By Sean Pearson
While it still may be a bit early, I’ve been using friends with young children to help me prepare for my upcoming years of “toddler-speak” as grandpa-ism starts to actually take hold.
No, my 5-month-old bundle of grandjoy isn’t starting to wax poetic just yet, but I’m pretty sure he’s trying to communicate with me via toddler telepathic messages.
(Those smiles couldn’t possibly be only a matter of gas. Let’s face it, the kid just beams with joy whenever I’m around.)
He actually beams with joy when he’s around most people, so I really don’t let that one go to my head … much. Bottom line: He’s trying to tell me something, so I reckon it’s my job to figure out how to communicate with him as soon as possible.
I learned pretty quickly the difference between a hungry cry and a mad cry. I also learned to always have another diaper ready and waiting when it’s time for the change. Let’s just say that idea soaked in rather well.
The first time I realized my stunningly handsome and exceptionally gifted grandson was trying to communicate with me, was when he clearly said, “I need a package delivered.” It sounded a little more like “Sneepa eever” when he said it, but the look in his eye was quite telling. I felt myself being pulled into a realm of communication that very few people have dared cross into. (I think I now know how Jane Goodall must have felt.) It was kinda like finding the missing link.
So, now, I’m working on my “Toddlerspeak.” I strike up conversations with random 18-month-olds on the street. (We seem well-matched intellectually, also.) They explain to me how things work in the toddler ‘hood, and it ain’t nothin’ like what you’ve seen on Rugrats.
I would love to explain it all to you, but I’ve been sworn to secrecy. I can tell you that my grandson and I have been working on a song together for my new career as a rapper. I think it will be better once he’s able to actually speak. Here’s a sample of what he’s come up with so far. (Cut him some slack, he’s still trying to control his drooling issue.)
Snow: a fear, an ice-cold fear,
Play: What kids in snow should do.
Lee: The guy who plows the snow.
Bah: And humbug with that too.
Throw: What kids with snowballs do.
Raw: When fingertips turn blue.
Me: Who takes a snowball to the parietal lobe and winds up with nothing about which to Spiew.
And that brings us back to snow.
Please don’t make me do that again.
Speaking of things that beg for silence, I’ve decided it’s time to take a step forward and choose to share a bit more of my inner core. You know, there comes a point in every relationship where one must remove the mask of misguided machismo and don the oft-tattered garment of terrifying truth. I believe I’m at that point. If you feel prepared to journey down this route of reality with me, read on. If you’re not quite ready for that kind of commitment, you know the drill — the classifieds are about 10 pages ahead.
I think it’s obvious that, with such eloquent skills of rhyme and alliteration, I really missed my true calling of becoming one of the greatest white rappers of all time. Seriously, what’s Eminem got on me?
A couple of cool initials? Big deal. I’ve already got my rap name down to either “Grandmaster P-Diddy” or “Big Y-T.”
(Think about it …)
I could travel the land rapping to various musicals. Not that I know any musicals.
Ok, maybe a few.
Right now, I need for you to close your eyes and concentrate really hard on that “I’m gonna give him an offer he can’t refuse,” scene in the Godfather. Got it? Marlon Brando, right? Now picture him singing and dancing his way through the streets of New York with Fred Astaire and a bevy of fancily dressed men. I know it’s tough, but try to stay with it until I finish making my point.
OK. I really had no point. I was just trying to find a way to make my geek-filled self sound cool.
It’s not like I really had much of a chance to be cool from the start. My mother was a piano prodigy by the age of 5, and my dad spent his high school days singing barbershop quartet all over town. And even though he so eloquently pointed out that I “couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket,” I forged on. Sure it was hard to ignore the pained expressions of elderly folks I so graciously serenaded with Christmas carols; And I hated ducking errant hymn books that would somehow find their way toward my head from the back of the sanctuary.
It’s not like my parents didn’t try. My mother attempted to teach me piano. She forced me to sit through hours and hours of “The Sound of Music,” wedging my eyelids open via a bevy of “Clockwork Orange” – style apparatus. She even tried buying me record albums covering everything from “Puccini” to Captain Kangaroo Classics.
Eventually, they just gave up and had another kid. I mean, if I couldn’t learn how to sing in 12 years, why not just write me off as tone deaf. Oh sure, they tried to pass my little sister off as “an unplanned surprise,” but I knew good and well they were looking for a new tenor.
I think Big Y-T sounds nice.
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