(Non)Parents Just Don’t Understand

In social situations involving mixed company (that is to say, both parents and non-parents), it is advisable to avoid children as a topic of discussion.  No poop, no boogers, no vomit.  These subjects do not a scintillating adult conversation make.  And you run the risk of revealing that parenthood has turned you into a complete and utter whack job.  Case in point, a recent night out where the conversation meandered into the forbidden zone and I found myself attempting to describe my two year-old’s favorite television show.  The explanation that followed, I’m 100% certain, left half our table wondering if I had sustained some sort of massive head trauma.

“Okay, so there’s this guy in a tangerine unitard and a giant furry hat who carries around a boom box from 1983 that has tiny creatures inside.”

Image courtesy of Nick Jr.

Blank stares.

“One is a Cyclops.  Oh, and one is a robot.  And when he says the magic words, they come to life and talk about stuff like how to give high-fives and why you shouldn’t bite your friends.”


“And the guy can fly.  And he’s an awesome dancer.  And also Biz Markie is there.”


Bewildered looks, followed by abrupt change of subject.

Okay, how had I never noticed that Yo Gabba Gabba is absolutely ape-shit crazy?  Ah, the true mark of parental desperation.  ‘He likes this show enough that I can fold an entire load of laundry AND it doesn’t drive me insane?  Sold!’  That’s really all it took for me to accept it in its kooky entirety.  Even if Muno, the friendly red Cyclops, looks like something you’d order from the Adam and Eve catalog and have shipped to your house in an unmarked box.  And Foofa, the show’s most obviously female character, sounds like a drunk sorority chick.  According to the theme song “she’s pink and happy!” – and blasted on roofies and Midori sours, apparently.  I’ll spare the feminist rant (you’re welcome) but if I see her carrying around a copy of Prozac Nation, I’m calling the network to complain.

Don’t get me wrong, I regularly thank the children’s television gods that Yo Gabba Gabba exists.  It is reasonable adorable and the lessons are solid (you totally SHOULDN’T bite your friends).  The added bonus for our aging-hipster-turned-parent household is that the music is actually pretty fantastic.  Weezer performing dressed as giant insects?  In my book, it doesn’t get much better than that.  And we all certainly watched our fair share of trippy shit when we were young.  The Smurfs?  An old man whose arch nemeses are little blue creatures who live inside hollowed out mushrooms?  Apparently folks were still big into psychedelic drugs in the early 80’s.  It would seem each generation has its own special brand of television insanity.  I look forward to seeing what someday replaces Yo Gabba Gabba.  Although, in my opinion, it’s going to be pretty tough to beat Mark Mothersbaugh teaching kids to draw a flatbed truck carrying a giant cooked chicken.  Your move, TV…



Rosetta Stoned

Sometimes living with a 2 year-old is akin to living with a mysterious foreigner with an indiscriminate accent.  It’s a bit like having a tiny Andy-Kaufman-as-Latka-Gravas wandering around your house.  Don’t get me wrong, my son’s verbal communication seems to be right on track for his age – the words are clearer, the sentences more complete every day.  But as jaw-droppingly impressive as it is to watch someone pick up an entire language before your very eyes, sometimes he’ll start to ramble in toddler-ese and the only thing you can do is smile and nod.

“Flabble glabble cookie!”

“Slumby doo dee juice!”

“Glooby globby Bronson Pinchot!”

I extract the bits I recognize and pretend to know what the hell the rest was all about.  His native tongue is an amalgamation of languages – a United Nations of gibberish.  Sometimes it sounds vaguely Spanish, other days, more Japanese.  There are guttural proclamations that suggest Germanic origins, and wildly emphatic hand gestures that seem characteristically Italian (an inference based entirely upon what The Real Housewives of New Jersey has informed me about the culture – sorry real Italian people).  If I should ever find myself on the job market again, I am most definitely listing toddler fluency on my resume.  It is a skill worthy of note that I’ve managed to figure out “b-sunk” is Miles-speak for squirrel.  I’m reasonably certain that I am the member of our family most fluent in 2 year-old, having to step in for translation on regular basis.  But sometimes not even God or Siri can help.

“Mommy, bloo blah blay!?”

“What’s that?  You’re feeling blasé?”

“You would like a bouillabaisse?”

“You’re buying a new blouse today?”

I’ll know I missed the mark when he reacts with shock upon ending up at Filene’s Basement.  Even though he and I are often frustrated at my lack of understanding, I know I’ll be so terribly sad when the endearing toddler speech impediment is no more.  My heart broke a little the first day he said “elephant” instead of his usual, “en-ant”.  I breathe a little sigh of relief every time he requests “noo noos” for lunch.  Then I try like hell to memorize the moment, just in case the next time he asks for “pasta, preferably al dente, in a light cheese sauce if you please, mother”.  I want to take him and all of his goofy, jabbering adorableness, and put him in a time capsule so I can hold on to my 2 year-old “My-woes” forever.  If it were up to me, I’d send him off to college with a sippy-cup full of “ahbble juice” – I’m sure it mixes well with Southern Comfort and youthful rebellion.  For now, I’m content putting him to bed every night with his “bankie” and his favorite stuffed “jaffy”.  Thankfully, I think I have a little while longer to enjoy this – “giraffe” is a really hard word to say.

And now we do the dance of joy!