Saying Goodbye to the Bird Theater

I have always loved listening to the way young children figure out their world and the mysteries of language and vocabulary.  You know: the words they make up for things according to their own logic, or close substitutes based on something mis-heard.  And then there are the questions they ask as they try to figure out this great big, secret-coded world.

When my own children started talking and saying the darndest things, I would write things down on scraps of paper.  In my more organized moments, I'd drop them into a file in the filing cabinet.  Most days, I'd just shove the scrap into a book or a drawer.  Some of my happiest moments lately are when I come across a forgotten scrap of paper that says something like:  The Bean says "Glory to God in the highest, and pizza to his people on earth!"  Or, AJ wants to know: "When are they gonna put President Obama on the dollar bill with curlers in his hair?"  Or, Sister sez, pointing to her babies, "This is Baby, and this is Nother Baby, and this is Carrie.  I have too many that I can't take care of them!"

Just yesterday, Sister said, "Mom we need more seeds in the bird theater."  She meant bird feeder of course, and I didn't have the heart to correct her.  I just know the days of little-kid-isms are numbered.  Soon The Bean will stop saying weakened for weekend, and AJ's mouth will finally be able to pronounce Rs.  Someone, probably one of her know-it-all big brothers, will tell Sister:  "It's bird feeder, not bird theater," and that bubble, too, will be burst.

Meanwhile, I am remembering all my favorite baby words, sayings, and questions, like:

The Bean's word for disappear:  lostappear.  And he way he said St. Francis of A See Saw (instead of Assisi).

AJ's words for helicopter and lasagna: hebba-cobba and kazanya.  And the way he thought the word for airplane was Dada! for the first three years of his life (in his defense, Husband was traveling a lot in those days).

Then there's Sister who called airplanes Tokyo! for the daily 3:00 flight to Tokyo that went over our old house.  And her endearing words for strawberry (dawbobo), accidentally (axlee-dentlee) and tomorrow (nexterday).

Like the Bean's explanation of what happened after the dinosaurs became extinct, including his crude understanding of evolution:  "Roads began to be built.  Monkeys turned into people."

Like the time I read Psalm 147 to AJ:  O sing to the Lord giving thanks; sing psalms to our god with the harp.  He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares the rain for the earth, making mountains sprout with grass.  And AJ said, "Aha!  So that's who popped up all our grass -- it was God!  Wait a minute, how can just a stone statue pop up all the grass?"

Like the way Sister still says, "Can I company you?" when she wants to go somewhere with someone.

And who was it?  I can't remember now.  One of them had just been watching Sesame Street, and I asked:  "What number did the Count talk about today?"  And whoever-it-was said, "The Count wasn't on today.  He's on vacation.  But one of his disciples was there to do the number of the day."

Children become so very competent so very quickly.  They learn to read and listen and pronounce, and they figure out the world.  They learn to say strawberry, and understand that the Count doesn't have disciples per se.  Then they stop saying things like:  "Can we have dee-dogs for lunch?" (hotdogs), and "Mom, do dinosaurs have a penis?  Well, do they at least have a glitter box?"(I think this one had to do with figuring out how dinos went to the bathroom -- litter box?), and "Hey, I was talking and you inberated me!" (interrupted).  Soon, they will be grunting at me, and I'll be lucky to get the three syllables that every parent hates: what-ev-er.

In the mean time, I am not going to correct anyone's mispronounciations, or verbal mix-ups, or even smile at the questions that show how puzzling this world still is to them sometimes.  I'm going to enjoy every one of them.

Long live the bird theater.

(P.S. I would love to hear other people's memories of what their kids used to say, or maybe still do say.  Share them in the comments if you like).


Coolclan said...

Oh, we had "nexterday," too! (And its opposite ,"lasterday") Your post made me wish I had written down more of them..

Ms. WK said...

Simon had "lasterday" and dump truck was most definitely "dumb f@#$" :-)

Adelle's best malapropism (:-)) is "Hiney" for Simey. :-) Don't think it hasn't turned into "Himon" ha ha ha!!!

I live a lot of "whatevers" at work... loving the bird theater, too!

Kim said...

Katie still tells us to not step on the lions or to make sure we color inside the lions. I'm guessing that will change at some point this year (kindergarten). I'll miss the lions.

Ananda said...

Andrew had his own language for about a year. Just the nouns -- "jumping stack" for trampoline and "frangolay" for the flag. Most days he made me feel like I was taking care of a drunk frat boy. Everything he asked for required an in-depth description and intense questions. I should have written them down; good for you that you do that.

Minga said...

Well, it's been a long time, but I definitely remember anamoke for hamburger and motormycle for motorcycle. Beezha beezha but-turned out was something the babysitter said to him: I'm gonna beat your butt! Heavens, where did I find that woman anyway? These from the first. The second, and our author here, spoke all kinds of unintelligible gibberish until one day it was sentences and paragraphs. The third (yes, love enough for three) had a favorite word for his dad: gahg. I highly recommend writing these things down. No matter how you think you will never forget-you do!!