H-A-N-G-M-A-N

by Rebecca on November 5, 2013

Here’s a tip: Don’t play Hangman with a child who is learning to spell.

My 5-year-old has finally reached the age where she no longer causes outbursts during sacrament meeting (one hour of the Mormon church’s Sunday worship service). She is a good reader, and keeps herself busy with books and drawing. She even sings along to the hymns from time to time.

I’ve waited for this moment for a long time. In contrast to our 2-year-old who stands on the pew promptly at the halfway mark of the meeting and points angrily at the exit, our 5-year-old is a delight to sit next to. We’ve been basking in the relative ease of this particular child during this particular hour of the week.

Then I taught her how to play Hangman a few weeks ago.

I went first, and used easy words like “cat” and “dog.” She loved it, and now understanding the game, drew her own noose (what a morbid society we are to teach such games to our children), followed by four lines that represented letters I was supposed to guess.

It wasn’t long before my man was hanging, no life left in his poor stick-figure body any longer. “What’s the word?” I whispered, my pride wounded at not being able to guess a word with only four letters.

“Kitty,” she responded and proceeded to fill in the blanks with C E D Y.

“Right,” I said and promptly sent her to play another frustrating round with her dad.

Last week, I agreed to play again. The noose was drawn, four lines were carefully inked onto the paper. “A?” I asked. No dice. “E?” E filled in the last two blanks. I guessed the remaining letters to the words “free,” “flee,” and “tree” before I gave up and sent her again to her dad.

“H?” he asked. It went in the first spot. So this is what we had.

H blank E E

Suddenly, she realized she had made a mistake. “Oh!” she shout/whispered. “There’s another letter there.” And she added a line between the blank and the E, so we had:

H blank blank E E

Now intrigued, both my husband and I took turns guessing letters, our Hangwoman (this time) getting closer and closer to her death, when Lydia realized another mistake.

“Oh! The first E isn’t an E. It’s an S.”

What?

After some messy adjusting, her word now read:

H blank S S E

Our poor stick-figure was dead in her grave by the time we asked, “Well, what is the word then?

“House!” Lydia responded and filled in the missing O.

H O S S E

She looked eagerly at me to play another round. My spelling sensibilities couldn’t take another second of the massacre of the English language — even if the killer of spelling was simply an innocent little 5-year-old who I love more than life itself.

Resolving to purchase a spelling book the next day, I pointed my eager 5-year-old toward her dad. I then traded one frustration for another and picked up the 2-year-old, waiting patiently for the halfway mark of the meeting when her toddler demands would inevitably force me to leave the room — happily leaving misspelled words in my wake.

(I did, indeed, use spell check on this post. Let’s hope it didn’t miss anything!)

 

{ 2 comments }

Linda November 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm

_ _ w _ u _

Linda November 6, 2013 at 6:07 pm

There needs to be a space between the w and the _. I made two spaces but when I hit submit it knocked the space out.

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