Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Marcel Marceau Ain't Got Nothing on LO

aka, LO Still Isn't Really Talking Yet

I truly attempt to be one of those mothers who does not compare her child to those of other people.  LO is a unique snowflake--and more to the point, he is J's and my unique snowflake, meaning he will get to things when he is damned good and ready, and not a moment before!  Generally, I don't have an issue with LO's lackadaisical attitude toward what What to Expect believes he should be doing at any particular age.  But lately I have noticed that he is showing a clear reluctance toward learning the most complex, maddening, and wondrous language on the planet, despite the fact that many of his contemporaries are at least attempting (if not mastering) many of Shakespeare's shorter soliloquies.

Do not forget that English is this young man's mother's stock in trade.  He is constantly surrounded by words, whether his mother (who rarely shuts up) is talking/singing/murmuring to him, J, or herself, or she is reading aloud, or she is verbalizing her writing, or she is explaining how his favorite children's books are just like the anti-Imperialist novels of her college days.

In short, he has no lack of English-speaking examples to pull from.  His refusal to speak would be like Paul McCartney's son having no interest in music, or Jon Stewart's son hating to laugh, or Charlie Sheen's son becoming a responsible, sober, and productive member of society.  It just feels odd that he has so little interest in my schtick.

To be fair, having been blessed with his father's rubber face, LO manages to convey a great deal non-verbally.
In addition to such punims, LO has also mastered the questioning "Ah?" sound while making a grasping motion with one hand.  He has found that repeatedly "Ah?"ing while grasp-pointing in the general direction of what he wants will eventually lead to Mama or Daddy figuring out that he wants applesauce, dadgummit.  (Usually what he wants is applesauce, so I should by now just offer it to him as a default, but I generally forget and offer up the Cheerios, crackers, spoons, dish towels and chainsaws that are also littering the kitchen counter before I get to the desired applesauce.)

I have started to believe that LO is too smart for his own good.  Many children, after finding that several frustrating attempts to communicate have ended with sobbing on both sides, would simply start using their words.  But LO is determined to do his own thing.  (This is much like my decision as a child to do/be good at/attempt the things that my sister didn't already do well.  No sense competing on a playing field that Tracie had already made her bitch).

So, now that it has become clear that "Ah?"ing is less than an ideal method of communication, LO has stepped up his non-verbal messaging.  He now brings me things to let me know what he wants.

For instance, last week, LO rummaged in our secondary pantry to find a low-hanging and unopened package of applesauce.  He brought the six-pack of cups to me in the living room, holding it over his head like a trophy and grinning from ear to ear.  If he had slightly more manual dexterity (and could reach the drawer where we keep the spoons) I'm sure that my role as caregiver would be deemed superfluous.  The child has figured out how to get by without talking--why would he need a mama?

This bringing things to Mama/Daddy method of communication has stretched to many other items: 
a diaper ("It's time to sanitize my crevasse, Mother.")
shoes ("We're going on a walk now.")
a sippy cup ("I'm a little dry.")
a sweatshirt ("I'd turn off the fan myself, but clearly I can't reach.")
a book ("Read to me in that language I'm refusing to use.")
my shoes ("Seriously, Mama, we're going on a walk.  NOW!")

Tonight, however, I he reached the pinnacle of non-verbal/demanding communication.  Whilst I was cleaning the kitchen after dinner, LO reached into the lazy Susan cabinet where we keep our pots, pans, tupperware, and small appliances, and grabbed the blender.  Holding it aloft to me and grinning, his message could not have been more clear:

"Make me something awesome with this.  I'm feeling...strawberry-banana-mangoey."

I would despair at the thought that I am at the beck-and-call of a non-speaking, two-and-a-half foot tall diva, if it weren't for an incident about a half hour after the non-verbally requested smoothie was consumed/dripped all over the child:  While LO played on the computer, voiding our warranty, I told him that I was going to start running his bath.  The child looked over his shoulder at me and stated, as clear as day, "I don't need one."

I think it's pretty reasonable to say that J and I are screwed, whether LO speaks or not.

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