#6 Motormouth in Aisle 4
When my son was born, none of my friends had children. Left to figure it out on my own, I’d imagined the hardships that would come with parenting: the sleepless nights, the diapers, the expense, the doctor’s visits. I had no idea, NO idea, that one of the single most challenging things about being this child’s mother would be his tendency towards incessant speech.
My son talks all day long.
From the moment he wakes up til the second he falls asleep he treats us to a non-stop stream of sentences, about 80% of which start with the words “mami” or “daddy”.
Run out of things to talk about? No problem! Let’s just talk about having nothing to talk about!
Today was a particularly busy and exciting day that ended with our weekly trip to the supermarket. I grabbed a cart to share with Octobergirl and the husband grabbed another cart with Octoberboy. They look so funny together, those two: the husband pushing around a four-year-old clone of himself, both clad in knee-length board shorts and t-shirts, sharing a bag of apple chips. If ever Octoberboy starts wearing glasses I may never be able to tell them apart again.
During our shopping, he treats us to varied topics such as: how many more “sleeps” til he has to go back to daycare, the proper way to load the shopping carts (he knows more than we do and will tell us so) and a very interesting soliloquy about how Burger King really needs to rethink the toys in their kids’ meals because why make a Transformer toy with wheels that don’t spin and are Transformers smiling or are they upset about something because its really hard to tell since they’re plastic you know, and what does “plastic” mean anyway, I mean is it a name or is it just a word because every word means something doesn’t it???
Exciting days like today make them both even more talkative. Octoberboy talks about anything and everything while Octobergirl works her new-found vocabulary belting out labels for everything she recognizes. Once in a while she’ll say something that will catch his attention and he’ll stop to acknowledge her but most often, they speak simultaneously.
All. Day. Long.
At the supermarket she spots a box of crayons and yells “Cwayons!! Cwayons!!! Wook, cwayons!!!”
He says: “Mami, why do grapes come in different colors?”
He adds: “Mami, can we have some apples?”
She says: “Appoes!”
He says: “Mami, why does grandpa live in Long Island?”
She says: “Wook, appoes!”
He says: “Mami, why does Burger King give out Transformer toys? Who decides that? I want to decide what I get in my kids’ meal!”
She says: “Wass dat?”
He says: “Mami, she said ‘what’s that’!”
She says: “Wass dat?”
He says: “Mami, did you hear her?”
She says: “Wass dat?”
He says: “Mami, she’s talking like a big girl!”
At the register, I grab one of this week’s gossip magazines and ask Octobergirl to help me pick out a new hair color. I want to ring in my 30th year as a blonde or a redhead. Forget this jet black stuff, I’m bored. I flip the pages and she points at a picture of Eva Mendes and says “Mami!” I’m flattered for a quick moment but then realize that she’s pointing at pictures of every female in the magazine saying “Wook! Mami!” Her therapist has recently started using pictures of the husband and I so that Octobergirl can begin to identify us as “mami” and “daddy”. This probably isn’t what she’d been working towards but it’s a good first step.
I tune into Octoberboy in the cart ahead and he’s still complaining about Transformers and the expressions on their faces, or lack thereof. A few minutes later we take off in our car, I give them each a drink and the concert continues, Octobergirl behind me singing her ABC’s and Octoberboy continuing his monologue, pointing at the large storage facility that we’re driving past because its so BIG and we’ve never BEEN in there and its painted ORANGE and look, there’s parking for EVERYONE!
Just before we reach our apartment building I notice he’s stopped talking for about 45 seconds and I whip my head around in a panic. For one fleeting moment I fear for his life - surely he must be choking on his drink, how else could he be quiet for a whole 45 seconds? He lifts his weary head and gives me a grin that exposes every last one of his perfect little teeth.
“Nothing, baby, I thought of you and it made me laugh”
“Mami, you’re silly.”