This post is rated R for language.

Hang on to your hats. 

Language is a fickle, changing, growing, living thing in this family. We have studied words and meanings and mechanics since Rylie was 2, trying to coax the giant out of its sleep… trying to welcome it in.

It is tentative, language. But it comes. In its own time.

Gideon James, nearly four years younger, is up to his sister’s level in word-count and certainly beyond in expression. He has voices and inflections and a cadence that slays me. I could talk to him all day.

We have the same conversation every day.

Mom? Me? Outside?

You may absolutely go outside… but, you need to put your coat on. And socks. And shoes. And a shirt.

Me no coat on.

Yep, bud. It’s 20 degrees out. You hafta wear a coat.

NO. COAT. (Familiar, no?)

You may get ready, and you may take your time, but you will be dressed. If you go outside without socks, shoes, a shirt, and a coat you will get a spankin’.

Me no spankin’.

No spankin’… but get dressed.

NO SPANKIN’. 

Get dressed.

Me outside.

Ok.

So it goes, and he obeys.  Mostly.

The second he comes in, we have another conversation- every day.

Shirt off?

You can take your shirt off.

Pant off?

Let’s leave your pants on.

Tay. Sock off?

You may take your socks off.

One sock off, Mom. Two sock off.

And he does, and he is happy.  He’s just the sweetest thing, really. Ornery as all get-out, but so sweet.

The problem is not in the conversation or even the expression… it’s in the pronunciation.  The boy switches his r’s for w’s (Wylie! Wylie? Pway? Outside?), which is super cute. And, of course, his s’s for f’s (No fankin’, Mom! No fankin!). So, let’s revisit the above conversation… but, this time I’ll write what I HEAR.

Firt off?

You can take your shirt off.

Pant off?

Let’s leave your pants on.

Tay. Fock off?

*pause*

You may take your socks off.

One fock off, Mom. Two fock off.

I won’t lie. It’s hilarious.

Until you go to the bank.

At the drive-through, I always roll the back windows down so the kids can watch the tube go up the shoot.  They think it’s magic. It is, really.  The money goes up and a receipt- often with candy for cute children- comes back down.  God bless America.

Except for this one particular day, when the kind lady forgot to put the candy in the tube. I tried to ignore it. Make quick conversation in the car, roll up the windows, be gone before the short people in the back noticed the violation of goodwill and started wailing…

but my son was on to all of us.

As I rolled up our windows but before it was even half-way, he let out  a piercing yell directly into the microphone.

ME FOCKER!!!

NOOOO! FOCKER!

Mom, pwease.

Focker, pwease.

Pwease.

The volume you’re hearing in your head? Double it. This child is LOUD. Loud.  It’s possible God stopped time at that moment. That’s what it felt like. There was no wind. No radio. No nothing. Just my son… and his sweet little mouth of fire.

The boy wanted his SUCKER and he would not be silenced.

I took a deep breath and rolled the windows back down.

The teller was shaking with laughter as I squeaked,

“I suppose there IS something else you can do for me today. If you have a candy, a sucker, anywhere in that building… if you have one, I have a little boy who desperately wants one. Please. And, thank you.”

And so she did.

And we left.

And I have never been back.

Language is a fickle, changing, growing, living thing in this family.

Gus Man

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About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

12 responses to “This post is rated R for language.

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