The muppets are babbling away. In addition to his standard greeting of, “Ai!,” Destroy has commenced growling. (Sounds odd – but I assure you, I am not alone in this experience.) Search continues to discover his voice, chattering, “bahbhabah,” repeatedly and (unfortunately for those within earshot) mimicking his brother’s shrieks.
Not only are the muppets conversing with us, they continue to share secret squirrel information with each other. I’m pretty sure they are plotting with the dogs too. (Search, the future e*Trade spokesbaby, is on a mission to ride the dog like a small pony in his never-ending quest to procure my iPhone.) Language skills are very important in our household.
Recently, the muppets have begun reading along with our bedtime stories. (Disclosure, this particular occurrence may also translate to, “Please stop yammering on in that language I do not understand and give me the book so I can chew on it.”) Nevertheless, all these vocal developments do a word-nerd mommy like me, proud.
Speech and language monitoring runs in our family. AuntJ is all about the black and white stimulating flashcards. (“Say LAAADY.”) The muppets received their first flipbook of alphabet flashcards for Christmas from GrandmaNancy. And GrammaJ spent decades as a speech and language pathologist. Even GrampaStavo mastered five languages before landing in the U.S.
Interestingly enough, GrampaStavo still sounds funny. Perhaps that’s why the muppets giggle at his jokes so earnestly.
Many years ago, long before any thought of muppets, my family was enjoying a long weekend away at my parents mountain cabin. Someone came up with the brilliant idea to wile away the time with a game of Balderdash. This is a game of bluffing. Pick a word out of the dictionary that you don’t believe anyone will know – everyone creates a definition and points are earned based on guesses for the actual definition.
From an educational standpoint, this isn’t a very effective learning tool as I can never remember any of the actual definitions – just the more memorable creations. (Shiralee: Sara Lee’s kid sister; Devalgate: the hangy-downy part of a deer.) This game is all the more entertaining when playing with GrampaStavo, who writes in precisely the same fashion that he speaks.
On this fateful evening, it came GrampaStavo’s turn to choose the obscure word. “Ok, ok! I got one. Here’s one you no one will know.”
“The word is…truegee. Spell T-R-U-D-G-E. Truegee.”
“That’s ‘trudge’ Gustavo,” deadpanned GrammaJ. “Walk slowly.”
He looked completely stunned. “You mean you know it? All you do?”
The room collapsed into hysterics. I thought AuntJ might actually pass out from hyperventilation. Uncle Paul sounded like a barking sea lion as he tried to coordinate his uncontrollable laughter and breathing at the same time. (Just ask the muppets, breathing as part of multitasking is not the easiest of feats.)
Happy Birthday GrampaStavo! We love you and you never fail to make us smile – at any age (us or you).
Now that Search has mastered crawling, he’s moving on to the challenge of standing. From there it won’t be long before he’s trudging along…