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Thursday, January 17, 2008

What Language IS That Anyway?

Daughter (21 mos) wandered around all day yesterday repeating the following:


She really might be, as her grandpa asserts, a genius. Though so might I, because I actually figured out what she is saying. Yes, it's a real thing. If you can figure it out, you might be a genius too.

Or, you might just be a parent. Here's how to tell the difference:

A parent will immediately know how to respond in a way that will satisfy any toddler (not just his or her own child) who makes a request for "muh mik peas" or "sooz UFF" or "PB on" or "can-ee too." And knows that "satisfy" is not necessarily synonymous with "comply."

A genius will try to rationalize with said child about why "PB" is less stimulating than reading books or the "can-ee" is all gone.

A parent knows better than to try to rationalize with a toddler. Especially with one who has that pre-melting-puddle whine in her voice, that note that precedes the shrieking moment of protest lying under the kitchen table, the note that says, "give me what I want or my world will spin off its axis and take you with it, lady!" Except in toddler-speak, it sounds like "me muh can-ee! me can-ee too! can-EEE! bruh-er can-ee. meeee CAN-ee too! Caaaaannnnnn-EEEEEEEEE! ME can-eeeee!"

A genius will give in to the incredible volume of histrionic vocal-technics, logically reasoning that to provide ____ [fill in requested noun here] will quell the storm.

A parent never gives in. At least, not after having said no.

Except in a public place when the binkie was left in the car by mistake. Because a parent knows the difference between being a sucker and managing an emergency.

A genius thinks most parents these days are suckers.

A parent knows most geniuses are useless in an emergency.

I did have a momentary thought about turning this little exercise into some kind of interactive quiz where you would get to choose your responses to a series of prompts, and then your score would rank you as a genius or a parent. But the parent in me was too tired to locate the html plug-in for a multi-question survey. And the genius in me thought that might be taking the whole thing a bit far, really.

Which does lead me to a question: If I'm generally quite good in an emergency, and yet I worry every day about being too much of a sucker, what does that make me? A parnius? A genient? And who can I ask to find out?


Cocoa said...

My dad sticks to the story that two-year-olds are professional conmen. They know how to work the system by being sweet, cute, lovable, etc and then WHAMMO when you least expect it they throw you for a loop and leave you feeling like a sucker.

MIQuilter said...

This post reminds me of a Gary Larsen cartoon. It has 2 scientists standing over a pool with dolphins in it. One scientist is saying 'they're making that "se habla espanol" sound again'. On the blackboard are other spanish sayings - with these geniuses who are totally oblivious of that minor detail.

I, personally, think that kids are just speaking different languages - cantonese, maybe? - which is why the geniuses just don't understand.

MultiplesMommy said...

What?! You mean it isn't obvious what she's saying? If I've cracked her code correctly, it's the middle of Minnie 2's current favorite song, which goes..."ABCC-see-whiff-meee-Emo..."

As for you, I think you MUST be a genrent. Comes with the PhD.

MommyTime said...

Yes, Cocoa...conmen is exactly right. Also mad scientists, experimental physicists, and stand-up comics. In diapers. ;)

MIQ -- hilarious

MM -- you are a genius. And a parent.


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