Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What you talkin' about Willis?

I was always under the impression that moms knew and understood everything their children said. I have seen it happen... An adorable tot sits babbling some nonsense and the mom calmly and sweetly replies in detailed response to the child's statement. What a crock! Have I somehow failed as a mom? Because there are times I haven't got a clue what this kid is on about. I don't think it's a problem though... In fact, I think it's making her up her game a bit.

I've managed to translate some key words, and her general mood I can read, but she will go on a four minute rant about something and the best I can do is smile, nod and say "oh really?". That's the kind of generically polite response I give strangers and old people... Surely my daughter deserves more.

Of course the alternative is when I do understand a word. When she manages to say a word perfectly clear, but feels she must repeat it 600 times for maximum effect. She managed to spot a clementine on our counter the other day. She knows them as "a orange" and frankly, I believe that's close enough. Of course, they don't peel themselves. I swear, this thing was the size of a golfball yet took me WAY too long to peel. What is way too long you ask? About 38 "a orange"'s. And the "yes"'s and "it's coming"'s don't hold these kids off one bit.

We're currently in the thick of a tricky time where the words she is convinced she is articulating perfectly aren't always words I know and understand. I do appreciate her frustration, though I am also likely to jump up and cheer for myself when I do crack the code. I know, I need to learn to play it cooler than that. But all in all she does a damn good job getting her point across.

She was saying something over and over and over the other night. I was stumped, and despite my asking "what?" about a gazillion times, I wasn't getting it. She rolled her eyes, walked over to me, grabbed my hands and started doing the dance we do to "London Bridge." (the children's classic, not the Fergie classic). Oh, OK! She was saying "London bridge." Of course it sounded a bit more like "yound feesh" if you ask me... which she did, hence the problem. But the fact is that she got her point across, despite my denseness. So, is my stupidity making my daughter smarter? Is my inability to communicate making her a better communicator? This could be the best thing to happen to a (whatever the opposite of a tiger mom is), like me.

In terms of laziness, it takes very little work for me to not understand her. Yet she seems quite committed to making me understand her. Brilliant! When the time comes, I can have her explain her Spanish and new math homework to me as "prep" for her midterms. I can also have her explain things I genuinely don't understand, like meteorologists and their terrible track records (no other job lets you be wrong that much and keep your job). But for now, I will try to understand as much as possible.

Last week I was playing a peekaboo hybrid game which was making her laugh. She laughed into a giggle, then into a sigh and then said "funny" at the end. This is, without a question, the greatest mommy moment I have had to date. The kid called me funny. Of all the things I have struggled to understand, she chose that moment to be perfectly clear. She nailed it. Seriously. I'm not sure what else to say, but that it was at once ego boosting and humbling. She thinks I'm funny. I think I'm lucky. And I'm pretty sure there's proof that you don't need full comprehension to understand each other.

1 comment:

  1. I miss baby E. I think I'm going to pop over tomorrow to put her language skills to the test.



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