Thursday, April 21, 2005

What the HELL is that?

The tiny, skinny towheaded boy sat on the floor in a pool of sunlight, totally absorbed in play. In front of him, a favorite toy, a knitted jute octopus about the size of a grapefruit. Off to the side, a giant pile of green plastic army men.

One by one, the chubby fingers pick up a Joe and set it in front of the octopus, like a supplicant. And then the singsong chant..."What the HELL is that?"

And one by one, the entire pile of Joes pays homage to the octopus, each with the same refrain, "What the HELL is that?"

And mom, barely able to contain her amusement, comes a little closer to absolutely losing it with each repetition, finally having to run into the backyard to indulge in a fit of snorting laughter.

Much later that day, Gavin and I had a discussion about Barbarian Words and why we don't use them...but I wouldn't have missed that performance for anything.

Happy birthday, Gavin! 16 today and still marching to the beat of a different drummer...which in your case probably includes steel drums and marimbas.

9 comments:

Keeefer said...

lol. A good memory to have Jodie.

Happy Birthday Gavin....not that you'll care you're sixteen and probably think blogs are lame

Jodie said...

Keef, it STILL makes me laugh. He thinks this whole blog thing is kind of cool -- if he ever gets time off from his video games, he's thinking about posting his conspiracy theories.

Keeefer said...

ahhhh, a gamer. Conspiracy theories huh. Sounds cool.

Jay said...

Aw, 16. Not sure if I would want to be 16 again.
But happy birthday, Gavin.

Does he still get a kick out of octopuses?

Gone Away said...

Beautiful piece, Jodie. I saw you maintain somewhere that you can't express yourself. All I have to say in answer to that is, "Nonsense!" :D

But the lad's game is quite clear. He was looking for the GI who was not amazed by the octopus, with the intention of promoting him to sergeant...

Happy birthday Gavin!

Ned said...

Jodie, this is really cute and touching. As a mom, I can relate. My 5 yr old often amuses, embarrasses and shocks me with his interesting use of language. He always blamed another little boy at preschool for his colorful phrases and I wasn't sure I believed him, until I noticed that once that child stopped coming to that facility, most of the really interesting words stopped as well. Now, I just have to get him to stop calling everyone a "fat chicken".

And Happy Birthday Gavin! :)

Jodie said...

You know, Ned, I had good luck with the Barbarian Words approach -- basically, you tell your kid that words have power... barbarians really don't know that so they just use any old word. But WE don't because we're not barbarians and we choose our words wisely. Surprisingly enough, neither kid ever used "bad" words after that, no matter what they heard...although, I kind of like "fat chicken". And I overheard my daughter telling another kid to watch her words so she wouldn't turn out to be a barbarian.

Gavin had a great birthday -- 3 new games, the Space Ghost Coast-to-Coast DVD and a Darth Tater (this is Mr Potato Head with Darth Vader's accoutrements).

And yes, Jay, he not only likes octopi (he did a paper on them recently for biology) but that jute octopus is still his favorite. :D

Harry said...

Well, happy birthday to you, Gavin. (drums fingers on desk)

So. Are you getting enough oxygen?

Jodie said...

BTW Gone, maybe you hit the nail on the head there...