These days Maybelle has started saying "haley" a lot. She says in a pleasant, observant way. At first I thought it was the name of one of her classmates.
"Do you mean Holly?" I'd ask.
"Haley!" she'd say.
Then I noticed that she's using the word in particular contexts, like when she's carrying around Lela, the girls, the monkey, Bolo, Dora, Boots, and Swiper.
I held up one of the girls. "Is this Haley?"
"Girl," she responded.
"What's her name?"
In the last 24 hours, I've started wondering if "haley" in some way refers to the whole cohort of folks that she carries around. This morning, walking down the hall with her arms full, she announced "Haley!" quite happily. Then when she'd been on the porch with them for a while and I called her in for breakfast, she said, "Haley!", then looked at me and said, "I want help, please" so that I'd aid her in picking everybody up.
So: what is she saying? Is there some word that sounds like "haley" but means "bunch of folks"? Could haley be some sort of slang term that I'm completely unaware of? Is it a misinterpretation of a word or phrase that I say (like, "Hell, yeah"--except I so rarely say that)?
That's what this blog post is about. I'm looking for some brainstorming, folks. Help me figure this out.