Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Remarkable Sack

"That's Spanish for watermelon."

My daughter is evidently being taught the Spanish words for some things at school. Which is fine. But she also has no idea what the words are and is just making up nonsense and saying it's Spanish. She told me this morning that, "banana poop" is Spanish for snow. Let's hope not. But on top of that as well she's also saying random gibberish is some form of "real English" that only she and I can understand. This whole English pride thing is nice but she clearly has no idea really so just sounds kind of dickish. Which she isn't trying to be at all - she's just being playful and trying to be nice by saying we have something nice and special that we share. Which comes out as her ding things like whispering (very loud whispering that is louder than her real voice) to me that her brother can't drive their play fold-up canvas fire engine yet because he's not English. Clearly.

It's prompted me to actually reconsider learning a language with my wife - and maybe see if the kids will go for it too. I'm all in for French myself - just so it gives us an excuse to go up to Montreal and Quebec City more often (even though they all speak English). I know Spanish is more sensible considering the number in the population who speak it, but it just sounds very ugly to me. And I can't learn Italian because people who live in central NY seem to have developed their own hilarious pronunciation of words that is so catastrophically wrong (pronouncing prosciutto as "pra-shoot," and mozzarella as, "motz-a-rool" being the worst) that if I spoke it correctly they'd have no idea what I'm on about. There are quite a sizable number of Bosnian, Somalian and Burmese refugees in Utica apparently - which would make learning one of them useful in one way. But balls to that - I'd prefer French or a North Germanic language.

Of course I wont do that though. I've been meaning to do all sorts of things and haven't done those - so adding something else is just a way to measure more failure. I was thinking this morning about that after reading copious numbers of 2011 lists from friends who had read this, done that and tried some things whilst I pretty much stayed home and played trains. Thinking about the past 9-10 months I've had so many ideas of things to do. I was going to read all the books in my dining room (where they all sit). I've read two. I was going to really get back into guitar. That's been very much a bit part thing. I was going to cook and make everything what with the excellent vegetable garden my wife planted and my need for non-wheat flour bread. I have made bread once in a year. The garden was very useful but I didn't use it anywhere near as much as I could and should have. Mostly because my son was just the wrong side of things and ended up smashing his way through the tomato plants and dragging the beans en masse off the poles while running off towards the road. I was going to learn all sorts and teach my kids even more. At the very least I should have learned how to put my daughter's hair up by now. Instead I do a piss poor job of it and then tell her to ask her teacher to fix whatever I did to her.

It hasn't been a failure by any means. I've had lots of fun and so have they. And we done lots of other things. It's just weird I guess because measuring how well you're doing as a parent is very difficult to do. All people are different and parent differently and all kids are different too. There are trends obviously - but because my daughter could run at 10 months of age doesn't mean that your kid is useless because they are still crawling at 18 months of age. Measurables are weird too. When I took my son to the doctor he asked all sorts of questions that initially you'd think mean that the norm for a 21 month old is well below my son. But afterwards he explained that he starts off low so that he can get parents to be honest about their kids so that if it's a developmental issue he can identify it. But if it's a parental thing he can try and educate on that. Those nutters who feed their kids by throwing a frozen pork chop on a sawdust covered floor don't know their insane you know.

I always thought it was weird how I could be proud of things that have nothing to do with development or growth. When a doctor tells you your kid's head is in a certain percentile for growth it shouldn't really mean anything. So what. When medical professionals thought it was near-heroic that my daughter could do the stuff she was doing at one year of age - it didn't really mean anything. It just meant she was doing it. But if they offhand remarked about something completely silly then I was beyond proud. I remember once being at a wellness visit when the nurse was giving my son the once over. She was verbalizing loudly what she was doing - clearly in a way she was trained to do so that parents were included in the whole thing. Then she lifted my naked son's penis and said, "his scrotum is nice." I remember thinking, "yeah - you're damn right it is." A strange pang of pride there that I really did feel. It's not every day that people compliment a man/boy's scrotum you know. Amusingly any affirmation the doctor last week gave me about my son's ability to name body parts didn't really mean anything because I know he's doing perfectly fine. But if he'd been the second doctor to marvel at my boy's plums I may not have been able to keep from bragging about it.

Time to read him books now though. He's obsessed with one with solid plastic eyes in it that appear on every page at the moment.

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