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For the past several months, as Quinn's vocabulary has increased, I've dubbed him The Prepositionally Challenged One, followed always by an endearing chuckle. I never tire of hearing him announce confidently, "because I want milk!" when I ask him, "would you like something to drink?" or "it's for Bryce's" when I ask him, "whose toy is that?" I love his little made-up language. There's a lot more to it than phonetics and incorrect pronunciation, though. There's something subtly instinctual and immediately innocent about the way he speaks; he wants to get his message across and he simply doesn't need the limitations of things like grammatical rules or the anal tendencies of those of us who prefer to hear words pronounced correctly, just because in our nit-picky, controlling ways, we like to, you know, understand those who speak to us.

The other night we were having dinner with my mom in a public location, and while she waited for the margarita to take its effect on me, and because she wants her last grandchild to live past the age of three, she attempted to distract him with some questions she knew he'd proudly answer. She figured it would buy her at least 30 seconds, and that maybe by then he would have lost interest in hand-sculpting Mount Rushmore out of his rice and beans while taunting me loudly in his knowledge that smearing the pasty mixture into my hair would set off a chain reaction that, while ultimately regrettable in its tragic removal of after-dinner Smarties, would momentarily be damned good entertainment. "Quinn!" She said, accessing her mental files as quickly as her brain would allow, "Uh...hey! Who is your mom?!"

He stopped, his still-clean hand poised directly over his soon-to-be projectile. His face softened, and looked at me, then at my mom, then back at me: "He's... he's so pretty!"

Yes, the pronoun was wrong, and according to the rules of conversational English, he didn't actually answer the question, but in his mind, he legitimately did. Silence fell over the table as we all swooned in his cuteness. But it just wasn't enough for my mom, because she is an addict. "Aw, Quinn, that's so sweet!! And who is your dad?" Again, he paused over his near-weapon, looked across the table at John, and uttered the phrase we've all been thinking for the past four and a half years:

"He's a good mother."