabulary. Otherwise, I would have been staring blankly at this post. 😉

    We are two peas in a pod! I, too, get that look from my smart (alec) children.

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