I forget that I know a lot of words. I was reminded of this recently when I spent time with my nephew, B, and my niece, T. I lost track of how many times I used a word and B would ask me what it meant. (I would tell him and he would say "oh" and then it was as if I could actually see him storing it away in that little head of his, waiting for a day when he would use it himself.)
The thing is, I had to figure out the best way to explain whatever the word was to a four year old.
We were all playing with these magnetic/wooden/paper doll type things - there were super hero outfits and pirate costumes and all kinds of stuff. (It was so much fun that Aunt Maddie might need to get some for herself. The dolls, not the costumes.) B couldn't find the shoes that went with the super hero. All he could find were cowboy boots. This was very troubling to him, so I said something about how the doll could be a "rebel" and, of course, B asked, "What's a rebel?"
I had to think a minute before I said, "A rebel is someone who doesn't do what everyone else does."
"Oh." He stopped for a minute, the cowboy boots in one hand, the doll in the other. He nodded as if deciding something. He put the cowboy boots on his super hero guy and said, "I'm going to make him a rebel."
Hmm, I wonder if more than one rebel was born that day.