Listening Skills


Sometimes I think Doodle’s crazy.  He says things, I try to decifer what the eff he’s talking about, and my best guess sounds like even more gibberish than the slew of sounds that just came out of his mouth.  I write it off as a random thought of his or I just giggle at his apparent attempts to be funny.

Then, sometimes, when I actually take the time to figure it out, my son actually knows what the eff he’s talking about.

Take tonight, for instance.  We start to walk into Taco Bell for a nice family dinner.  As we’re walking toward the door, I point up at the sign and ask Doodle what letters he sees.  He quickly points up and moves his finger toward each letter, “T-A-C-O B-E-L-L.”  I tell him how smart he is and we walk in.  Then he asks me what a bunch of words are on the menus and other various forms of print.

He makes no real note of the “taco” or the “bell” parts.  He’s just super stoked for a “breeto” and he’s totally digging all of the words he’s seeing.  Awesome.  We’ll enjoy our dinner and he’s had a nice educational moment.  We get our food and find a good table.

Then, like some crazy person, he points over toward the door, starts waving his finger back and forth, and says “gon-gon-gon!”  I have no idea what that word would possibly mean, it’s not in my Doodle-English pocket dictionary, so I start to study his hand motion.

We were just reading words on the menu, maybe he’s moving his finger as though he’s reading a few words together and, you know, just making random sounds mimicking us reading something out loud.  I look towards what he’s pointing at, and there’s not really any obvious sets of words directly toward the door, no random advertisements or anything.  Nevermind that, I’m still pretty befuddled.  Soon he gets distracted by dinner, though, so I forget about what he was talking about and we continue with our meal.

A little while later, the crazy boy comes back out, and he points at the window right in front of him.  Same hand motion, same “gon-gon-gon!”  There are some words on the window this time, one of those giant decals advertising volcano tacos or whatever the new big thing is.  Granted, it’s backwards from our perspective, but letters still look like letters even when they’re backwards.  I consider my hypothesis proven, we talk about the words on the window, and we get back to eating.

So, as we’re eating, I’ve got my cheesy gordita crunch chillin’ in one of  my Mexican pizza boxes (I told you guys I eat a lot!) and as I set it down to take a drink, Doodle points at the wrapper sticking up from in the box.  Hand motion, gon-gon-gon.  But there’s not exactly words written on the part he’s looking at – just the Taco Bell logo.  I’m very confused again.   If he was talking about the words, he’d just spell out the letters or he’d say “Taco Bell.”  He knows that restaurant.  We don’t go out to that eat often, but we do go out to eat often enough for him to know what Taco Bell looks like.

I’m confused again, my hypothesis has failed me, my Doodle-English dictionary has failed me, and we have no idea what our son is saying to us!  I ask him, “Doodle, what in the world are you talking about?  What is ‘gon-gon-gon’?”

Then, as though he’s talking to very dim people, he says “Wook!” and forcibly points back toward the window, gives a more exagerated back and forth hand motion, and says very slowly, very loudly, “GON, GON, GONG!”

Did you catch that, you guys?  “GONG


Gong, gong, gong!

Yeah, he was talking about ringing the effing bell the ENTIRE effing time!  I had no idea he knew that bells could be rung by making a back and forth motion, no idea that he knew that “gong” was a sound that bells made, no idea that he really understood what the eff the “Bell” part of Taco Bell meant or that the picture above the words was even an effing bell!  We don’t learn about bells in this house!  We learn about letters and words!  We learn about numbers and colors!  We learn that certain things Mommy and Daddy say are non-negotiables!  We learn that when we don’t pick up our toys, the dog will likely eat them!  We do not learn about bells!*

But if Mommy could just get it through her thick skull that Doodle doesn’t just learn from Mommy and Daddy – that he’s actually paying attention to everything around him constantly – then maybe Mommy would start to understand that sometimes Doodle will know things that Mommy and Daddy didn’t specifically teach him.

So there it is, he was pointing toward the door because outside above the door is the logo for Taco Bell and there’s a giant bell up there that can be gonged.  He was pointing at the window because outside there’s a giant neon Taco Bell sign on the side of the road right past the window directly in front of Doodle.  He was pointing at my gordita wrapper because there were a bunch of little bells all over it.  He actually knew exactly what he was talking about the entire time.

Yeah, I’ve really got to work on my listening skills!

*Just to clarify, we are not an anti-bell household – I’m not even sure what that would actually mean.  We just don’t have any bells scattered around, and it hasn’t really been one of those major discussion points.  Who really talks to their spouse, “You know honey, we should really start introducing little Timmy to bells.  We’re in a very crucial bell-learning window with him right now.”  I’m sure there are tons of other little mundane things that parents don’t specifically think of to expose their young children to, you know?  🙂


11 responses »

  1. My mom and I were just having a similar discussion after Stella schooled her in the difference between octagons, hexagons, and pentagons. This was after explaining what a trapezoid was. Man, I wish like hell my brain was still that absorbent and malleable!!!

  2. Episode VI woke up from a nap the other day and kept saying over and over and over again “Cha cha! Cha cha!” He was fixated. He crawled everywhere through the house, as if he was looking for someone “Cha cha! Cha cha!”

    “What do you want buddy?” I said to him. It felt a little bit like talking to Lassie. (Billy’s fallen down a well? Take me to him!)

    After 15 minutes of this he crawled into his big sister’s room saying “Cha cha! Cha cha!”. There, asleep on big sister’s bed, was our cat… named Sasha.

    Episode VI pulled himself up on big sister’s bed and whith a huge smile on his face pointed to the cat. “Cha cha” he said pointing.

    His first words.


    (Man. I should have saved that story for my own blog post.)

    • You can still have it! And I’ll still even read it again! 🙂 What a sweet first word. How proud he must’ve been when he could actually show you what he was talking about.

      And I absolutely know the feeling of talking to Lassie. 🙂

      • I’ll have my lawyers (Karli Davis) investigate the propriatary implications of adapting a comment from your blog into a full-length feature post on mine. My people will call your people.

  3. As much as I’m loving this baby stage (minus the no sleep…neverrrr any sleep aspect to it), I’m so looking forward to all the little words and crazy words you didn’t realize they knew…
    Love the story, very cute!

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