You boys will make fine young cavemen someday

I think there are studies suggesting little girls are generally more articulate than little boys. I can’t verify the existence of these studies because thoroughly researched facts have no place in this blog. If indeed such studies exist, I’m inclined to believe them. I don’t have any experience raising girls, but there are recurring instances when the average squirrel is more articulate than my boys. I’m guessing girls are, on balance, more articulate than squirrels. Ergo . . .

I think the preceding paragraph is a syllogism or something. It’s seems like pretty air-tight logic.

My boys may get some of their articulation resistance from their father. When I am particularly tired, I tend to grunt answers to questions. At a quarter to midnight, when I am struggling against all odds to procure some beauty sleep, and my wife rolls toward me to ask, “Do you want to have some pillow talk?” my response sounds something like, “Hrrrnn.” In my defense, “pillow talk” is not a euphemism for anything more exciting than a meandering conversation in the dark. “Hrrrnn” is a generally accepted abbreviation for, “No thank you, Dearest Love. As much as I treasure the sound of your voice, my endless days of being abused by employers and children demand sleep.”

A man's home is his cave.

A man’s home is his cave.

My boys are grunters from top to bottom. Big Brother’s language exemplifies the period when cave people first domesticated wolves. It consists of a combination of grunts and whines, all used to voice displeasure at parental authority:

PARENT: “Get ready for bed.”

BOY: “Hnnn, urrrl!”


PARENT: “It’s time to get up for school.”

BOY: “Urmpf, ouwnnn!”

I understand his need to develop a good grunt; it may shield him from unsolicited conversation after he gets married. On the other hand, he’ll likely remain a bachelor if he’s forever uncorking a bottle of whine.

Buster grunts in accusation. Ask him why he’s crying and he will grunt through his tears, pointing  a skinny finger at one of his brothers. This is not helpful; we already assumed there’s a brother at fault. To get useful information, we have to ask him where it hurts. If he points out a spot on his body, it indicates an actionable offense like punching or kicking. If he merely grunts again, we know somebody claimed a toy before he did, and that’s the kind of conflict they can grunt out on their own.

Caveboy need sticky. Urrr!

Caveboy need sticky. Urrr!

Big Man knows some words, but the ol’ grunt-n-point is this cavetoddler’s preferred language. There are many things he needs in his daily life, objects ranging from the dangerous to the sticky, and he will gladly grunt his desires as he points the way to necessary things. Some things are up high, where toddlers can’t reach. The more out-of-reach an object, the more urgently he needs it, and the higher-pitched his grunts become.

I think my boys and I do cavemen proud. Cavewomen might roll their eyes at us, but that just proves how little some people have evolved.


Einstein didn’t have to poop on the potty!

Buster is adept at many skills for a two-year-old. He holds a pencil like a pro and draws abstract art as if preparing for his gallery opening. He makes up his own songs to serenade his Mommy at bedtime. He knows his way around an iPad better than I do and makes that little guy leap over the stampeding bulls in his favorite game with dexterity to make my head spin.

Helping with the baby

Teaching Daddy how to manage those tricky snaps on the baby’s Onesie.

Yet there are some toddler skills that Buster is not ahead of the curve on. It would be one thing if he didn’t have the capacity to do certain things, but he does. It’s more of a defiance issue, although even that doesn’t truly capture the spirit of it. It’s defiance mixed with indifference.

Buster thinks he’s pretty smart. I don’t know if he styles himself a genius, but his affinity for playing jokes can only lead to the conclusion that he believes he’s pretty clever. And a clever boy shouldn’t be asked to learn things he sees little use for in the rest of his life.

Just as an older child might ask about the long-term utility of Algebra, I hear, in Buster’s spirited remonstrations, the philosophical query: “When will I ever use big boy underpants in real life?” Such garments hold no candle to the convenience of the diaper.

“Einstein didn’t have to poop on the potty!” He doesn’t know anything about Einstein, and he doesn’t say this literally, but I can see in his eyes the formation of an idealized, toddler image of genius. His aggravated eyes tell me that the child genius would never waste his time on something so trivial.

Theory of potty relativity

“Everything is relative, my dear. Poop wherever you like!”

“Galileo didn’t pronounce K, F, or S sounds!” I bet he did, though this is not really about Galileo. It’s about a toddler whose opinion of his own world view dismisses the need to do inconvenient things.

Pope Urban's bad boy

Galileo Galilei: also too clever for his own good. The inquisition was not amused by his jokes.

It’s easy to replace the unnecessary consonants in words with the ever useful D and T. Mommy and Daddy understand the words formed by these substitutions, and since they are the only people he will ever need ask for a bowl of Lipton Noodle Doup, there’s no point in wasting effort on the unnecessary.

Buster can make the S sound. I know, because I’ve hounded him into doing it. He just doesn’t see the need. It is, after all, marginally more difficult for his tongue than making the D sound, so why bother?

Because Daddy is a trouble maker. One day, daddy wouldn’t make him any doup until he made the S sound.

“If you want soup, say ssssssss,” Daddy demanded.

Buster held out as long as he could, but he really wanted that soup.

Finally, he relented. “Sssssss,” he said.

“Now, say sssssoup,” the heartless Daddy persisted.

Buster sighed. “Ssssss . . . doup.”

That was close enough. Buster got his soup. And the last laugh.

Clever boy.