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We're trying to get The Squiggle to say "I don't know" when he doesn't, well, know something. It's rough going, because it turns out that he's a bluffer par excellence. If he doesn't know what something is, he just makes something up. But there's no hint of deception. He really sells it.

{I hold up a Hotwheels.}

Me: What's this?

Squiggle: It's a car.

M: That's right.

{I hold up a mug.}

Me: What's this?

S: It's a cup.

M: It is a cup, good job!

{I hold up an huge binder clip.}

M: And what's this?

S: It's a flongle.

M: It's a-- what?

S: A flongle.

M: Look, if you don't know what it is, just say "I don't know." What is this?

S: I don't know.

M: It's a clip.

S: A clip.

M: Exactly.

{I hold up a pair of needlenose pliers.}

M: What's are these?

S: Those are jemplons.

Hopefully we'll be able to break him of this habit soon.

On the other hand, we're going to feel like idiots if we later find out that flongle and jemplons are the words for clip and pliers in Aramaic .

Reading the Dictionary Squiggle reads the dictionary,
in preparation for another round
of What's This?
Posted on September 06, 2007 to Squiggle


awesome. totally awesome. i wish i was as creative as he was!

Posted by: Darcy on September 7, 2007 4:37 PM

Wow! Look at how big Squiggle is now!

I'm not a mother or anything, but my experience is that many boys never grow out of this phase. Squiggle seems to have a pretty good handle on his bullshitting, so he's ahead of the game there.

Posted by: Kate on September 7, 2007 4:59 PM

Does he have the Dr. Seuss book, "On Beyond Zebra"? The protagonist, after going from "a is for apple" all the way to "z is for zebra", decides he doesn't want to stop, and just keeps right on. Sounds perfect for him.

Posted by: MikeJ on September 7, 2007 5:02 PM

I guess I see the need to break him of this habit... but it's kind of a shame, don't you think? I wish I had the ability to calmly and confidently make stuff up.

Posted by: CM on September 7, 2007 5:18 PM

You'd better break him of this... Don't want him to grow up to be a Republican.

Posted by: NSMike on September 7, 2007 6:32 PM

lol - NSMike.

The Squiggle is THE most adorable boy in the whole wide world. I'm a mom, so I've got cred on these things.

Posted by: Karen Demerly on September 7, 2007 7:05 PM

There's a name for this: Male Answer Syndrome. (Not sure if it's in DSM-IV).

Posted by: gruve on September 7, 2007 7:33 PM

My kingdom for a quality pair of jemplons.

Posted by: Davey on September 8, 2007 2:19 AM

My girls will both do this, and since they were both adopted and their early years are largely a mystery to us, the results can be scary.

SCENE 1: MOTHER and CHILD are watching a tv show featuring water activities.

MOTHER: Can you swim?


SCENE 2: MOTHER and CHILD arrive at nearby pool. CHILD hops into water and plummets to the bottom of the pool. MOTHER retrieves CHILD, and while CHILD'S lungs are clearing, MOTHER resolves to be more skeptical of claims of CHILD'S competence in the future.

Oh well, nobody got hurt. Not seriously, anyway.

Posted by: elizabeth on September 8, 2007 7:09 AM

Flongle? Jemplons? I think he just named two new content management systems.

Posted by: Scott Hardie on September 8, 2007 7:58 AM

My nephew called lightbulbs "lightblobs" and my son calls contact lenses "eyetacks". I'm sorry, but it's just too sweet to correct.

Posted by: wetwebwork on September 8, 2007 1:10 PM


Posted by: Keith on September 8, 2007 6:42 PM

I am a jewelry designer and I use my jemplons almost every day.

I also make up nonsense words for things I either don't know what they are or that I just can't remember what they are called. I really can't be bothered to waste time learning words I will just forget or remembering words that no matter what, will not be pried from the deep recesses of my brain.

Posted by: Jen on September 8, 2007 9:13 PM

Flongle and jemplons? Holy crap, those are PERFECT words for those items!

I like this kid, and I only just now found out about him. Write these words down!

Also, wetwebwork, I'm going to add eyetacks to my daily vocabulary. TOO perfect.

Posted by: erat on September 9, 2007 11:46 AM

Flongle and jemplons? Holy crap, those are PERFECT words for those items!

I like this kid, and I only just now found out about him. Write these words down!

Also, wetwebwork, I'm going to add eyetacks to my daily vocabulary. TOO perfect.

Posted by: erat on September 9, 2007 11:46 AM


It could be that at his age he doesn't and can't distinguish between reality and fantasy. Maybe as far as he's concerned, they really ARE flongles and jemplons and stuff. He's little. Trying to make him appreciate the difference between his made-up world and the world-of-the-rest-of-us before he's capable of getting that concept could mess him up. Just a thought. Loved that post of yours, though. I love reading about your son.


Posted by: Braha on September 10, 2007 2:29 AM

When my daughter was two, she called the humidifier in her room her "human fighter." I guess D&D geekery is inherited from the father.

Posted by: Dan Someone on September 10, 2007 5:48 AM

Holy crap, but he's really starting to look like his dad. (Thankfully leavened with what I assume is mom-based goodness.)

Anyway, "flongle" and "jemplons" are truly awesome words. Man, I'm dyin' to hear some more of his Squiggle-isms.

Posted by: Steve on September 10, 2007 10:45 AM

If parents weren't such bramliks, they'd quit trying to frast their own mymsis on the poor kids, dranjat!

Posted by: Bill Fisher on September 10, 2007 10:59 AM

When he's older, you'll have to read him "Frindle" by Andrew Clement.

Posted by: Genevieve on September 10, 2007 11:01 AM

Sounds like Squiggle has a hidden copy of Ricky Gervais' "Flanimals." Flongle sounds exactly like something out of that book.

Posted by: Dave on September 10, 2007 11:47 AM

I think this trait should be encouraged. Kid will put himself through college playing poker.

Posted by: redhead on September 10, 2007 1:30 PM

Anticipate the positive.
My money's on Aramaic. Or whatever language they speak in the closest Lenticular galaxy.

Posted by: Tracy on September 10, 2007 3:21 PM

I am going to steal those terms and turn them into a euphemism for male genitalia. In fact, I think I am going to call in to work tomorrow and when they ask for a reason I am going to play coy and say 'well, I um... have something going on... with my flongle and my jemplons'

Another Tuesday of work avoided!

Three huzzahs for (the) Squiggle!

Posted by: MBCBUYB on September 10, 2007 7:24 PM

Oh, how I love it when my three year old does that. The crazy made up words for things she doesn't know the word to.

She also likes to make up names for people on occasion.

She's the Queen of Making Shit Up, a veritable preschool Cliff Klaven.

Posted by: ozma on September 10, 2007 11:06 PM

That's a more useful skill than knowing how to identify needle nose pliers... I'm not sure I can identify them.

Posted by: Jackie on September 11, 2007 12:36 AM

Totally unrelated, look at that hair! Oh my god what a cutie! You and the Queen have a huge high school problem on the horizon. Oh the future romantic heartbreaks that kid's gonna bring. You have the world's most huggable little guy. Well, after mine that is anyway.

Posted by: HDC on September 11, 2007 11:22 AM

Actually, I know of a couple jokes where the setup is "How do you say [some 20th century neologism] in Aramaic?"

I'm afraid to post them, though, since I always misspell the words that have Hebrew cognates, and the punchlines are really only funny if you've read certain religious texts. And frankly? They're not even *that* funny if you have.

Posted by: Howard on September 11, 2007 11:28 AM

"If parents weren't such bramliks, they'd quit trying to frast their own mymsis on the poor kids, dranjat!"

Bill Fisher, thanks for my 2nd roffle of the day, after reading this entry...

Posted by: Greg on September 11, 2007 3:40 PM

LOL. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Steve on September 12, 2007 4:00 AM

That's the second time you've had me laughing out loud (loudly) in my world of quiet cubicles! Great post!
Hopefully he will hang on to that amazing creativity.

Posted by: lesley on September 12, 2007 10:20 AM

Howard, that's the most failed telling of a joke evar. Awesome.

Posted by: jeremy on September 12, 2007 12:51 PM

I'm with Squiggle on this one.. flongles are the bomb. I have an entire desk full.. they sit right next to my petzies

Posted by: Cher on September 14, 2007 4:02 AM