Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Pretty please with screeches on top

My adorable 16 and 1/2 month old Simon has developed a bit of an annoying quirk of late. He's on the cusp of being verbal, but doesn't have access to enough words to clearly communicate his desires. And the boy has a lot of desires, which he feels passionately about.

For a while, when he saw something he wanted, like a banana, his soother or my hairbrush, he'd grunt meaningfully and reach toward the object of his attention. Then he realized if he screeched while gesturing significantly toward something, we were much more highly motivated to satiate his needs. At first it was grunt-gesture-pause-screech, then he dropped the time-consuming and generally unsuccessful grunt-gesture-pause and instead jumped straight to the eardrum-splitting screech.

Apparently, we were very accomodating in responding to his glass-shattering screech, because he began to employ it as a regular communication tool. Tristan took my toy - SCREECH! Please pass me that sippy cup - SCREECH! Look, the dog has a tail - SCREECH! I'm sitting in my highchair and there's no food in front of me - SCREECH! I've just stuffed the last scrap of food into my face and I'm still hungry oh my god will there never be food in my life again if only I could reach that plate full of food right there in front of mommy before I starve - SCREECH!!

You get the picture.

It was getting a little tiresome, I am not afraid to admit. I explained to Beloved that it was just a phase, that as soon as he had words he would use those to communicate. We just had to put up with it for a little while. Beloved regarded me suspiciously and asked if I had somehow mated with an eagle, since Simon's screeches sound remarkably like the starving baby eaglets on the National Geographic channel.

But this weekend, my incredibly brilliant mother changed all that. She taught Simon to say "Please." Every time he screeched for something, she would pick it up, show it to him and say, "Please." Within minutes, Simon was saying the most adorable version of "Pless" to ever grace the English language.

Damn, mothers really are smart. Even when you're a mother, you realize that there is a hierarchy of mothers, and you might as well not even try because you'll never be as clever as your mother.

So now, Simon walks around the house gesculating and hollering "PLESS" at the top of his lungs. You've never heard the word please imbued with so much emotion. My favourite was Simon in his highchair yesterday at lunchtime, waiting impatiently for another serving of apples pieces to be cut up. He balled up his little fists and bellowed "PLESS!" so loud his eyeballs bulged.

Who knew please could be a four letter word?