Not The Target Market

First Words

The Moose’s articulation is starting to coalesce.

He is a chatty little guy and if you listen you can hear “Mama,” “no,” “dog,” “cheese” (his favorite food), “juice” (we enjoy a decaf Arnold Palmer at lunch), “all done,” “yum” and “up” among the general non-stop flow of syllables. He calls The Hunter “Ga Ga.” He understands everything we say. He has been rooting through my bookshelves and is fascinated by English Made Simple.  He carries it from room to room. He is ready.

By next week I have no doubt there will be at least ten more intelligible words and by next month he will be combining them into phrases. What I want to do right here, publicly, is apologize to his parents for what I am sure his first really crystal clear, longer utterance is going to be. I know it will be proclaimed (loudly) during a moment of silence in church. Or if not then, perhaps as a shout of triumph when he completes some forbidden task he has set himself. I am sure it will be in public. It will be awkward.

Along with this apology, let me say that the Hunter and I really are trying very hard to curb our mouths, but the words just slip out. In any given day, there are so many occasions when it really is the only thing that comes to mind. Like when The Moose surprises us by opening the back door and making a break for it; like when he bangs away on The Hunter’s computer and brings up screens and programs no one has ever seen before and then locks them in place; like when he opens a drawer and snags the one working remote and tries to hide it; like when he extracts the batteries from my Bluetooth mouse; like when he sweeps all the newspapers off the coffee table or lines up the coasters end to end on the floor; like when he gets hold of the ‘butt cream’; like when he climbs a stool and finds the car keys; like when he pulls all of the tissues out of the box…

What would you say? I suggest that “What the hell!?!” more or less covers it.

The Moose is an enterprising lad, always perfecting his next original trick. It is a shame that we can’t come up with something original to say in response. And I apologize again for the humiliation this is going to bring his parents.

There is family history for this kind of verbal shock. My uncle, an equally enterprising lad, maintained a discreet silence until he was about 3. My grandmother despairing he would ever talk took him to doctors and therapists and was assured that nothing was wrong; that her boy would talk when he was ready.

One day, the parish priest came for afternoon tea. At some point, the house became just too quiet. Every mother knows that feeling. When my grandmother went to investigate she found her heretofore mute child floating someone’s hat in the bathtub. One version of the story has it that it was his father’s hat; other versions say it was the priest’s hat. There was a severe scolding.

The silent lad’s response was to stomp his feet and say, loudly and clearly, “Dod damn it. Tan’t do nothin’ round here.”

This is the precedent. It’s only a matter of time. I’m sorry.

1 Comment

  1. Barbara Cole

    Genetics. It explains so much.

    Reply

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