Saturday, June 12, 2010

Language Lessons

Just had to tell y'all a quick story, thought you might like it.

So this evening, I'm getting Princess VonFattybottom ready for bed. She's just out of the tub and smells like clean baby instead of dirty kid ('No, Ta, bid gull!' she solemnly declared when The Ta had the audacity to call her 'her baby' - Jelly clarified that she was a big girl). We avoided a fight about pajama character for once, which was nice, since all the Doras were in the laundry pile and she had to settle for Minnie. She bundled up blanky in her arms and was preparing to trot her fat little tush into my room for some relaxing pre-bed Diego when she did a last-minute room check for anything she wanted her pack mule mama to carry for her. I just love having a 2-year old be the boss of me. I grabbed Steve and Blue for her, then she announced she also wanted to take a flange.

Now, for all you moms-to-be out there - anyone who says they have some sort of miracle special bond with their child and can understand their special language when they're very young is a dirty liar. They're full of crap. I understand maybe one in six words that Jelly says, on a good day when she doesn't have a mouthful of fingers or Goldfish or my shoulder blade. This is how most of those encounters plays out:

Step 1 - Jellybean says a word I don't understand. I think carefully about every single word I know in the English (and sometimes Spanish) language and make some tentative guesses.

Step 2 - Infuriated by my stupidity and driven into a tyrannical rage, Jelly says the word approximately 934 more times, louder and louder, like my Dad in a foreign country, pointing randomly at objects that offer no clues.

Step 3 - I attempt to distract her with pleasing snacks and alluring toys. She is single-minded in her determination and obsession. Sometimes there is kicking and wailing. Sometimes it is coming from me.

Step 4 - I beg her to give me hints, a 'sounds like', or to draw a picture of whatever it is she is lacking. I've been known to open the fridge and stand her on a chair in front of it, carry her around a room snatching random objects of shelves. 'This? You want the picture of mama drunk in college, perhaps?'

Step 4 - I either get lucky and figure it out, she gives up and declares me hopeless and a total failure as a mother, or....

She mimes it out.

This evening, when I looked at her questioningly, and hesitatingly (so as not to arouse her ire) asked, 'a flange?', she nodded emphatically, held her arm in front of her nose, and made a perfect elephant trumpeting noise. Well, of course. A flange. Right there under your bed, there's Nigel. Let me get him for you, my sweet. Your wish is my clament.

**Please Note: Image shown above is not the real Nigel, as he is quite obviously upstairs in (my) bed with her. For his age, Nigel has held up remarkably well - he was a gift from my sister when I had surgery my second year of college. This makes him 20 years old next fall. How old is that in elephant years? I'm just rambling now, I don't want to have to go up and haul that 36.6 lbs of goodness back to her own bed. I'm almost 39, you know.


Laraf123 said...

Hilarious post--and so true! Now that Henry is 3, I can understand more and he can answer more questions about the object's identity, but we still have moments like this. And of course, here comes his brother. At 1, I can understand about 5% of what he tells me!

Genkicat said...

This is such a fun post! I imagine in the moment it is infuriating for both of you. But I'm looking forward to being there. Good thing Jelly can mime!

Stephanie said...

It took me three weeks to figure out that Elliot's "whaadidot" meant "what's that". And he will **only** use two or three signs. The other sign I get from his is the loud flop to the floor while screaming.

Unlike Zach who was speaking in full paragraphs at this age. SO much harder when they can't get you to understand what they are talking about. SO much harder.

Barb said...

Hilarious post. I remember those days. It does get better fast though. Now that my son is 2 and 1/2 I understand about 95% of what he says, and the 5 percent I don't can usually be clarified pretty easily. How quickly they grow up!

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Dawn said...

This post is a RIOT! You are too darn funny, lady!

Rector Funhouse said...

Exactly, exactly, exactly.

Spent 10 minutes at dinner trying to figure out why Nate kept waving his corn on the cob and insisting, "mo-tan!!"

Apparently, it looked like a mountain. So frustrating and so high-stakes!

MommieV said...

THIS is why I am stuck between "why doesn't she have more words?" and "thank GOD she's not really trying to talk yet"!!!!!!!!!!

I laughed so hard I hurt myself, just so you know.