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Thursday, March 31, 2016

IT'S WONDERFUL WHEN CHILDREN LEARN TO TALK, BUT HOW DO YOU GET THEM TO SHUT UP?



This was Nameless' avatar on Facebook until a while ago:



(A little bit of this is from older posts--most of it is new.)

Thank you, Blogger, for giving me this opportunity to brag tell you about my daughter, Nameless.  I can do that without fear of criticism since this is my post.

She was my parents’ first grandchild.  We called them around 1:00am when I went into labor & they met us at the hospital along with Bud’s folks.  She was born at 4:10am & I guess everyone was pretty tired, excited & punchy by that time.  My obstetrician, Dr. Weinberg, was a very large, stern-looking (but funny) man who spoke with a thick German accent.  He came into the waiting room & announced that I had had a beautiful baby girl.  My mom excitedly asked him who the baby looked like.  He thought for a minute, said, “She looks like ME!” & turned & left the room. 

Nameless almost had her own career in show biz, like her mother.  She was a month or two old when she was selected to portray a baby (I know--type casting) in “Bonanza” but she was too young to be covered by their insurance.  In the 1935 movie “Carnival” I was the adorable baby that Lucille Ball (in the uncredited role of a nurse) held in her arms while everybody went “AAWWW!”  That was my entire career.  I believe Lucille Ball went further.

First, I should tell you what (I believe) made Nameless the genius that she is today.  When she was a few months old, I accidentally dropped her on her head.  (TRUE!!)  I believe this shook her brains into proper alignment.  She is at MENSA level as an adult & do you know, she hasn’t thanked me to this day!!

Although Nameless was close to a year old, she hadn't started walking yet.  One day I was babysitting my friend's daughter who is 10 days older than her.  Alison was walking & Nameless was sitting for a long time just watching her.  I guess she finally analyzed the art of walking because she got up & walked over to me.  

She began talking very early--& hasn’t stopped yet.  When she was 13 months old, my husband took her to a family Thanksgiving dinner while I stayed home sick in bed.  I was watching a TV show about children learning to talk & I started making a list of all the words Nameless knew. (Google says that an 18 month old knows 20-50 words.)  I got to 100 when I realized I could probably double that.  True, she couldn’t pronounce all of them correctly--chicken noodle soup was “hickey noonoo hoop”--but she was quite verbal.

Words were like toys to her--she loved them.  We had this routine--I would ask her these questions & she’d answer.  When she was 2, we went to the pediatrician & did our routine for the nurse:  “What do you call a doctor who takes care of children?”  “Pediatrician.”  “Who’s the doctor that takes care of animals?”  “Veterinarian.”  “Who’s the scientist who knows all about fish?”  “Ichthyologist.”  When the doctor came in, the nurse asked Nameless the questions so he could hear her answers.  He grabbed her up & ran out of the room.  When he returned I asked him where he had taken her--& why.  He told me that his friend--another pediatrician--was waiting in his office to go to lunch with him.  He took Nameless through her routine & then said to the other doctor, “See what my patients can do!!”

A story about her toilet training days is next.  (She is 56 now & completely trained.  This incident happened a while back.)  I tried very hard to stop swearing when she started to talk & was reasonably successful.  Unfortunately, I cut my finger badly while I was preparing dinner.  I reflexively said, “Shit!”  I guess she heard me.  She then went to use the potty by herself.  She tried to urinate standing up.  After all, if her daddy could do it, why couldn’t she?  Then she found out why.  Her little legs were all wet.  She said “Shit!” just as her daddy was getting home from work & walking by the open bathroom door.  He told her that we don’t talk that way in our house.  She said, “Mommy does!”

She was about 3 1/2 when she insisted I teach her to read.  I had no idea how to do that & besides, I had two younger children & very little extra time so we called UCLA & hired a student to tutor her.  She loved it & caught on very quickly.  She became a voracious reader.

In the olden days, when parents felt safe in letting their very young children walk to school & back alone, my parents were babysitting our 7 or 8 year old daughter while we were on a trip.  They became quite worried when one day she was over a half hour late in getting home from school.  When she finally got home, they asked her why she was so late.  Our daughter always had a very logical brain.  She told them she had taken a “long” cut.


No subject was ever off limits at our dinner table.  Once Nameless asked what a homosexual was.  We weren’t sure how to explain this to an 8 year old.  We told her that while most men love women, there were some men who loved other men.  We said this was the way God made them & it was fine.  We asked her if she understood & she said, “Yeah—you mean like a lesbian, only a man!”

Nameless was probably in the 3rd grade when California schools went from mid-year to full year classes.  Children caught in the middle, like Nameless, either had to skip 6 months or be put back for the same period of time.  We decided to let her skip when she told us that if she were bored she wouldn't be able to learn properly.  (Side note:  Even Nameless thought it was funny when one of her teachers wrote on her report card, "Nameless has been a wonderful chalenge to teach this year.")

Her adult years: Nameless was living in Italy with her cousin Tracy after she graduated college. She got a job teaching English to Italian airline pilots.  I told her the most important thing for them to learn was the difference between "up" & "down"!!  During this time they both became vegetarians--sort of.  They still ate fish.  Neither one of them was willing to give up anchovies on their pizza!!  

Two more pediatrician stories: 

When our pediatrician was checking our second child, right after his birth, he was looking at his fingers & toes & I heard him counting softly--1,2,3,4,5--1,2,3,4,5, etc.  I asked him why he was doing that.  He said that a few months before he was checking another newborn & counted 1,2,3,4,5--1,2,3,4,5--1,2,3,4,5--1,2,3,4,5,6!  He counted again; no mistake.  The child had 6 toes on his left foot.  He hesitantly told the mother, who laughed & said, “Isn’t that cute--just like his daddy!”

I took my kids to the pediatrician for a checkup.  (Where else was I going to take them--a singles bar?)  The nurse was laughing & I asked her what was so funny.  She said she had just been talking to another patient--a 5 year old boy who had recently gotten over chicken pox.  She had asked him how he had caught it.  He told her, “I dunno. I musta got hold of a bad chicken!”













If there's reincarnation, next time I want to come back as the mommy!!----fishducky