Thursday, October 18, 2012

I’ve seen my future, and it talks a lot.

Quinn’s vocabulary is astounding. At his eighteen month check-up, Dr. L said Q’s language ability exceeds that of most two year olds she sees.

I beamed with pride. Q comes by these skills honestly, as Hubs and I both hail from long lines of expressive people.

But there’s something I need to remember: not everybody likes a talkative child. Sometimes talkative children can get really annoying after a little while, especially when they’re not your own… or maybe sometimes even when they are your own.

Let me tell you a story.

A few weeks ago, Q and I were at the park when we met Emmett, a precocious little boy who knew exactly how to get the attention he craved. When Emmett first started talking to me, I found him to be adorable and sweet. I marveled at how much older he seemed, and he captivated me with his charm. (Just say it. Sucker!)

Once he knew he had lured me in, the pace and persistence of Emmett’s chatter instantly increased. What started out as a couple of short statements here and there quickly turned into a barrage of Emmett’s stream of consciousness. He held me hostage by vocalizing every single thought that entered his brain.

Our conversation – and my inner commentary – went something like this:

EMMETT: My name is Emmett and this is my sister, Grace. What’s your name?

ME: Hello, Emmett. I’m Melissa, and this is my son Quinn. (What a sweet little boy!)

EMMETT: I’m four years old. I just had a birthday. I had a Diego birthday party.

ME: Happy birthday, Emmett! That must have been a fun party. (This kid’s only four?! Wow, he’s really advanced.)

EMMETT: I’m really tall for my age. My dad is really tall, and my mom is really tall, that’s why I’m really tall. I’m so big, I have to wear whale shoes.

ME: Whale shoes, huh? Those must be really big shoes. (Haha! What a cutie. I want to take him home with me.)

EMMETT: I like coming to the park. I come here every day with my sister.

ME: That’s really nice, Emmett. (Uh oh, Quinn’s on the move. Better follow him.)

Emmett sees my attempt to pay attention to a child other than him, so he physical inserts himself between Quinn and me, and I almost trip over him.

EMMETT: My sister is learning to pee on the potty. But I already know how to pee on the potty because I’m bigger.

ME: Yes, you are. (You’re cute kid, but I really need to pay attention to the baby.)

I do a fake-left-go-right maneuver to get around Emmett just in time to save Q from taking a head dive off the top of the slide.

EMMETT: Power Rangers use swords to fight bad guys. I fight bad guys with swords, too.

ME:  Yep. (Okay, that’s enough Emmett. We’re done now.)

EMMETT: When I get bigger, I’m going to drive a really big truck like my uncle.

ME: Yep, trucks are pretty cool. (For the love of all that is holy, please stop talking!)

EMMETT: Did you know that it’s really hard to cut wood? You have to have a really sharp saw to cut wood. Yeah, if you want to cut wood, you need a sharp saw.

ME: Yep, you’re right about that Emmett. (If I had a sharp saw right now, I would cut off my own arm just to ease the pain of your voice!)

QUINN: Momma, high. Momma, high. (Q points to the bucket swings, telling me he wants to go high.)

Quinn and I walk over to the swings. Emmett follows. I turn my back to Emmett and try to place Q into the swing. Emmett tugs on my arm and continues to talk, making it very difficult for me to lift Q.

EMMETT: I’m might be getting a dog.

ME: That’s really nice, Emmett, but please don’t pull on my arm, okay? (And stop talking or I’m going to ram a piece of tanbark into my eye!)

EMMETT: I can go high, too. Wanna see how high I can jump? (He jumps into the air several times.)

EMMETT: Did you see that?

ME: Yes, that was very high. (Where the hell is your mother? Is that her on the cell phone? Maybe I should ram this tanbark into HER eye!)


That’s Quinn’s way of asking me to sing “Wheels on the Bus.” I oblige and begin to sing as I push him higher in the air. At this point, Emmett desperately launches into a monologue so long and fast that I can’t keep up with him. No pauses, no punctuation, no taking a breath – just lots and lots of words.

EMMETT:  Sometimes-when-Chris-comes-over-we-eat-cookies-my-bedtime-is-eightoclock-but-sometimes-I-stay-up-later-did-you-know-that-I-rode-a-train-once-Chris-has-a-really-awesome-truck-but-I-got-an-even-better-truck-for-my-birthday-my-dad-might-let-me-get-a-dog-did-you-know-that-I-already-know-how-to-ride-a-skateboard?*

He pauses briefly while I stare at him in horrified silence.

EMMETT:  Antonio always wears Hawaiian shirts.

Then my brain explodes.

*Or something long and rambling like that.