It’s only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away.
I used to pride myself on my… on my… on my… you know… my… collection of words… the ones I use.. when I… you know speak.
I’ve just Googled it.
I used to pride myself on my vocabulary.
Seriously I did.
It’s a bit of a stupid thing to pride yourself on, but to be honest it’s no worse than finding pleasure in the size of your My Little Pony collection or the spoiler on the back of your XR3i – I know full-grown adults who exemplify both of these… ‘things’.
But today, here I am, struggling to remember even the simplest of words. I mean, really simple, common, every-day, bits of communication have completely dropped out of my head.
The other day I couldn’t remember the word for ‘train’, which is a little tricky when your son is obsessed with any and everything remotely locomotive.
“Look it’s a…” I said.
The sentence hung in the air, awkwardly; like bunting held up by unreliable Blu-Tack.
I tried again.
“Look it’s a… rail-bound multiple-person movement method.”
I kid you not.
“Look daddy! A train!”
“That’s what I said, a train!”
This hasn’t been a one-off event. Far from it. The problem has reached such significant proportions that ‘Thingy’, ‘Whatsit’ & ‘Doodah’ have all entered my (increasingly limited) vocabulary on a worryingly frequent basis. These words, that all sound like they’re leftover character names from unsuccessful 1970’s children’s animation, are used as placeholders when a word just can’t be found.
“Pass that Doodah!”
“I can’t come now I’m sitting on the ‘Thingy’!”
“My phone went off, just as I was eating a bag of ‘Whatsit’s!”*
*They were Cheese and Onion crisps – the spelling of the cheesy snack is subtly different.
So, what’s causing this linguistic malfunction? It’s a good question, certainly one I wouldn’t be able to string together during 90% of my day-to-day life.
Personally, I put it down to lack of sleep.
Or, perhaps lack of GOOD sleep.
As the parent of a toddler, you sleep, but never fully. You’re always in that half-sleeping state where you’ve got one ear open, just in case you need to respond to murmurings, coughs and cries from the next room. As such, you’re constantly knackered and it’s affecting my speech.
The funny (probably not the best word) thing is, it’s having an impact on my son’s speech too. At almost 2 and a half, he’s learning like a… a… like something that learns pretty quickly.
“What’s that daddy? What’s that noise? Who’s that?”
You get the picture.
The thing is, if your brain isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders (as mine often isn’t) it’s often difficult to respond at the pace these machine-gun like questions are posed. This, unintentionally, has led to the little fella thinking that ‘Doodah’, ‘Thingy’ and all are the proper names of certain items.
“Look, daddy, I’ve got the Doodah!” he said to me, the other day, TV remote control in hand.
I’ve got the feeling that when he finally gets to school, a lot of what my son spends his time doing will be unlearning the nonsense his tired daddy has mistakenly taught him.
Must go, time to think about some sleep.
Previously Published on The Out of Depth Dad
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