I’ll never forget the first time I deciphered one of the initial phrases my daughter spoke when she was not yet two years old. She and I were best friends and went everywhere together her first two years! We had a Ford Explorer--the first model year. It was a great car; but, the space between the driver’s seat and an infant seat (when turned to the reverse as per safety rules) was just about an inch too far for a loving mother’s hand to reach back and re-insert a lost binky. For this reason, McKenna would often get distraught on drives and cry. Anyone relate?
Apparently, my pet phrase during these times of crying and frustration on her part was,
“I know, buddy”
and I would pat her or just try to soothe her with my words until I could safely pick her up or get her toy or binky back. Over the course of the first two years of her life, I’m sure she heard that phrase over and over again. Well, I know it made an impression on her because later on, when she was a bit older, and she was upset…she would cry and seemingly say
And, Tim and I could not figure out what she needed or wanted! Well, one day—I heard it! She was actually saying back to me what I had always said to her when I was trying to comfort her! My “I know, buddy” turned into her “nobody”. Eureka! She wanted me to comfort her! Don’t we all have these proud parent moments when we break the kid code? And, there’s plenty of these stories circulating through old editions of Readers’ Digest.
You know, the famous lines of Christmas carols kids have famously botched:
“Silent Night, Holy Night, All is Calm, All is Bright, Round Jon Virgin…”
And so on.
Another favorite of these cracked codes happened in the kitchen with Wylie. As I recall, one of the grandfathers or “Papas” as we refer to them had given us a traditional restaurant white apron and chef’s hat. Since Wylie loved to bake cookies with me, he was the first to don the hat and apron. When we got them out and started to put them on, he gave me the hat and said,
“Ok, Mom—you put the hat on and you can be R.D.”
“What’s that Wylie? What’s my name?”
“R.D.” came the reply.
I was confused, we didn’t know anyone that went by that name and it didn’t make any sense or relate to a current topic of interest for Wylie. Confused and bemused, I put the hat on.
“Ok, I’ll be Chef Boy and wear the apron” Wylie continued with his directions like Scorcese on the set. He knew the recipe by heart and was positioning me on my mark and telling me which ingredients I was responsible for when--suddenly, I got it! Picture the can of spaghetti sauce and meatballs your mother might have served you when you were little. It has a red label, a rotund chef pictured in a white hat and apron on the logo. I know it’s on the tip of your tongue. And, it was also promoted heavily during this season with a cute commercial where the cans would hop off the shelf and follow the kids through the aisles in the grocery store.
No doubt this is what inspired Wylie.
What’s the brand???
Chef Boyardee. Of course.