Sunday, September 14, 2014

Benjamin Pidgin

Last night my aunt in San Diego called me at around 7:00 PM.

"Is this a bad time?" she asked. "Are you three hours ahead of me? I hope you're not getting kids ready for bed."

"This is a great time," I said. "We're actually just folding laundry together so if I sneak away to talk to you then I get out of folding laundry!"

"This was a good time to call then," she agreed and I left Andrew and the kids folding laundry together.

She wanted to talk about the Hancock Hummer, a family newsletter I put together twice a year (and so far I've received zero submissions so if any family members are reading this—get on it!) and also just get caught up. She asked how the kids were doing and I said they were doing well (this was before Benjamin let us know he had croup) and that Benjamin had recently started talking up a storm, which I was so relieved about because he wasn't even babbling at 18 months. I was quite worried about it, but here we are nine months later and he's just fine.

Auntie Arlene could relate. My cousin Lance was a late talker as well, especially when compared to his older sister (who, like my girls was talking in complete (and complicated) sentences by 18 months).

My cousin's daughter (and Arlene's granddaughter) Kitty (not her real name, but the name she gave herself when she was first—and finally—starting to talk) suffers from childhood apraxia and it's been a long, hard road for her. She also wasn't babbling at 18 months and everyone (even doctors) kept telling them to wait but they shouldn't have waited as long as they did to seek help because Kitty had a real problem.

She's not the only little cousin in the family to suffer from apraxia, either (there's one more), so I feel like my worry was justified (even though in my case Benjamin really did start talking and all I really had to do was wait (but that's not always the case and that early intervention is crucial)).

That got me thinking about the Benjamin Pidgin we've all been learning to speak in our house and this morning when the girls were packing snacks to eat after church and Benjamin ran to get a granola bar, shouting, "Monkey bar! Monkey bar! Monkey bar!" I knew it had been far too long since I made a list of words that are special to him. Here's a short dictionary to help you learn Benjamin Pidgin:


'Awn: Lawn; where children should play; where cars should not; something you mow
'Ogi: (1) Yogurt; (2) LEGO; (3) Yoga
A'side: (1) Inside, if outside; (2) Outside, if inside
Ben: Alternate form of Benjamin
Bos: Both; “I want all the things”
Bump Song: Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
Car: (1) Car; (2) Dark; (3) Colour
Elmy: (1) Elmo; (2) Any red cartoon-ish creature; (3) Anything with big eyes
'Es: Yes
Gink: Drink
Guh: Good
Map: Nap
Me: Alternate form of Benjamin
Mimi: Miriam
Mine: (1) Mine; (2) Alternate form of my
Monkey bar: (1) Anything to hang on to; (2) Granola bar
Moo: (1) Cows (and sometimes pigs) say this; (2) Movie
New unnies: Clean underwear
‘Ouse: House
Peesey: Please
Pengy: Penguin
Pince: Prince
Pincey: Princess
Sammy 'ahk: Family Walk
S(h)asha: (1) Rachel; (2) Salsa
Sheshes: Jesus
Shom: Small; opposite of big
Shorm: Storm
Sibey 'eb: Spider web
Simmy (poo): Swimming (pool)
Son: Alternate form of Benjamin
Sood: (1) Food; (2) Fruit
Sood(t) s(n)ack: Fruit snacks
Stah-bee: Strawberry; the most delicious food on the planet
Steet: Street; where cars should be; where children should not; something you draw on with chalk
Sukey: (1) Scooter; how Daddy gets to work; (2) Motorcycle
Sunny day: "Nap time’s not necessary"
Tiny: (1) Small; (2) Alternate form of Benjamin
Tummy ‘urt: Tummy hurt; “I’m hungry, so feed me”
Turch: Church
Ummy: Yummy
Unnies: Underwear
Wowie: Yellow

I'm sure there are others that I'm missing. I asked Andrew for help coming up with things and he said that he couldn't do it on the spot because "that's so hard." So I had to come up with this list all on my own! And it was hard!

All of the "alternate forms of Benjamin" are ways that he has introduced himself to people. All the neighbourhood kids (and some of the grown ups) call him Tiny.

"Oh, hey, Tiny! My dog looks like a horse compared to you!"

"Someone take a turn swinging with Tiny!"

"Uh-oh! Here comes Tiny!"

They all know his name. I'm not sure where this tiny business came from, except perhaps that everyone's always saying, "Oh, you're so tiny!" He'll seriously introduce himself as "Me—Tiny!" when people ask him his name. Usually he'll say Ben, though. Or Son.

I feel like I've always tried to call him Benjamin (or at least Benji) because I like the full name ever so much more than the short form. But he seems to like Ben. Or Tiny. Son's kind of a thing of the past because when I realized he was introducing himself this way I started making a conscious effort to use his name.

Son's kind of a pet name for a little boy, though, I think. Andrew thinks that's strange and asked why we never call the girls "daughter." I don't know why, but when my girls need my sympathy I call them "baby doll" and "sweetie" and things like that—never daughter. When Benjamin needs sympathy, however, "Oh, son" or even "Sonny-boy" are some of the first terms of endearment to escape my lips. He's also my sweetie and my baby and my buddy—but he's "son," too.

1 comment:

  1. Luckily (at least in the three states I have lived in) they start speech therapy earlier than I think they used too. My baby just started at 2 years old and I think I could have gotten her in earlier had I pushed the pediatrician to recommend us. Glad Benjamin is talking though it is a lot less painful (only 1 of my 4 didn't need speech therapy). I love when they start to talk though as it is so much fun!

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