By Nora Heston Tarte

I love dinosaurs, and I’ve been determined to pass that love of dinosaurs onto my son since the day he was born. His nursery decorated in dinosaurs, books about dinosaurs lining his shelves, even a little Dinosaur Train on TV now and again.

It turns out it doesn’t take much to get little boys hooked on dinosaurs, and it wasn’t long before my son was talking about them gleefully. In his cute little voice he would mispronounce it, “disanore.” Everyone just melted when he said it that way.

Fast-forward approximately two years to a routine drive to preschool and my whole world changed. Sitting there quietly for a few moments, he suddenly blurted out of nowhere: “Mom! Guess what? I can say DI-NO-SAUR.”

He pronounced it perfectly. I whipped around and exclaimed, “What?!” If I had been driving, I might have crashed, but luckily his dad was along for the ride that morning.

“DINOSAUR! DINOSAUR! DINOSAUR!” He chanted. “I’m a big boy now cause I can say dinosaur. Disanore is what babies say.”

I damn near broke down into tears right there on the way to preschool. I pestered him about who had taught him how to say it that way, I contemplated (briefly) telling him whoever corrected him was wrong and it really is pronounced disanore. But he knew—the secret was out, and I suddenly saw my little kid being dropped off on his first day of college, asking me not to get out of the car as he walked to his dorm room for the first time.

It sounds like a reach, I know, going from being able to correctly pronounce dinosaur to the sudden pangs of empty nesters syndrome, but it’s all just happening too fast. And to be honest, I was never going to teach him how to pronounce dinosaur correctly.

And since I had such an intense reaction to his pronouncement, my son now makes it a point to remind me of his genius every so often. Days go by without a mention of dinosaurs and then all of a sudden, out of the blue, he’ll say, “Mom. I can say dinosaur cause I’m big now. Does that make you sad?”

Yes it does, kid. Yes it does.

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