Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The joy of talking

My oldest, Joy, started talking at 9 months and I swear she hasn’t come up for a breath since. She falls asleep mid-sentence, she wakes up mid-sentence, and if she doesn’t have anyone to talk to, she talks to herself, makes up stories, or begins a conversation with her toys. Most of the time it is ultra-cool to have a child who can communicate better than most adults, sometimes it’s exhausting, and sometimes it’s just downright funny. I especially love her little sweet 4 year old voice saying words that she mis-hears. (OK, on a side note, I think it’s genetic, this ‘hearing’ of certain words incorrectly. I guess the one I will own up to is a Boyz to Men song…Down on Bended Knee. If you know the song you know it’s all about some guy apologizing for something stupid/guyish that he did to his girl. There’s a part where he really belts it out and says, “I’m gonna swallow my pride, say I’m sorry, stomp on your fingers, the blame is on me…” Whoa! Hold the phone! Stomp on your fingers? How is that going to make anything better? I’ve never had my fingers stomped on, but if it feels anything like your toes getting stomped on, it is no bueno. I am pretty sure that won’t restore any guy to any woman’s good graces. And then my sister, laughing in my face set me straight. It’s not stomp on your fingers, it’s stop pointing fingers. Oh. Well. That makes more sense, I guess. If you have any spare time on your hands, go listen to the song and you tell me what it sounds like.) But back to Joy’s mispronunciations… I rarely correct her because she usually only mispronounces them 3 or 4 times, and then corrects herself. (And the way she says it is so much more fun—sometimes ‘insterical’.)

Little Miss Loquacious loves Alvin and the Chipmunks, except they aren’t Alvin and the Chipmunks (Simon and Theodore)—they are Almen, Simon, and Eeyore. She loves the part where ‘Almen’ is in the ‘oven’ (the dishwasher) and he is singing, “Don’t you wish you ganny Y Ha! Like me…” (Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me) and then he says, “I’m waiting for the minse (rinse) cycle.” Then she proceeds to say that you should never get into the oven because the fire could kill you, but always wants to know if our oven has a ‘minse’ cycle. (Our oven doesn’t usually have a minse cycle, but lately I don’t think our dishwasher does, either. In fact, we might actually have a Chipmunk (or a herd of them) who has a membership to shower in our dishwasher because I think our dishes come out dirtier than they go in.)

Last Christmas she saw a Nativity scene and wanted to know why the baby was lying in the bed with all the animals looking at him. So after about 972 times of telling her the nativity story, complete with a loud rendition of “Away in a Manger” at the end (each and every time), she finally decided to tell it herself. This is her version: “God told Mary she was going to have a baby and she had to name him Jezuh so then Mary and her husband Josuh went to Befleham which is also known as the City of David (like David and Wendy David?) but there was nowhere for them to sit down so they went into the barn with the cows and donkeys and alpacas and Watusi with the long horns and Mary had a baby and she named him Jezuh and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger and then the angel went to the shepherds in the hills who got really really scared, but the angels sang to them so they wouldn’t be afraid and then they went to go see the baby in the barn and then the smart men followed a great big star to see the baby in the barn and they took him presents of gold, Frank and sense, and myrrh.” We have a tree decoration that is a wooden carving of the nativity scene. She points to and names Mary, baby Jezuh, (the angel) grandma Josuh, and the manger (Joseph). (Just to clarify: David and Wendy are our neighbors, there is a farm down the road that has alpacas, donkeys, and long-horn cattle called Watusi, we have a Grandma Josie, and an Uncle Frank—who really doesn’t have much sense at all.)

When she was 2 she got a doll for Christmas. I asked her what the doll’s name was and she said she didn’t know. So we tossed a few around, but none of them were the right names for the doll. So I just called her ‘Cupcake’. Awhile later we were leaving to go to Grandma’s house and she started asking if she could have Pancake with her. In our rush to get out of the house I was confused as to why she wanted to have pancakes. After all, the table and frig were full of homemade tamales and all kinds of holiday dishes and treats. I think she ate half a pound of budge (fudge) by herself every time she thought no one was looking. When we were actually walking out the door she went back in to grab her new doll and insisted that Pancake had to go with us. Other dolls and stuffed animals get new names and identities almost daily (I am expected to remember all of them) but Pancake never changes. Pancake is always Pancake. A few months ago, she dressed Pancake up in a little pink frilly dress. We were playing hospital or school or something like that with the dolls and I remarked how cute Pancake looked in her pretty little dress. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Mommy, Pancake is a BOY!” Oh. Really? Really?!? Yep, Pancake is and always will be a boy. Just like the Cabbage Patch doll someone gave her—his name was Manny Moe, but has been changed to Nanny Lo. Boy. Now and always. Now, the owl that sits by our pool to discourage pigeons from hanging out by the pool, drinking and carousing as pigeons will do, has been named Patrusty. Sometimes Patrusty is a boy (when he scares the pigeons away) and sometimes she is a girl (when she takes care of other little birds who just want a quick drink and then fly away).

My little one year old does a lot of talking for her age, too. She says Mama, Dada, dance, ghost, more, all gone, what’s that, woof woof, cheese, yes, no, this, hi, bye, shhh, yay, please, ear, twinkle, A…and I’m sure there are a few others that I am forgetting. (It’s hard for me to remember anything with the 4 year old walkie talkie’s constant chatter!) But Marlo’s joy does not come from talking, like Joy. No, Marlo derives her joy from eating. Anything that I give her, she eats with gusto. I have to be careful with her, though. If we go out to eat I have to give her a snack first. (And no, I am not worried about her losing her appetite!) If I don’t give her a snack, she acts like I have been starving her since she came out of the womb! She shovels fistfuls of food into her mouth at lightning speed, nearly chokes herself, spits part of it out, then stuffs it back in again. Sometimes she leans down and sticks her whole face in the plate. It gets rather embarrassing. She was chubby for quite sometime, but now that she’s walking, she has thinned out, but her appetite is as voracious as ever. I have to change, bathe, dust-bust or sponge bath her after each and every meal. You can tell, just by looking at her, that she LOVES her food. No spoon for her soup? No problem. She is just as efficient at eating soup without a spoon as she is with one. She even helps us out by not needing a napkin. Don’t you know it’s just as easy to wipe your hands on your hair? It’s true. She is like a little squirrel. (Not the pants wetting kind of squirrels, the food storing kind.) I guess she thinks that we might not feed her again, because I find food hidden everywhere: between the high chair seat cover and the seat, inside DVD cases, inside pumpkin shaped candle holders, in Barbie purses, in the trunk of her little scoot-along car, folded up in doll clothes, frittered away in play kitchen dishes, on the shelves of the lower cupboards, in the waistband of her clothes, etc.etc. She is devilishly delighted when she “re-discovers” these hidden treasures. And apparently it doesn’t matter how long it’s been there or how stale it might be, she wolfs it down like it’s her last meal. Bless her little heart—or maybe I should say her stomach—and thank heaven I don’t have a picky eater on my hands!

Just recently we went to Denny’s for breakfast. She ate the following: oatmeal, fruit, hash browns, pancakes, scrambled eggs, milk, orange juice, bacon, sausage, and toast. In between bites, she would gleefully throw a handful of food into the air to shower over her head—and not wanting to waste the food, she would look up, open her mouth, and catch some of the food in her mouth. Needless to say, this attracted a lot of attention from the other diners. Fortunately our waitress was very busy and not very attentive. We strategically staged our exit to coincide with her being in the kitchen so that we wouldn’t have to apologize profusely for the edible carpet Marlo left beneath our table. I guess our strategy wasn’t so well thought out—we left a trail from the table to the car…and probably down the street and all the way home.

And so my life goes, the enduring theme being good food and stimulating conversation. I love my two little girls and the unique qualities they each bring to the table (literally!)—a voracious appetite and a bountiful vocabulary. I thank Jezuh for them every day.

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.

(and, from the length of this post, we can see the apple didn't fall far from the tree in Joy's case)

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