Do you ever wonder how people who talk incessantly do it? How it is they can continually be chatting about the most inane, pointless things, until their voice fades into background noise or you snap and crush their skulls with your bare hands? How they can be so unaware of that I'm shoving an ice-pick into my ear to make the noise stop?
I wonder this often, for I seem to have sired one of those people.
Cheeky, god love her, is getting funnier every day. Her nuggets of wisdom and insight are a constant source of amusement. But they come at a cost. A cost of persistence and repetition.
It would not be uncommon for the following sentence to come out of her mouth:
That's the blue piece that's the blue piece that's the blue piece it goes there like a puzzle thank you daddy for giving me the blue piece it goes there like a puzzle thank you daddy it's so beautiful it's so beautiful it's so beautiful that's the blue piece it goes there like a puzzle I'll show mommy I'll show mommy look mommy it's so beautiful that's the blue piece
Acknowledging or interrupting her only serves to change--not end--the conversation. This morning, as I tried to end the above jumbo run-on sentence with, "I think breakfast is ready" I got the following
...the blue piece oh boy beakfast I love beakfast I love beakfast we're having eggys we're having eggys I love eggys I love eggys I love eggys mommy and daddy are having beakfast with me we're having beakfast together we're having beakfast together mommy and daddy and me mommy and daddy and me we're having eggys I love eggys thank you mommy for making eggys I love eggys where's my water
It's as if a wind-up toy with a perpetual motion device in it's jaw was using Cheeky's body as a vessel, because if you knew me and Oodgie you'd know we only open our mouths for yawns and sarcasm.
I've been wrestling with how this came to be for a few weeks, but it wasn't until I started trying to pick apart and transcribe Cheeky's dialog that it hit me. And once it's written down it's quite obvious.
I'm a terrible parent. I've spent so much time teaching her to talk and spell that I forgot how to teach her how to end a sentence! She has no punctuation!
Either that or Oodgie had an affair with José Saramago. Baby, you'd better fess up if there's something you need to tell me...
So now what? They Might Be Giants don't have a DVD for "Here Come the ;, ?, !"
But I've hit upon a solution. We're obviously going to have to teach her all her punctuation at some point, but we might be driven to the brink if we can't make some progress fast. So instead of starting off with the traditional commas and periods, I'm trying something radical.
I'm starting with parentheses.
If she says everything non-essential in parentheses, then we won't actually hear it.
As long as she doesn't say things like (daddy I hid your iPod in my crib) or (daddy I'm about to crap in your hand) I'm golden.