But this isn’t long term. It’s what doctors, therapists, family counselors, teachers and that dude in the Insane Clown Posse T-shirt that works at the liquor store who doesn’t judge you for bringing a kid inside and even offers her a Tootsie Roll would call, “a phase.”
One of many … and they don’t stop until the child gets married. But really even then they just become another person’s problem and the whole cycle starts over again.
The Phase in which Jellybean is currently immersed is what I like to call the Mighty Motor Mouth phase and it begins as soon as she opens her eyes.
True conversation from a morning earlier this week:
Mumble … mumble … something about sunglasses and mosquitoes, followed by a yawn and a long stretch.
“When you read a book at night, why do you put it on that table?” A nod toward bedside table.
“Because that’s what the table is for.”
“Yeah, but you’ve other stuff there like a glass of water and your alarm clock and your glasses.”
“It’s just a place to hold stuff that you do at night ... What do you want to for breakfast?”
“Pig-in-a-blanket. So then why do you put my books on the floor?”
“Well … because …”
“Never mind. Do you think I can wear my tap shoes to school today?”
“That’s probably not a good idea, because ...”
“You know that Taylor told me that I’d look really cute in red sandals. Do you think we could get some ... and a Hello Kitty necklace to match?”
“Do you remember that part in that Katy Perry song where she says Barbie’s on the barbecue? Why did she do that? Because it would burn and then she couldn’t play with it anymore?”
And so it goes through breakfast, two episodes of “Boy Meets World” and the soundtrack to “Les Misérables” that we listen to on the way the school — rhetorical questions, open-ended questions, random statements, observations and moments of silliness where I’m pretty sure she’s talking to herself.
I drop her off at school, pick her up eight hours later, and I swear she picks up right where she left off … talking … incessantly … and often nonsensically. I remember that magical moment when our little Jellybean spoke her first word — “DOG” — we knew that she was going to be brilliant and well spoken, perhaps the next Katie Couric save for the questionable career choices (a colonoscopy on live TV?).
Now, all I want her to do is stop talking, and to stop saying my name.
Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy. Daddy.
My Lovely Wife tells a story of being home with a young Diva during her Mighty Motor Mouth phase, pulling her to the side and, as lovingly as is possible while entertaining images of locking a child in a closet for no reason, saying, “For today, I’m not Mommy. Call me anything, just not Mommy.”
She never told me if it actually worked.
It didn’t work for me. Instead, Jellybean got frustrated and annoyed and rather than talking about nothing, she started copying me.
“Seriously, stop copying me.”
“Seriously, stop copying me.”
“Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”
Wide-eyed silence … blissful, peaceful quiet.
“Who is Peter Piper … why did you say that? Daddy, do you like peppers, ‘cause I don’t and I don’t like pickles either, but John does …”
Contact Brett Buckner at email@example.com.