“I am NOT Patience!” Sari exclaimed.

“Not Patience. Patient.” I retorted.

There was a girl named, Patience, in the church nursery. So whenever we would ask our girls to be patient, or to wait, we would get the response: “I’m not Patience!” Macie, our youngest, had no idea what she was saying, but because she heard her sister constantly say this phrase, she would repeat it verbatim.

As a self-proclaimed child expert/observer, I love discovering and interacting with such occurrences. You see, no matter how much I tried to explain the differences, my two toddlers could not understand that one word can have multiple meanings. To them, when we would encourage “patience” they actually believed we were asking them to “be” Patience.

This interchange happened some time ago, but it wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago that my oldest, Sari, grasped the one-word, double (or multiple) meaning idea. It was fun to see the discovery in her mind.

It had to do with the word “rest.” I had asked Sari to finish the rest of her food. Then a couple of sentences later I made reference to them having to take a rest. After I said the second rest, Sari paused, made that invisible clicking sound in her head as a new connection was made, and she turned to me and smiled. I said: “You just figured out that one word can mean two different things, didn’t you?” Without missing a beat, she said: “Yep. Rest means going to sleep. And rest could be eating what’s leftover of your food on your plate.” I smiled again, and gave her a high-five. “Good job, Sari.”