Monday, June 23, 2014

He's Parroting

It's officially time to watch what I say.

The boy is repeating everything — and I mean everything — he hears. For someone who loves four-letter words as much as I do, this is not a welcome development. 

To my point, Mrs. Blackwell gleefully picked the boy up the other day, gave him a hug and he exclaimed, "He's so cute!" It's a safe assumption that the "he" in question was in fact the boy himself and that he was just repeating what he's heard. (The alternative is that the boy thinks he's good looking and is now referring to himself in the third person.)

His verbal skill is growing daily and his mother and I are forced to watch as baby babble gives way to intelligible speech. The consequences of this advancement run deep and serve as yet another sign that he's growing up. 

Much like installing baby gates once your kid starts crawling, this development will require adjustments on my end.  
Yeah, after further reflection he probably shouldn't be
watching this show at all.

First, the important priorities, television being foremost among them. It used to be that I could watch just about anything short of a Quentin Tarantino movie with the little guy sitting in my lap. If there was some off-color humor in an episode of "Family Guy" it was OK because the boy couldn't understand it. 

Now, even if he doesn't understand it, I'm not taking the chance that he one day decides to talk like Stewie Griffin and begin asking me "Where's my money, Man?!?" 

For that matter, it's really no longer a safe assumption that he doesn't understand. He already understands plenty of words. It's not a stretch to assume that he can work through a lack of vocabulary by interpreting tone, cadence and body language to extrapolate a loose understanding of what he's hearing and seeing. 

Now take that thought and extend it away from television into the real world and the possibilities are downright terrifying. All of a sudden Mrs. Blackwell and I have to get far more stealthy in our communications when discussing matters of which we'd rather the boy not know. 

The source of about one third of the millions of four-letter
words I've ever uttered. 
Sophisticated encryptors that we are, Mrs. Blackwell and I will likely opt to simply spell out our conversations, letter by letter. (This might not work for too long either as the boy is now spelling words too. Most of them have to do with food or zoo animals but deciphering other more scandalous words and conversations can't be far off.) 

Fortunately, I'm an extremely boring person and Mrs. Blackwell only slightly less so — the vast majority of our scintillating conversations pertain to "Mad Men" the rest of the time we're talking about grocery lists and desparately-needed household projects I haven't begun. 

Naturally, this development wasn't totally unforseen. I figured the boy would one day begin talking and have been preparing by slowly working the vulgarities out of my everyday vocabulary. It's a worthwhile endeavor whether you've got a kid or not. But, as anyone who's watched a Maple Leafs hockey game with me can attest, very much a work in progress. 

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