Sunday, November 03, 2013

Sock it to me

Last night after Rachel went to bed it was still a little too early to put Miriam to bed so I let her stay up. I told her that we could do something together but she didn't know what so I suggested a reading lesson (since we've been slacking in that department the past couple of weeks). She thought that was a great idea and was so excited that Daddy would be home during her reading lesson so that he could listen to her read. When it was time to read the story, she ran and got him before sounding out the following story:
He said, "Give me a rock or a sock." So she gave him a sock on his nose.
He said, "I need socks on the feet, not on the nose." So she gave him socks for his feet.
Andrew praised her good reading and the went back into his office while she and I did a second reading of the story, this time with comprehension questions sprinkled throughout her reading.

My mind was blown when the book prompted me to say, "What did she give him?  She must have hit him on the nose. Is that what he wanted? Nobody wants to get socked on the nose."

Socked on the nose? Do people still say that?!

We don't at our house. I know that I, for one, thought that "she" must've put "a knitted or woven covering for the foot" on his nose. That's what automatically comes to mind when I think of the noun sock.

I suppose "a vigorous or violent blow" is also a valid definition for the word and I realize they were trying to throw a pun in there for comic relief but...really? My four-year-old didn't get your joke.

When I think of socking (as a verb "to hit forcibly") I think "1920s gangster," not "four-year-old child sitting on the couch next to me." She's never encountered that meaning of the word in her life. The closest thing she's heard is probably DST (Dirty Sock Treatment, a nasty little prank Grandpa Reid enjoyed playing on his children where he takes off his socks and dangles them in front of their faces (I think it also might be a jibe at Grandma, an Arizona girl who detests DST: Daylight Savings Time)). Actually, DST might explain why our household so readily made the connection between cozy footwear and delicate noses.

Interestingly enough, when she was doing her reading she'd sound out "gaaaaavvvvvve" and then say, "gived!" She just couldn't bring herself to use the proper past-tense of the word give, I guess, but I'm sure she'll work that out eventually.


Is it just me or does this story sound antiquated to you? When's the last time you heard 'sock' being used violently?


  1. Well, I do not feel antiquated, but I definitely understood "sock" to mean that the person was hit on the nose. It never occurred to me that a person might understand it to mean that a literal sock was put on the nose. :o)

    1. I think if she had socked him on the nose I would have caught their meaning. But she gave him a sock on his nose. I don't often use that meaning of the noun...

  2. I understand sock that way, but never hear it used. Maybe I heard it in a Peanuts strip or something.