Miss Malaprop is my much-loved younger child. Like most preschoolers she is relishing her first forays into the big wide world, working out what her personality feels like from the inside as we, in turn, discover what it looks like from the outside. She is sensitive, extremely kind, quick-witted, hilariously funny, determined (sometimes to the point of stubbornness, at other times to the point of lunacy), has an alarming capacity to throw spectacular tantrums, and gets up to so much mischief you’d think she was the lovechild of Loki Laufeysen. She enjoys reading books, dressing up, creating things (especially involving paint, tape, glitter glue, regular glue, well…anything sticky, really), and playing with — or more likely tormenting — Marvel Girl, her older sister.
Miss Malaprop also loves to sing. Loudly. Sometimes even in tune. She particularly likes to sing along with the music she likes. And, as you might have guessed from her pseudonym on this blog, she doesn’t always get the words quite right.
“WE ARE DONE WITH BEING BESIDE THE JELLY!” she belted out from the back seat of the car the other day (as I attempted to protect her tiny developing ego by stifling my mirth and narrowly averted driving off the road). Lord only knows what the silent many — let alone the Madden Brothers — would have made of that one.
It seems, however, that Miss Malaprop is not particularly fussed what the lyrics really are. We did try explaining to her, in the kindest way possible, that Sheppard are actually singing “Say Geronimo!” and not referring to a long extinct dinosaur in their recent hit. I suspect she simply prefers to sing, “Hey Pteranadon” instead — she is a big fan of Tiny, Shiny and Don from Dinosaur Train, after all.
Wikipedia defines malapropism as “the use of an incorrect word in place of a word with a similar sound, resulting in a nonsensical, often humorous utterance”, and I must admit that in addition to finding it one of the funnier entries I’ve encountered spouting from that omniscient fount of all online knowledge, I particularly enjoyed that it included links to other linguistic wonders such as Bushisms and mondegreens. Strictly speaking, my dear daughter’s pseudonym would be more accurate were it Miss Mondegreen, given that she is notorious for substituting words she knows (or thinks she hears) for the lyrics of the songs she likes to sing. But since malapropism is derived from the French mal à propos, meaning “inappropriate”, and she is equally renowned for making statements or asking questions that are as untimely as they are unsuitable (such as proclaiming — loudly, and with great solemnity — that “Ruth’s father died!” when he is actually standing right behind her) , I have retained my original choice.
And despite her occasional indiscretions and musical blunders, Miss Malaprop is never, ever intentionally malicious. Rather, she is one of the most empathetic and considerate little beings I have had the privilege to meet, and the vast majority of the time I am more than proud to be her mum. She is the sort of child who, if you appear to be at all down in the dumps, will attempt to rally your spirits with a rendition of her own inimitable version of that old favourite from The Jungle Book movie:
Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your STRIPES!
Take that, Shere Khan.