Friday, November 14, 2008

Sound effects

The older child, she was making me crazy. She was in one of those not-listening moods, the kind where she behaves just minimally enough to be technically perhaps preparing to comply with the stated instruction, but nothing so simple as just doing as told. In the midst of Stall Tactic #784, she saw me open my mouth to utter another frustration, another threat of grand punishment: loss of bedtime book, most likely. She pre-emptively hastily stopped me: I’m listening, Mama!

I love how she’ll work so hard not to do what she needs to do, but also will work equally hard not to be chastised for all that not doing. It takes being very perceptive to walk that fine line so successfully. So I was smiling inside my head but externally, of course, I needed to let her know I wasn’t buying it. “Great,” I said, and gave her a most sarcastic eye-rolling look. I paired it with a Sarah-Palin-esque double thumbs-up, and clicked my tongue, side-mouthed, upside-Elvis-smirk, used-car-salesman-cliché-style.

That intrigued her. That intrigued her enough to stop washing her hands. (And to think all I had wanted was that she move on from soaping to toothbrush-toothpaste-applying.) She looked down at her hands, watching her own movements as she carefully fisted her fingers and raised her thumbs in pantomime of my gesture. Once satisfied with their positioning she raised both hands aloft, as I had, and…

(…she couldn’t execute the tongue-clicking sound…)

(…and spoke the sound instead…)


And for several weeks since, she would respond to any good news (“sure, you can have one cup of chocolate milk. But just one!”) with an enthusiastic thumb-escorted Skohk!

And then, the Skohk!s faded. I thought they were gone forever, and they were so funny to me that I mourned their passing. But it turns out they were just hidden away because someone had been practicing. A few nights ago I offered an extra book at bedtime for staying dry all day with no accidents (aah, the endless excitement of pottytraining!) and was thanked with a thumb upturned and the sound of…

Skihk! Pin It