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Logorrhea

In my eighteen month Squirrelly Update I mentioned that the twerp's entire vocabulary consisted of the words "kitty" and "Pooh." Since then, though, he's been cranking out words faster than global warming can produce hurricanes. For a while there we were excitedly phoning each other up whenever a new one debuted and trying to keep track of them all but, honestly, we pretty much threw in the towel we he came out with "precipice." I shit you not. He's become adroit at parroting the last word we use in a sentence, and one evening, after I caught him doing somersaults on the bed and delivered a sternly worded lecture about the danger of this activity, he shouted "precipice!" and did a celebratory somersault on the bed.

Of course, the real danger of his mimicry is that he will start adopting phrases like "I shit you not," which means we should probably start watching our language. But frankly, I'm not too worried. Given the speed at which vulgar language is now evolving, I reckon that by the time The Squirrelly is old enough to "hang out" with his "dawgs" and "homies" any obscenities he picked us from us will be quaint and charming, the equivalent of a 2005 "poppycock." By then they will probably be using terms so unimaginably filthy by today's standards that words we currently consider to be unforgivably profane will show up in spelling tests and Jumble puzzles.

Having mastered the ability to utter words, The Squirrelly is now focusing on individual letters. He can already recite what he believes to be the 23 letters that make up the English language:




  • A
  • G
  • Q
  • Gubble-oo
  • B
  • Ah-chay (that's Spanish for H! He's bilingual!)
  • Ah
  • X
  • C
  • I
  • S
  • Y
  • D
  • J
  • T
  • And
  • E
  • K
  • U
  • Zeee!
  • F
  • Ellemenopy
  • V
  •  

    His current goal, as near as we can tell, is to set the world toddler speed record for saying the alphabet. He's getting pretty quick, although he often cheats by omitting some letters and substituting the sound "mm" for those that he can't remember in his haste.

    "A! B! C! D! E! F! G! Mm! Mm! Ellemenopy! Q! Mm! Mm! Gubble-oo! Mm! And! Zeeeeeeeeee!"
    Yes, only 22 months old and he's already mastered life's most basic skill: the ability to fake his way through things that he doesn't entirely understand. Somewhere a position in middle-management awaits him.

    Update: The Queen has informed me that The Squirrelly is, in fact, 21 months old. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO REMEMBER WHEN HE WAS BORN, THAT WAS 22 WHOLE MONTHS AGO!!

    Posted on November 29, 2005 to The Squirrelly





    Comments

    Middle management slot? Not on your life. I sense a V-Ellemenopy slot or perhaps even C!Mm!Ellemenopy! post at Yahoo!

    Posted by: andy on November 30, 2005 9:54 PM

    no knowing that "logorrhea" was a real word before seeing the title of this post made me think it was about something completely different.

    Posted by: brendan on November 30, 2005 9:58 PM

    wow. it Is a word. one of those "is what it says" ones, too.

    mmazeeing

    Posted by: maybeknott on November 30, 2005 10:07 PM

    I love that he thinks "and" is a letter. :)

    Posted by: Ryan Waddell on December 1, 2005 12:44 AM

    Absolutely Adorable.

    I shit you not.

    Posted by: Anita on December 1, 2005 6:04 AM

    i got into the habit of saying 'suck it' when our twins were starting to talk. Christine asked me what i was going to do when they said that at church (i was the associate pastor). I said 'I'm going to say "Twins, that's something for Mommy to say, not for you to say."' ;-)

    Posted by: Sean on December 1, 2005 6:30 AM

    heh, I had a similar problem when my first was around 2. Only it wasn't my language I had to worry about watching. After having earlier spent a few minutes on the phone with my sister, he quite calmly reported to my wife that his lunch tasted "crappy". Thanks, sis.


    Of course, they don't always have to hear a bad word to REALLY REALLY sound like they have just said it. Two of my kids had a real hard time pronouncing "fork". And my first, at about 18 months, said something that sounded EXACTLY like "bag of shit". Turns out he was playing with his Thomas trains and was mimicing the end of one of his favorite Thomas books where it says that Thomas was "back in the shed". I can't tell you how relieved I was when I was reading the story to him after having listened to half a day of "bag of shit" and got to the part where I went "Oh, THAT'S what he's saying!" heh

    Posted by: Sam on December 1, 2005 7:05 AM

    Precipice. Awesome.

    I still have fond memories of my daughter's alphabet, which ran in part, "H, I, J, K, Elmo, P"

    Posted by: Jennifer on December 1, 2005 7:17 AM

    Beware the name game, that rhyming song where you start with a name and replace the first letter with B, F, and M in each chorus. If you have a friend named Buck, or maybe a pond full of ducks just across the fence, you are doomed. This is how one of my 4 yo's stuffed animals got the name "fuckup". We are very hopeful he's forgotten it by now.

    Posted by: Jack on December 1, 2005 7:45 AM

    My younger son's early alphabet included a similar letter: elemopee...guess he just didn't like the letter n.

    Speaking of inappropriate use of vocabulary, we had company over once for dinner when my older son was about three. He was busy entertaining the guests instead of eating, so at one point I told him he needed to start eating, to which he replied, "Or you will beat me?"

    !!

    Needless to say I got some curious looks from our guests, so I suddenly felt compelled to explore just exactly what he meant by that...turned out he meant "beat" as in a race, I would beat him to the "finish line" of being done first. Phew.

    Posted by: Sean on December 1, 2005 7:52 AM

    I remember hearing an alternate version of the Alphabet song when I was five. The only reason I can remember it (two decades later) is becaue, unlike the one I'd heard for years before and years since, it scanned.

    It goes:
    "A, B, C, D, E, F, G
    H, I, J, K, L, M, N
    O, P, Q
    R, S, T
    U, V, W, X, Y, Z."

    So you either get scansion or rhyme with your alphabet, but never both.

    Posted by: John on December 1, 2005 8:33 AM

    There is a story on aol.com today about kids in high school being ticketed $103 for cussing. Does this remind anyone of the movie "Demolition Man" with the automated ticket dispenser for swearing?

    Hmm...

    Posted by: urs on December 1, 2005 8:36 AM

    I came home from work one day to find my toddler playing with a telephone headset. Ever curious, I asked, "what's that?". She replied, "a fucken headset." I left the room.

    I asked my wife if she had bought a headset that didn't work. She said yes and asked how I knew it was broken.

    Posted by: Edward on December 1, 2005 8:48 AM

    For those that haven't seen it, They Might Be Giants have a delightful kid-targeted DVD called "Here Come the ABC's." Not only is it a favorite of our alphabetically obsessed 2-year-old son, Mom and Dad can actually still stand it - nay, enjoy it even - after probably 100+ viewings to date.

    I mention it because it has a song called "Elemeno" in which "Professor Flans" explains that L M N O is "four letters - not one."

    Posted by: rjt on December 1, 2005 9:16 AM

    Wow - Dorothy has the same coat. She is also developing a letter obsession, but her alphabet consists of "apple, B, kitty, door/daddy/Dorothy, elephant, frog, horsie, ice cream, jam, key, moon, owl, pen-suh, queen, cockadoodledoo, swan, tree, 'brella, yoyo, zipper"

    Posted by: Elizabeth on December 1, 2005 9:19 AM

    I second the recommendation for TMBG's "Here Come the ABCs" DVD -- in fact, after watching it a dozen times with my niece, I went and bought the CD version, because some of the tracks are pretty damn good. "QU" is the essense of cool, and the "Alphabet of Nations" (which they played live in their recent show at the Moore) is really addictive. However, "[F is for] Fake Believe" is the one that'll get lodged in your head for days on end, and my usual trick of summoning "The Statue Got Me High" to eradicate earworms doesn't work.

    Posted by: LAN3 on December 1, 2005 10:24 AM

    The Squirrely's been watching SNL re-runs, and he's almost got The Decibet, the new metric alphabet down pat:
    http://snltranscripts.jt.org/75/75rdecabet.phtml
    -----start excerpt----
    Now, let's take a look at some specifics.

    A, B, C, and D: our first and most popular letters will remain the same.

    E and F, however, will be combined and graphically simplified to make one character.

    The groupings GHI, and..

    LMNO will be condensed to single letters. Incidentally, a boon to those who always had trouble pronouncing LMNO correctly.

    And finally, the so-called "trash letters", or P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z, will be condensed to this easily recognizable dark character.
    ------end excerpt------
    Squirrely, the Decibet was made for you.

    Posted by: Will E. on December 1, 2005 10:28 AM

    My younger daughter was 5+ years old when we adopted her from China. I used to sing the alphabet song to her every night at bed time, pointing at the letters one by one in a Sesame Street Chinese-English dictionary for kids that we'd gotten. Despite this attempt at audio-visual instruction, she was firmly convinced of the existence of elemenope for at least a year.

    Thankfully, I've never been in the habit of swearing (aloud), so her first English phrase was "Thank you." (We said it a lot while in China.)

    However, my older daughter, who was 11 at the time of the adoption, picked up some interesting vocabulary after riding the school bus for a few days, and I had to sit her down and explain to her what she was (almost) saying and what kind of trouble she could expect to get into if she said these words more clearly, especially in front of a teacher. This, of course, involved saying aloud words which I normally don't say aloud, but hey, anything in the name of parenting, right?

    Posted by: Elizabeth (a different one) on December 1, 2005 12:45 PM

    Gaad, that kid of yours gets cuter all the time.

    My strategy, which I don't really recommend to anyone, is to draw the line only at name-calling. We don't call each other names, sweary or otherwise, but I decided I didn't want to give up swearing. Not reacting to it in my kids has caused the words to completely lack power. You have to completely not care, of course, because they can smell non-chalance fakery.

    Posted by: SJ on December 1, 2005 1:22 PM

    Two whoops! moments with my then-toddler-now-teenage daighter in the car:

    1) (in heavy traffic with many unhelpful co-drivers)
    Vanessa: F...f...fu....fu....
    Me: Oh look, Vanessa, there's a nice doggy...

    2) Vanessa: Silly Daddy, that's not a fuckwit, it's a CAR!

    Posted by: Rob on December 1, 2005 4:13 PM

    This is one of my favorite comment threads of all time. Some actual sound parenting discussion, along with "fucken headset" and "Daddy, that's not a fuckwit ..."

    Hilarious. Nice job, everybody.

    Posted by: Mark on December 1, 2005 5:17 PM

    In terms of the substantive content of your post, things are different in our household. I needed a lecture on the dangers of bed somersaults from my kids the other day. It turns out that I am no longer as agile as a 5 year old.

    Posted by: Jim Birch on December 1, 2005 8:06 PM

    I wonder when will he start blogging

    Posted by: Daniel on December 2, 2005 1:27 AM

    The children I'm most in contact with now are my partner's grandchildren when they come over, and my great nephews at holidays. They all think Fark is a curseword..... it's a good thing I never had kids myself because one of my favorite infant-care words was 'shit..." because of the occasional grossness. If I'd had a child, that would have been it's first word, and it would have been in front of my mom, who would have fainted.

    Posted by: Paula Helm Murray on December 5, 2005 8:06 PM

    I love that childish language. But I try to use an adult opne so kids get used to normal life.

    Posted by: Helen on December 12, 2005 1:05 PM