If you follow my escapades on Twitter, you know that I have a 4.9-year-old daughter named Pickle. (Seen here, age 2.7)

If you follow our escapades closely, you know that we love to play Tiny Polka Dot, Chess, and iPad games. Pickle is especially talkative and, from a young age, narrates her life with annoying regularity and precision.

Today, in fact, she declared — no less than nine times — that she is a little scared to try ice skating but wants to try it anyway and can we go this week?

It’s been above 105° all week.

(That’s 40° Celsius).

For one with such an astounding vocabulary, she still pronounces her tiny paintings as “aminals” every time. She hasn’t correctly said, “animals” even once in her entire life.

Now, if you’re a parent, you know that this is developmentally appropriate and she’s still doing fine. She knows her letters, a few sight words, and her numbers to 40 and can count by tens to 100.

Unrelated, she has a math teacher father.

If you aren’t a parent — many of our family and friends are non-parents — you may feel compelled to correct her and say, “No, honey. It’s AN-ih-mals.”

And I would tell you to hush.

Related story: in the classroom, I recently let some third graders add 32 in a row 25 times.

This is the mathematical equivalent of letting my daughter say, “Aminals.” It’s… effective, I suppose, but there’s a far better way, one that’s more accepted and more efficient.

Here’s why I didn’t correct nine-year-old Anthony or my 4.9-year-old daughter (a phrase my mom told me years ago):

Just be supportive; let the rest of the world tell them, “no.”

My daughter won’t graduate high school still referring to the “aminal” kingdom in her science class, just like Anthony will learn about multiplication next year, and he might even think about Krispy Kreme Me, where multiplication would have been so much faster than the method that he used.

Eventually, the rest of the world will let them know a more effective way.

As the teacher in both those scenarios, I can choose if I want to be supportive or corrective. That choice is present in every interaction, and if you follow the ongoing Pickle and Daddy chess tournament, you’ll see which side I take.

~Matt “Interesting, can you say more about that?” Vaudrey