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  • Eat Taters Hot

    April 11, 2007

    Last week we had a lot of rain here in north Texas. A lot. Rain is pretty much always needed and wanted here, at least by grownups.

    Sean, on the other hand, was missing the sun. He stood at the door to the backyard asking, “Where did the sun go? Is it ever going to come back?”

    I decided it was an excellent opportunity to teach a lesson in Earth sciences, so I grabbed a piece of paper and a pencil and called him over to my desk. I pulled him up into my lap and started drawing.

    I drew a picture of our house. In the sky I drew rain clouds and rain pelting The House of Antique. Then above the dark clouds, I drew the sun shining happily. I explained to him that the sun was still there shining as it always has since forever, but that the rain clouds were in the way. I told him that when the wind pushed the clouds away, then we would see the sun again.

    He seemed satisfied by that answer, but then he asked me where the moon was. That was a little more complicated, so I drew a picture of the earth with the sun on one side and the moon on the other. I explained to him how when it was daytime here and we were playing or eating lunch, it was night on the other side of the world where everyone was sleeping.

    He pointed to the top of the earth and announced jubilantly, “Dat’s the North Pole! Polar bears and penguins and Santa wiv dare!” He was so proud of his display of knowledge.

    Then he pointed to the center part of globe I had drawn and just as a foreigner searches for a word, he haltingly said, “Eat taters…hot…wizards whiz…dare.” And then he looked at me pleadingly and waved his hand over the drawing as though that would help it all make sense.

    I looked at him and he looked back at me, each waiting for the other say, “Aha! I see!”

    So finally I said, “Whuut?”

    So he repeated it, only louder this time so that understanding might penetrate my blonde hair, hair that no only looks like a helmet, but also acts like one too, protecting my brain from all incoming useful information. All I could do was stare blankly at him while visions of eating taters hot and/or hot wizards whizzing danced in my head.

    Perhaps spurred on by the dumb expression on my face, he kept repeating the mystery phrase faster and louder and more emphatically, “EATTATERSHOTWIZARDSWHIZDARE!” until finally the light bulb went on.

    I jumped from my seat and shouted, “THE EQUATER IS HOT AND LIZARDS LIVE THERE!” We high-fived and did the end zone dance. Confetti rained from the ceiling and a girl in an evening gown appeared and presented me with a years supply of Rice-A-Roni and some lovely parting gifts.

    No. The part about the confetti is not true, but she did have popsicles.


    1. Becca says:

      You know, there is actually a party game where adults sit around talking like that to each other and trying to figure out what the other person is saying. I can’t think of the name of it right now…but it’s my favorite!

      April 11th, 2007 at 6:49 am

    2. Antique Mommy says:

      I’m going to get that game because after living with a toddler, I’m getting really good at it!

      April 11th, 2007 at 7:03 am

    3. Becca says:

      Mad Gabs! That’s what the game is called!

      Here’s one from a sample online…”Jog Clay Die Scream”

      April 11th, 2007 at 7:07 am

    4. Mary says:

      Chocolate Ice Cream (I’m not good at this game per se….but I can recognize ice cream a mile away and I have the thighs to prove it!)

      April 11th, 2007 at 7:18 am

    5. amy says:

      i love it when the words make sense! we’ve been struggling with “hichoo”. we actually thinks she’s saying, “h, i, j”. she likes to repeat the middle of the alphabet sometimes. that’s our best guess. haha!

      April 11th, 2007 at 7:26 am

    6. Susan J. says:

      Maybe I am too good at that game. I knew what Sean was saying the first time I read it. (Hearing it was different, I’m sure.) Our church group played Mad Gabs on New Years Eve. I was bored to tears. Actually I was bored to the point of being snarky, but I don’t like to admit that.

      April 11th, 2007 at 7:29 am

    7. Chilihead says:


      April 11th, 2007 at 7:30 am

    8. Chilihead says:

      I feel I need to clarify that comment. I mean ‘sweet’ not in the awwww, how cute sense. I mean, of course, in all my warm and cuddly Chilihead way, Suh-weet! You totally rocked at figuring that out.

      April 11th, 2007 at 7:33 am

    9. Antique Mommy says:

      Chilihead – Whew! I’m glad you clarified. For a minute I thought Strawberry Shortcake had killed you and taken over your blog.

      April 11th, 2007 at 7:39 am

    10. Joyful Days says:

      My second led me on wild word chases like this often. “Lego Teelayla” was something we had to work on for a few months. Yes, much rejoicing. Now we are at wishing I didn’t understand some requests.

      So, BTW…did you ever figure out the Peemo Boat??

      April 11th, 2007 at 7:49 am

    11. Author Mom with Dogs says:

      Hysterical!!! That’s one smart boy you have there.

      April 11th, 2007 at 7:59 am

    12. Traci says:

      He really is smart. Beware, though – since you’ve taught him that when it’s day at the House of Antique, it’s night on the other side of the world, he will soon have deduced that when it’s NIGHT at the House of Antique, it must be DAY somewhere in the world…and thus he will not think it necessary to go to bed, but would like to stay up with the people in China. 😉

      April 11th, 2007 at 8:12 am

    13. Sunshine says:

      As long as wizards whiz there and not here we’re good! Cuz who wants to step in wizard whiz? Not me! Don’t worry the fun doesn’t end…my daughter’s 11 and I’m still saying Whuut?

      April 11th, 2007 at 8:23 am

    14. Pam says:

      That was awesome. You had me laughing out loud.

      I’m blown away that little Sean understands so much already!

      And YOU… well, you rock. Your toddlerspeak comprehension is deserving of at least the washer-dryer set, if not the BEAUTIFUL BRAND-NEW CAR!

      April 11th, 2007 at 8:26 am

    15. Big Mama says:

      You are the queen of all things. There is no telling how much knowledge I have failed to gain due to lack of 3 year old speak comprehension.

      And truth be told, I thought he was telling you that some potatoes would get hot if they were buried in the center of the earth and the rest was from a Harry Potter book.

      No confetti or popsicles for me.

      April 11th, 2007 at 8:35 am

    16. Jill says:

      I am going to laughing at this one all day… don’t you love the toddler translation game? I had friends over last night and none of them could understand a word The Boy was saying and they were amazed that I was able to converse with him and understand what he wants. It’s a secret mommy gift, I guess!!

      p.s. Hope you win for Best Blog Ever!!

      April 11th, 2007 at 9:00 am

    17. Kara says:

      HAHAHA, you got me laughing 😀 LOL What a smart little boy!

      April 11th, 2007 at 9:44 am

    18. wordgirl says:

      It’s such a role reversal when the child knows EXACTLY what he’s saying and we’re struggling to understand. We’re the ones with the deficiency, no? Years from now when he speaks with absolute clarity and there is no more confusion between the words “tater” and “equater”, your conversations will flow. But you’ll think about days like this and there will be a little tug at your heart because Sean will be too sophisticated to talk as he used to. In our house, no one refers to the birds on the side yard trees as “peckerworkers” anymore. They all just say “woodpeckers” like everyone else. And that’s just sad.

      April 11th, 2007 at 10:19 am

    19. Susan says:

      ROFLMAO! That is hilarious!

      Over the years, I’ve found I’ve gotten pretty good at toddlerese. In fact, when I get my nails done at a salon where some lovely Vietnamese women work, I find I’m usually the interpreter (for some reason) for all of their clients. I try to let everyone decipher the broken English on their own, but I almost always end up interpreting everything for them myself. I’m still not sure why I seem to be the only one who understands…

      April 11th, 2007 at 10:52 am

    20. cce says:

      I’m no good at toddlerese anymore. Maybe I always sucked at it. But now I’m learning that I’m also really bad at explaining things like lunar eclipses and global warming and what happens to a person after death. These are the things that my elementary aged kids would like their mother to explain and I just wish I could answer them in garbled speech and they’d accept that I don’t know the answers.

      April 11th, 2007 at 11:22 am

    21. Lori - Queen of Dirty Laundry says:

      Isn’t is just precious the way they speak louder when you don’t understand them? And mine even add an exasperated tone with the loudness. Lovely.

      But isn’t that the most wonderful feeling, when you finally get it? I love the confetti/evening gown/rice-a-roni analogy, cause that is how good it feels!

      April 11th, 2007 at 11:46 am

    22. Beck says:

      My oldest had a really heartrending speech impediment and talking with her at 3 was always like that, this struggle to make out what the poor girl was saying and then the TRIUMPHANT realization! And now at 8, she no longer needs me to be her translator for the world, so it’s all good.

      April 11th, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    23. mama speak says:

      All hail Antique Mommy traslator of things Toddlerspeak!

      April 11th, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    24. Stacey says:

      I could not figure it out so I’m glad you explained! Too funny : )

      April 11th, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    25. bee says:

      Toddlerspeak! Aaahhh! It scares me. I’m still trying to figure what “Oh!” means coming from a 10 month-old simply by which direction he’s pointing.

      I was hoping it’d get easier… it does sound like it gets more fun, though!

      April 11th, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    26. crazedreamer1 says:

      That is awesome!

      April 11th, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    27. HolyMama! says:

      my gosh no WONDER he’s so smart. you decided to sit down and teach earth science to the toddler? no wonder he knows what the equator is and where lizards live. wow!

      April 11th, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    28. Antique Mommy says:

      HM, he’s not a genius, but he is bright and remembers every.thing. Plus he loves to learn. So there’s hope for him inspite of having my DNA. In grade school, the only thing I was good at was jump rope.

      April 11th, 2007 at 3:48 pm

    29. Fiddledeedee (It Coulda' Been Worse) says:

      The equater? The equater? Good golly, your 3 year old knows about the equater? You’re going to have to go shopping for little pocket protectors for his tiny shirts. You may have a future scientist on your hands.

      He’s a cutie pie.

      April 11th, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    30. melissa says:

      that is exactly how i feel when i figure out what my boy is saying too!

      April 11th, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    31. Lynn says:

      You truly are deserving of the “best blog ever” of the world. That is hilarious and congrats on your nomination. But, better luck raising that genius child!

      April 11th, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    32. Tracey/RealEstateGirl says:

      I love this! I always look forward to checking in on you and reading the exciting things you and Sean have done—even if they aren’t so exciting, you are a fantastic storyteller!

      April 11th, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    33. Roxanne says:

      That is just way cool.

      I’ve have long wanted my own little “Dora The Explorer Mariachi Band” to play when I figure something out. . .but your confetti and Rice-a-Roni are just as enticing.

      April 11th, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    34. Antique Mommy says:

      One of the things Sean has taught me is that you can’t over-estimate what children are capable of learning.

      April 11th, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    35. Sue says:

      That is great!
      The interpreting is a little different around here. My two and half year old just had her cleft palate repaired a couple months ago and we have taught her many words in sign language. I did not know sign language so I have had to teach it to her one word at a time. She has well over 30 words that she remembers very well, however, I tend to forget some of the ones we don’t use frequently. So our interpreting dance involves lots of hand movements and wide eyes! When I shrug my shoulders she does it over and over- more dramatically each time until I get it.

      Words or not, it feels the same to a mom who’s trying to understand! 🙂

      April 11th, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    36. allison says:

      I, too, am antique and fortunately I have a five-year-old daughter to help me decipher my just turned four-year-old daughter’s language. I figure all this hard brain work will keep my mind young…while everything else is slip sliding away!

      I love to read your blog. You make me laugh out loud…which is exactly what I like to spend my time doing!

      April 11th, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    37. Polly says:

      Now you’re ready for the $10,000 Pyramid.
      Opps, I’m dating my self. It’s probably more money now. I hope?

      April 11th, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    38. Terrific Teens says:

      That was so funny and adorable. I love reading your blog. Thanks for making my day!

      April 11th, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    39. Jenny D says:

      I love that game. How funny!!

      April 11th, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    40. Clare says:

      My five year old said she wanted to see the ‘Apricot’ when we go to Disneyland in the Summer. My nine year old had to inform me she meant the ‘Epcot’

      Even Mums don’t always ‘get it’

      April 12th, 2007 at 5:23 am

    41. Angela says:

      First of all, your writing is like a drug for me. I can’t get enough. I’ve been out of town for two and a half weeks and I’m up at 6 am, feasting. 🙂

      Secondly, your son is a genius. Jump-rope champ, blonde helmet head or no, you’ve produced a genius. And you didn’t do so shabby yourself with interpreting!

      April 12th, 2007 at 6:32 am

    42. Susan J. says:

      Ok, my earlier comment sounded rude, I’m afraid. Sorry. Reading all the comments reminded me of a few things. I did ask Jonathan many times what Jackson was saying. Often he knew when I did not. The classic toddlerspeak I remember from Jonathan is “zip-a-da-detty”. After many attempts, I managed to figure out that he wanted spaghetti for supper.

      April 12th, 2007 at 7:12 am

    43. GiBee says:

      Ahhh — mommy translation. Good job, mommy … good job!

      I can just see that moment of “aha!” and the light bulb turn on over your head!!!

      Too cute.

      Um — can you tell me what “badataata DAAATAAATAAA” means? Because my son says it over. And over. AND OVER.

      April 12th, 2007 at 11:33 am

    44. Antique Mommy says:

      GiBee, It means “I love you more than anything in the whole world mommy because you are so beautiful and I should like to kiss you all day.”

      April 12th, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    45. Toni says:

      A classic mommy moment if ever there was one. But who is this confetti girl you speak of … and I have never gotten Rice-A-Roni. 🙂

      April 12th, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    46. onemotherslove says:

      Great story! I caught myself thinking just last week, “Maybe if I repeat what he’s saying over & over, really fast, I’ll figure it out.” Didn’t work in my case! I think my son just makes up his own language. : )

      April 12th, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    47. kelli in the mirror says:

      I still don’t know what peemo boat is, but I got this one, and I was really hoping it was a contest or something. 🙂
      That’s awesome.

      April 24th, 2007 at 3:15 pm

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