Wednesday, February 07, 2007


My seven-year-old daughter hopped in the car.

"Show me some inestitude, Mommy," she said.

"Inestitude? What's that?"

"It's kind of like attitude, but good," she replied, with a look of inestitude.

The next day we went for a walk in the rain. My little coiner-of-words poked sticks in puddles, sang to the dogs behind fences, shouted to the clouds, declared that we were lost in the rain forest. I watched her with some amusement, and a sense of longing... to be like her... a person of inestitude.

"...then I was beside Him, like a little child; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always..." Proverbs 8:30

Ferris, pondering the meaning of "inestitude." Photo by Gail Nadeau. Used with permission.


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Blogger Inihtar said...

She's a natural wordsmith! Like mother, like daughter!

10:49 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

Love that verse!!!
Sounds like a fun time having "inestitude" together. *grin*

10:50 PM  
Blogger Llama Momma said...

I love it! And I hope your day is full of inestitude...and more moments to learn from your daughter.

7:33 AM  
Blogger bluemountainmama said...

that brings back friends and i used to make up words when we were growing up. i like "inestitude"...the verse and description of your daughter define it for me well.

9:38 AM  
Blogger Mark Goodyear said...

Inestitude is cute! I coined a word in high school that never took off--"glut" the art of mooching off other people when you go out to eat in large groups.

I think your daughter's word has a better chance than mine.

9:56 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I love that word. And that idea.

When I was a little kid I made up words, too, mostly for things that scared me. Like the knots in the wood of the doors of our house in Honduras. I thought they looked like eyes, and I called them "mordants," for some reason. I think that's already a word that means something else.

Mark, I'm pretty sure "glut" is already a word, too. ;)

10:57 AM  
Blogger Ex-Shammickite said...

People all over blogdom are reaching for their dictionaries, flipping the pages over until they reach "I", index finger feeling out the column of words and and searching... searching...

11:59 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

I want me some of that inestitude!

12:02 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Ini... thanks. I wonder if my book publisher would mind if I put in a few "words of my own"...

Andrea... I love that verse too. The word "child" there can also be translated "master worker." I think it's an interesting difference!

Llama... maybe I will kick up my heels at the sink today.

Blue... remember any?

Mark... as I see it, there probably is a glut of people who glut when they go out to eat together. (Does it count if one mooches in a small group... say, like eating one's spouse's dish because it looks better than what landed in one's own plate?)

Jenn... oh, that I had thought to name them mordants! I didn't like the knot holes in our pine paneling.

ExS... you got me. I actually looked it up, just to make sure she hadn't "coined" a real word!

Heather... I think you have it. Anyone who keeps Christmas lights with Valentine's lights (heck anyone who has Valentine's lights) must have a streak of inestitude.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Craver VII said...

Sooo funny! I was just about to grab the dictionary, too! Hmmm… “mordants.” It even sounds scary. Glut, MG, was that you? How sad for me… I don’t think I have EVER made up a word. The thought did not even cross my mind. Creating hybrids sounds like a way I could ease into it. I’m too timid to jump in with both feet. I could use a little inestitude, huh?

2:38 PM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

I think we can learn a lot from our children. They have a joy in their heart I long to have.

Blessings on your afternoon and always.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that children have all (at least most) of the inestitude? Jesus knew it . . . that's why he wanted us to approach him as they do.

Maybe we could start our own "Seedlings" dictionary. First three entries (in alpha order):

GLUT -- v. mooching off others in large social engagements at restaurants.

INESTITUDE -- n. good attitude with a twist.

MORDANT -- n. knots in the wood of Honduran doors.

4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. Could you ask Sonia if DOGS can have inestitude? I think mine might! Especially when she runs through the snow.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Miriam said...


I also have a seven-year-old girl brimming with inestitude! I'll always have a way to describe her ways now. Have you read Jerry Spinelli's "Stargirl"?

I had to come check out your blog today because last night I dreamed that you were teaching me how to write well. You don't happen to have short, red hair, do you? *Chuckles*

It's always a pleasure to stop by here...such a treasure box.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Christianne said...

Great post, Laura. I loved that picture in my mind of your daughter singing to dogs and shouting at the clouds, going along her merry way in bliss and contentedness.

I find I have the most inestitude when I'm around Kirk. He is so silly to me in the most unexpected moments -- like, when I'm getting bent out of shape or upset at him, he'll make a joke at his own expense just to lighten me up, and it works! -- and that for some reason releases the little-girlness in me WAY more than with anyone else.

Oh, that I would be brave enough to have inestitude no matter who's around...

6:44 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Craver... You have inestitude written all over your face. I know, you just want to keep guard of that secret identity!

Eph... yes... I hope I will always have somebody's children around to teach me all that I think I know but don't.

Charity... okay, you're up next. Post a word, oh do.

Miriam... thank you... such an honor to be in your dreams. Well, I'm a brunette. Tell me, who's the redhead? Is she the lady in your dreams?

Christianne... I wonder if Kirk and my spouse went to the same Silly School? Works wonders for a marriage, yes.

7:11 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Miriam... P.S. ... I just looked up Stargirl. It looks like an amazing book... not just the content, but also the writing. I'm putting it on hold at the library right now. Thanks for the tip!

7:15 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

You've got to play Balderdash. The words that come out of that game are destined for greatness in our own minds. ;)

wowzers- socks that have lost their mates
clinchpoop- the massive contraption of chutes that freshly laid eggs roll down in the Foghorn Leghorn Warner Bros. cartoons.

Some words from my own children, in all their inestitude:

Fraggy- (adj.) hand-me-down jeans that keep sliding down a little on your hips and puddling around your ankles, causing great frustration.

Sho-noh-wah- something to sing when you're trying to do a big
Broadway-esque musical number but can't think of any words.

why bobby- library

7:58 PM  
Blogger Ted Gossard said...

Our dog has inestitude, I think. Everything is a game and fun for her. She's mischievious and consitently inestidudinous (sp?).

Thanks for the new word, L.L. And thanks to your daugher.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once worked with a woman (in a hair salon) who coined the word 'youthens'. She would give someone a new look and say, "This youthens you!" The word worked! We also would ask her if her husband would approve of the word - he was an English teacher!

8:48 AM  
Blogger Christianne said...

The comments people are coming up with on this post are hilarious! It's so fun.

And yes, LL, the silly factor works wonders on the health of relationships -- the love kind and otherwise!

Thanks for the link to my site today. I wasn't cognizant of the word coinage when I wrote it -- it just popped out!

5:44 PM  

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