I mentioned earlier that The Girl communicates her wishes clearly and concisely. You just have to know the rules. There are three forms of speech that she uses:
Most common are the two to five word sentences she uses to convey what she wants, or what she feels. “Sore tummy, sore feet, broken leg…” Or you can have a conversation by asking simple questions. Although, you have to know where you’re going with it. Take this morning. This was how our conversation ran:
Me: “Do you know who’s coming for dinner tonight?”
Smiling and nodding encouragement. “Plunk…?” Still nodding, still smiling.
The Girl’s expression is deadpan. It’s not Christmas. What’s to be excited about? “..kle.”
“That’s right. Uncle Plunkle is coming.” (That’s my brother, by the way) “And do you know what we’re having for dinner?” I point to thawing mince.
“No. Christmas isn’t here yet. What are we going to eat?” Pointing to the mince again.
“Damn. Why did I start this?”
“I think we’ll clean up here, shall we?”
Then, there’s the second category of communication. This is where she repeats statements that she’s heard. It can be interesting. You find out a lot of what happens when you’re not around. Like when she used to come home from school with sentences like, “Stop spitting, Tony,” and “Stevie, stop throwing chairs.” I made a mental note to up my donation to the school that year. These learned sentences can be anywhere between two and five words long, and note, I call them learned sentences and not learned responses. Because this girl does not ad lib. Her words come out exactly – and I mean exactly, the way she heard them. And most have been learned from reliable and reputable resources. Like episodes of the Smurfs. Or Finding Nemo. So when I’m pushing her through the local mall in her wheelchair at approximately Mach 2, with her shrieking, “Help! Help! It’s a giant,” that’s when I know it’s time to change the DVD in her room.
The third category is where you really need to understand the rules – the question-styled statements. For example, if she comes to me and says, “Are you tired?” I know she’s tired and wants to go to bed. If she comes to me and says, “Where’s your crayons?” I know that either they’ve rolled under the bed, or she’s eaten them in record time again and she expects me to buy more. Pfft! People who don’t understand these rules find conversations with her short and frequently confusing, and both parties are left feeling somewhat short-changed.
And although I normally encourage all forms of communication, this category has been known to backfire. Like what happens when you’re sitting in a crowded doctor’s waiting room and the girl has an onset of loud and explosive gas. It reverberates around the entire room causing eyes in the room to shift furtively our way, followed by a few giggles. And it’s at this point that The Girl looks up at me and, in smooth, unfaltering words, says, “Was that you?”
Let me just say that no matter what you say, no matter how hard you try to explain, you’re doomed. You’re better just to sit there quietly, keep your eyes on your magazine and wait for the moment to pass. It always does.