Now I Lie Me Down to Sleep

July 27th, 2010

As Miss Mouse’s vocabulary expands, I’m trying to do my best to instill correct grammar in her wee brain from the get-go. From day one, we’ve resisted the urge to repeat her baby talk back to her, preferring to pronounce the words correctly for her. So, when she says “wa wa” I say “do you want your water?

This has been going pretty well, but for some reason, Mousie has presented a persistent misuse of lay vs. lie. When changing her diaper, she insists of chirping “lay down” when I ask her to “lie down.” I realize this is a common grammatical problem, but it was always a pet peeve of my mother’s and she has passed it down to me.

Where was it coming from?? I knew she must be hearing it wrong somewhere. I initially blamed the teachers at KinderCare, but then last night I had the horrible realization that the grammatical rapscallion was much closer to home. In fact, he lives in my home.

Yes, that’s right. My husband has been instructing my child to “lay down” when they play games together or need to change her clothes. Oh, the pain. To be betrayed by one so close to your own heart.

I’m trying to undo the damage, but I fear it may be a losing battle. Society as a whole seems determined to eradicate the distinction between those two words and I suspect it’s only a matter of time before only we purists cling to the truth. Sigh. It’s hard to be a voice in the wilderness.

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