High Five

The Kaiser is talking. Full-out, non-stop, unrelenting blather. All the time. He talks to me, at me, alone, to strangers, to spoons, to his crib. He simply must speak. The kid wakes without fail, at six-forty-nine . And so begins another day of language acquisition.

He wakes me forcefully. Loudly. Working his lungs, working his new mastery of vowel-consonant combinations. It starts softly, yet insistent, “Mama.” Two seconds later, I stumble into the bathroom and hastily insert my contacts.

“Maaaaa-MA!” He screams, and I skip brushing my teeth to half-jog down the hallway.

The little angel, I swear, channels Smokey (Rent “Friday,” laugh uproariously, then return to blog) banging on his mother’s door because he has a turtle head pokin’ out. “Ma. MAAAAH.” It’s a lovely way to start the day.

It. Doesn’t. Stop. Ever. Now I admit this freely; the Kaiser’s father and I encouraged such vocalization. We still do. “Baby talk” was and remains non-existent in this home. We’ve always been eager to encourage vocabulary, er, building.

And truly —how wonderful that when the Kaiser poops, he tells me. “Poo-Poo,” he says as he grabs his crotch with one hand, a diaper with the other. “Bilk,” and I pour him a tall sippy of the white stuff. It’s nice. It’s convenient and less frustrating and really…It’s precious. The first time those coveted words, “Lubs Yuuuu, Mama” came from that angelic mouth—oh dahlins’, my soul exploded into a million gleeful Skittles.

What I wasn’t quite prepared for was the extraordinary exhibition of OCD that results when one mixes toddlerhood and the English language.

“Moon,” he whispers and points skyward.

Jed and I sip our beers and smile, looking with our child at the vast twilight sky. “Yes, sweets, there’s the moon.”

“Moon,” he repeats.

More sips and smiles. “Indeed. That is. Look how big the moon is. Wow.”


“Uh huh.”

“Mama. Daddy. Moon.”

Jed picks Kaiser up, “The moon comes up when the sun goes to bed.”

“Mama. Moon”

“Yes, baby. It’s wondrous (ok, I probably didn’t say that).”


We nod again and I glance to Jed, mouthing, “What the fuck?”


We turn back to Kaiser, “Moon. Yes. Time to go inside, lovey.”

“Moooon,” he screams and points as we drag him through the back door.

My friends, it doesn’t end. Moon. Moon. Moon. Without a hint of exaggeration, the child repeated this one-syllable for the next three days. Now he did speak other words, many and often. But if ever there happened a lag in conversation…his baby brain kicked in and – “Moon.” Sometimes I’d drown it out, for God knows how long, then hear it again as I checked back into reality. How long, I’d wonder guiltily, has he been at it?

And when I thought it was over, that this bizarre developmental whatever of toddlerhood had finally ceased….

“High five. Mama.”

“High five. Moon.”

“High five. Wee-wee.”

“High five. Truck.”

“High five. Cracker.”

High five to you, Kaiser.


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