M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Tuesday, November 11, 2003  

I Don’t Like It

My niece Deniece, two years old minus two months and two weeks, has her first complete sentence.

I’m not counting the phrase she picked up from her grandma, with whom she stays a few days a week and who has two excitable dogs. “NO BARK!” is not a complete sentence, no matter how loudly she screams it.

It’s not a sentence her parents are particularly thrilled about either. No, it’s not what you’re thinking. She’s not cursing or anything. That might even be less distressing, because at least then they’d know where it came from and would be able to limit the time I spend with her accordingly. No, Deniece’s first complete sentence, whose origins are completely shrouded in mystery, was this:

“I don’ liiiiike it.”

As far as I know, it remains her only complete sentence. There’s no reason why it wouldn’t. What other sentences does one need? It’s applicable to every situation that a simple nod or grunt can’t cover. I’ve known adults who get by on this one sentence alone.

Of course, it drives her mother nuts. “Where did you learn that? Why must you keep saying it? Who are you? What happened to my happy, easygoing child, and who replaced her with this whiny princess?”

This is something she pickled up pretty recently. I hadn’t seen her since before I started my new job in August, so when she came up a couple of weeks ago she was all excited for me to carry her around my father-in-law’s house so she could point at things and show off all the new words she’s learned. The Halloween decorations facilitated the process quite nicely.

To a witch decoration: “Wish!”

To a ghost decoration: “Ghoss!”

To the hundreds of vaguely spherical orange blobs represented throughout the house: “Puckin!”

To a particularly scary witch decoration: “I don’ liiiiike it.”

My response: “Who are you?”

Later, when Trash brought her upstairs to put her down for a nap in the spare bedroom, Deniece asked for me. Trash came down and fetched me. When she saw me, she asked for “Trash too!” Apparently it wasn’t quite naptime. Furthermore, the fact that she can now say Trash’s name correctly may have inspired the latter to cut her a little more slack.

When Deniece hit the wall of fatigue a little later and started crying over things like standing there and suddenly deciding she was facing the wrong direction, we tried again. “Just put her down and walk out of the room,” Trash’s stepmother suggested. I carried Deniece upstairs and put her down. “Trash too,” she lamented.

“That word, ‘too.’ I do not think it means what you think it means,” I told her, and left her to her nap. She didn’t liiiiike that. When she gets old enough to watch The Princess Bride, she’s going to remember that and she’s going to laugh and laugh. That afternoon, however, she simply to lay in the bedroom by herself and wailed “Trash tooo!” over and over, handily proving my previous observation. We left after she fell asleep, and she probably spent the next several days taking a hard look at her debating skills.

A couple of weeks later, she and her parents were back here in Minneapolis. We celebrated her dad’s birthday at Kieran’s in downtown Minneapolis. She kept wanting to go to the windows and look at the “Cassles.” Fortunately we were in the back room, so nobody had to deal with what would have been her rather discomfiting fascination with the “gentlemen’s club” across the street from the front room. Which of course has a more castle-like façade than any of the buildings she could see from the back. We’re hoping she’ll still consider office buildings castles if she grows up to work in one. On the other hand, a career in that other kind of castle is likely to be discouraged.

Today’s best search phrase: “Haw to steal a car.” I’d be upset about people trying to use my site to facilitate a life of crime if I weren’t so amused by the image of somebody trying to boost a set of wheels by walking up to it and laughing like a hillbilly.

posted by M. Giant 2:30 PM 0 comments


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