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LJI9 Week 24 - Speaking in Tongues

This is my entry for this week of LJ Idol, Season 9. Please check out the entries of my fellow competitors and consider joining the therealljidol community. This week's topic was "The Cupertino Effect."

An introduction by Emily Litella:

What's all this about the Super Nino Effect? Giant thunderstorms squashing us like little bitty, teeny weenie, tiny little bugs! Hurricanes washing away the shoreline and devouring boardwalks like cotton candy! They say the Super Nino Effect is caused by global swarming, like that man who was killed by thousands of bees. Thousands of angry bees, hiding in an attic, buzzing and stinging, and causing tornadoes! I mean, are the bees angry that we're eating their honey? Well, I am going to stop putting honey in my tea, I can tell you! ...

Hmm? It's not the Super Nino Effect? It's the Cupertino Effect?

Never mind.

Talking to a 4-year-old often feels like speaking to an alien being. With his giant eyes and short legs, my son reminds me of a curious extraterrestrial, eager to explore our world but finding our ways foreign. This would explain why my instruction to eat his strawberry smoothie before the piano teacher arrives is interpreted by him as "take off your pants and jump on the couch." It would also explain his confused, wounded face when I assure him that it is not appropriate to greet guests half-naked.

If he spoke an alien language, it would also explain why "We need to leave in five minutes" sounds like "Wipe your hands on my only clean pants." Or why "Sit quietly and listen" sounds like "Bounce up and down on your toes while singing 'Old McDonald'."

It's as if the words I say go through an alien filter, converting them into odd phrases I neither intend nor recognize. Perhaps he is consulting a faulty phrasebook, which could also be why sometimes I have trouble understanding him, too. "Use your words" is probably the wrong command for a little alien. This could be why he stuffs his fingers into his mouth, instead, and gurgles indistinctly. I should have told him to "Use English words."

Sometimes I forget how he arrived here, in his capsule filled with liquid, expelled rudely into a world of noise and chill. He has learned many lessons since then, but when he declares himself a "hamster baby" and curls close to me, I remember. He may seem just like us taller, older folk, but at heart he is an aquanaut, adrift on land, trying to translate our squawks into his gurgling native language.

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( 41 comments — Leave a comment )
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Oct. 10th, 2014 02:11 am (UTC)
Awww, this is sweet. :)
Oct. 10th, 2014 06:22 am (UTC)
Thank you! Just where my head was today. :)
(no subject) - jem0000000 - Oct. 12th, 2014 12:48 am (UTC) - Expand
Oct. 10th, 2014 04:09 am (UTC)
This made me happy. I'm glad you and your little alien can still communicate in cuddles. :)
Oct. 10th, 2014 06:22 am (UTC)
Me, too! And yes, he was cuddling with me as I posted this.
Oct. 10th, 2014 06:25 pm (UTC)
Awww - I want a little alien! Too cute!
Oct. 12th, 2014 10:07 pm (UTC)
If you ever come to Philly, you can meet mine. He's awesome.
Oct. 10th, 2014 08:01 pm (UTC)

It's as if the words I say go through an alien filter, converting them into odd phrases I neither intend nor recognize.
You would think! Or perhaps the words are simply going into the void that seems to exist between your mouth and a toddler's ears. :D
Oct. 12th, 2014 10:09 pm (UTC)
I like that phrase, "the void that seems to exist between your mouth and a toddler's ears." His dad just asked him to clean up the living room. First, he came over to the table and played with his DUPLO tower while singing. Then he tried to get his green IKEA chair to stand up inside a cardboard box! When his dad called him on it, he answered, "But I'm trying to make room to move my loader." :)
Oct. 10th, 2014 08:17 pm (UTC)
Awww, this is incredibly sweet! You seem like a really great parent.
Oct. 12th, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I try. He makes me smile every day, even through the occasional frustration.
Oct. 10th, 2014 08:51 pm (UTC)
This was very sweet -- I loved the idea of a hamster baby!
Oct. 12th, 2014 10:10 pm (UTC)
That is actually what he's been calling himself lately when he wants to cuddle. Another friend of mine said her kids do the same thing: one becoming a panda baby and the other a bunny.
Oct. 10th, 2014 09:32 pm (UTC)
Very cute, you'll miss these moments once he fully assimilates but you will be able to use them to embarrass him in front of his friends!
Oct. 12th, 2014 10:35 pm (UTC)
I'm sure! I hope I don't do what my parents do, and dredge up their favorite "bad Alyce" stories for each new person I introduce them to! Like the time I allegedly kept pushing a little boy who was the son of friends we were visiting in Texas. I don't remember a think about it, but I'm certain he must have deserved it. :)
Oct. 10th, 2014 10:15 pm (UTC)
Small children being alien makes so many things make so much more sense, really.

Oct. 12th, 2014 10:35 pm (UTC)
Doesn't it? I can't be the first person to have come up with that idea. :)
Oct. 11th, 2014 05:27 am (UTC)
Love this piece.

My girl twin today reminded me how tricky language is.

"Do you want strawberry, chocolate, or caramel?"

"Strawberry chocolate!"

"No, you can have strawberry, chocolate or caramel."

"I want strawberry chocolate!"

"OH. You can have strawberry OR chocolate OR caramel."

"Oh. I'll have strawberry then."

(I think she has the soul of a programmer... I hope so ;)
Oct. 12th, 2014 10:36 pm (UTC)
That exchange is priceless! I'd want strawberry chocolate, too.
Oct. 11th, 2014 12:32 pm (UTC)
Awww..<3 this was adorable..."Direct Dil se" we say it here which means "Right from the heart onto paper"..:) God Bless.
Oct. 12th, 2014 10:36 pm (UTC)
I will have to remember that phrase, because I love it.
Oct. 11th, 2014 08:52 pm (UTC)
So reminds me of "Super Nintendo Chalmers". ^^
Oct. 12th, 2014 11:12 pm (UTC)
Awesome! Love the Simpsons. BTW, I've been playing the Sims so much lately, that KFP refers to "The Simpsons" as "The Sims."
Oct. 12th, 2014 03:28 pm (UTC)
Four year olds! They've just reached the age of bribery and barely having the ability to reason with them! I miss that! :)

Thanks for penning a sweet tale.
Oct. 12th, 2014 11:14 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Bribery doesn't always work, but it depends on what the reward is, as well as what the desired behavior is. No reward is apparently big enough right now to get him to try most new foods.
Oct. 12th, 2014 05:06 pm (UTC)
Alien indeed! I don't know how that whole parenting thing works. That seems a little alien too!
Oct. 12th, 2014 11:14 pm (UTC)
It does until you're in the midst of it... and then it does even more! :)
Oct. 13th, 2014 09:18 am (UTC)
Oh, this is such a perfect entry!! I LOVE IT!
Oct. 14th, 2014 09:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you! That's always graet to hear.
Oct. 13th, 2014 09:28 am (UTC)
I laughed at just about every line of this. I think my butt is on the floor now!
Oct. 14th, 2014 09:06 pm (UTC)
Cool! It is always my goal to make people's butts hit the floor.
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