• J Mess


No good deed goes unpunished.

My husband and I both talk a lot. Me a little less so lately as I've come to much appreciate the power of silence. But my husband talks for a living. He is constantly on the phone, gabbing away with co-workers and clients. Constantly. He's that annoying person who's having a conversation on the train or in the restaurant or in the gym. He loves to talk to anyone and anything, and the Nathan apple apparently doesn't fall far from the chatty tree.

My parents were very concerned that cat-cat was stunting Nathan's "language explosion." Well congratulations because cat-cat is history and now we can't get him to shut up.

Nathan has always had a lot to say. Most of it was nonsense, when he didn't know many real words, but it was a constant stream of noises coming from his mouth. Sometimes it's still nonsense, although he thinks he's being an excellent communicator, and therefore most of it is left for me to interpret as the only other fluent speaker of Nathan-ese. You know how that goes if you've ever spoken to a little kid who's clearly telling you something and you have absolutely no idea what they are saying. Then the parent comes over and completely understands every word. Nathan still has those moments where he's emphatically yelling for "bleeoul" and I hear my husband panicking downstairs, "Nathan I don't know what that is. What would you like? You want something blue?" Nope babe, he wants his fruit in a BOWL. I should get paid for my translation services.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still no master. It's taken me months of painstaking, brain-bending, super concentrating to even try to make sense of what this kid is constantly trying to tell me. At the beginning most of it was accomplished by a hit-or-miss game of "Is this what you want?" which heavily relied upon Nathan being able to distinguish between no and yes. Most of the time he'd say no, and then quickly say yes, and then no again. So that was fun. When that wasn't working, it was all just basically a bunch of ridiculous pointing and mime-ing. A couple of months ago at dinner, he emphatically told me over and over and over that he wanted "beeyowbee-e" and kept pointing to the kitchen counter. I said "Nathan, mommy doesn't know what a beeyowbee-e is bud. What is it that you want?" Beeyowbee-e, he says sweetly and matter-of-factly while starting at me like, hey idiot how are you not getting this. Everyone knows what a beeyowbee-e is mom. He continued to repeat it and started to get really frustrated and upset that I didn't know what he wanted. So I ran over to the counter and began picking things up and asking "Nathan, is this a beeyowbee-e?," "what about this, is this beeyowbee-e?" What in the heck is a beeyowbee-e?? A blueberry? No. A blue bowl? No. No. No. I still don't know what he was talking about.

"Mama get dese for Neat." Yes Nathan I will buy you that huge box of 20 Matchbox cars because you insisted so specifically.

It's been amazing to watch his progress in learning and understanding language. Sometimes he makes perfect sense and speaks in full sentences. And sometimes he pulls new words out of the ether and I have no idea where he learned to say these things. But all of the time he is saying something, whether it's repeatedly listing everyone in our family "mama, dada, yaya, papa, cat cat, ME!," or telling me every night about his day at camp. These are the best stories to translate because he's truly communicating what happened, just in his own way.

"Nathan what did you do at camp today?"

"Ekee wet." Ethan was wet? Did you play at the water table? "Yea." Alright, that was an easy one, what else you got kid? Let's move on to level 2.

"What else happened today?"

"Coco bye-bye eye huwt monkey." Whoa okay. Give me a second with this one. Nathan, Rocco went home from camp because a monkey hurt his eye? "YAAA!" Clearly my translation game is not as strong as I thought, unless... no, can't be...

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