On Raising Boys
I remember being taught during childhood how to use certain phrases at certain times for certain places. It must have been an instinctive way to learn the complicated language my parents spoke, as I seemed to have understood those meaningless phrases relating to normal body functions easily enough, and I took to them all with no objection. In the end I can recall completing each duty exactly as graphically illustrated. More often than not I did so, and in a proper mode too.
But it was not until later on that I began to question the wisdom of these two particular relatives of mine. Briefly, here is what happened: I got married, and then my new wife found babies for us to raise.
I never balked at that chore at all, but fell right in step with her and her growing collection. Even as an untrained father, I expected them to each get bigger in size, which they all did. The wife and I took turns feeding them along the way, so that news came as no real shock.
I had no problem imagining that they would soon learn to walk and climb and thereby knock over our valuables in the process. We voluntarily went shopping, purchasing straps and wheels and other strange devices to encourage these behaviors.
It was implicit, as society reminded us two newlyweds, that we should teach our creatures how to communicate well, so as soon as they made sounds, I got busy.
What a joy to hear first words uttered by one of your offspring. It is nothing short of a miracle and worthy of huge celebrations accompanied by lots of excitement. It causes some people to cry real tears, while others might strut about and brag for endless days. It is indeed remarkable. Yes, it is an emotional milestone and a most-wondrous event to witness.
How cute! It just said dada!
It makes a little fist and gurgles.
Oh, listen! Did you hear that? That one came out clear as a dinner bell! It said mama!
A sharp noise suddenly emits from its lower end.
Go get a camera, quickly! Write this down! Call your mother! Hooray! Invite every one of our neighbors!
I began to glow as each child learned to mouth the most common of words, and I beamed as each toyed with pronunciations. Ball became bah. A bottle became bah-bah. A pacifier soon became known to us grown-ups as a bip, and I got to become an ecstatic father as a result of these innocent changes. Yes, we adults quickly came to understand this twilight language as well as our modern English.
Each of our children soon began to babble completed sentences, and while outsiders might look on with blank expressions, the wife and I completely understood their meanings, and in the tiny child’s defense, I would proudly translate to the baffled tourists. Things went along fine until certain phrases at certain times for certain places became required. Then a radical thought approached me.
Should one not teach a child the proper words for bodily functions?
Friend, I was so horribly scarred for life by a form of verbal abuse from hearing embarrassing expressions like pooh-pooh and pee-pee and go grunt, as well as do number one and its low-life partner, do number two, that I presently have the shakes from even mentioning the silly euphemisms.
Well, I exaggerated slightly there, but only to make my point clear.
So without looking for any fame on my part, I decided to pioneer the usage of two particular words which I thought would serve my youngsters fine. I taught them how to say urinate and defecate.
Simple. Straightforward. Modern thinking at its best. Situation considered, addressed and resolved. Yessiree, Bob.
I had forgotten about our aged grandmother when I decided on this. The poor, poor woman. It was not her fault that she was raised with little education. It was not her fault that she had never traveled far from the place where she grew up. And it was certainly not her fault that her granddaughter and I produced a brood of excitable little boys, but it was so very kind of her to volunteer and baby-sit our trio while we two escaped to go see a movie one night.
We later learned of the conversation that took place between Big Mama and our three-year-old.
“I wanna defumcate.”
Big Mama stopped rocking her chair and looked at the boy.
“I wanna defumcate, Big Mama.”
She laid her knitting aside and slowly stood up. The elderly woman turned to walk a few slow steps into her kitchen where she paused to look around.
“Son, I don’t got any of those.”
She opened a cabinet door while the child whimpered.
“But I do have some homemade cookies.”
His lip began quivering as he demanded.
“No, I wanna defumcate!”
“How about a slice of some chocolate cake, honey?”
The child could contain his composure no longer, so he reverted to instinct.
“Big Mama, I wanna poop, and I mean bad!”
I stopped teaching any of my emissions classes soon afterwards.