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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Clarity of Speech

Small bodies are draped around my house during the Spring break after another busy night. Since their bodies are covered in clothes and we have achieved ‘dressed’ status, I am more than satisfied with progress under the circumstances. Although it’s difficult to pin point when ‘night time’ ended and ‘day’ started, I would guesstimate that it has taken us three hours to eat breakfast and dress. I contemplate the day ahead and our free social skills training. [translation = playdates] It is possible to transform the house into an image of respectability in a few intervening minutes, to present an acceptable front? I debate whether I can hold myself out as a responsible adult supervisor of a play date when I am semi comotose? My mind percolates upon the subject of liability waivers? Whether or not a child's signature is valid without parental input, when junior starts up.
“Mom! Mom! Mom!” he squalks.
“Yes! Yes! Yes!” I mimic, in the hope that he will be able to tune into the concept of volume control.
“Don copy me!” he commands with indignation. “Dat iz not a nice fing to be doing to a lickle guy like me.”
“You are right. Now what did you want to ask me?”
“Oh er, yes, um, we are not turtles?”
“You’re right, we are not turtles.”
“No. Er are we not turtles?”
“No, we are not turtles.” I re-run that line trying to work out where my double negatives are taking me. It seems like an exercise in existentialism to my tiny brain capacity.
“No I am not sayin dat. I am sayin, I am askin, what it is ‘not turtles.’?”
He has gone to all this trouble to clarify his enquiry verbally, with a smidge of eye contact, a bucket load of patience and what do I have to offer in return to positively reinforce this effort?
“Um, well, er….”
My daughter helps me, “you shouldn’t be coz yur human, but yes, you are nocturnal.”

Just typical! Nothing to do with a "speech delay," everything to do with an American accent. There is a ‘C’ in nocturnal! It is the third letter! Why don’t you pronounce it? Say it out loud. I dare you! Again. Louder. Faster.

I'm lucky to have a local to "translate."

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