Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Watermelon Balance of Power

 “I’ve Got Blisters On My Fingers!”
Jack has joined the illustrious ranks of Roy Clark and others who’ve played the guitar as a boy until they’ve worn blisters on their fingers.  We had to impound the [GEETAWR] until it heals.  The finger, that is.  El Capitan’s still casing the place trying to find where we have it stowed.  The guitar, that is.

But when he’s not blistered and out of commission, he’s covering that newfangled music all the kids like, like those crazy hippie Beatles.  Loves, LOVES to sing Here Comes the Sun.  Really.  And it is, in fact, all rightH.M. plays Name That Tune with him, too, which is pretty funny to watch.  Musical.  This cat is musical.  In every sense of the term.

"Except Ye Be Converted..."
Seeing something pure is rarer than you might think.  And watching The Dude sing Jesus Loves Me totally qualifies.  Or hearing him pray.  He's really good at that.  A sample:
[DEAWH] God.  [FANK] you for my beans.  And my [CHITTEN].  And my [CAAHWOTS].  And my [MILT].  In [JEESAS] name, [AMIN].
 When was the last time you prayed to God like that?  No, not with typos.  Oh, you know what I meant.

Direct, to the point, no kidding around, thankful and specific.  No asking for more money, more toys, no getting even or hedging your bets.

The Watermelon Balance of Power
My parents came down last week and stayed with us, just beating all the cold weather.  We all sat out on the patio, enjoyed an awesome day and watched Jack do his thing.

Oh, random hilarious (and true) story from my grandfather, via my dad:  A farmer had a watermelon patch.  People got to stealing them and the guy got mad.  He got so mad, in fact, that he decided to do something about it.  A little while later, the farmer posts the following sign in the field:
 More time passes.  Finally, another sign, in an unfamiliar hand, appears:
Corduroy:  Not Just for Pants!
Yakubu’s memory is starting to get into the realm of the unbelievable.  It’s simply fantastic.  He now, in a matter of days, can recite virtually any book.  Corduroy is his current favorite.  You can sit there, turning the pages for him as he recites along to the pictures.  The recitation sounds a lot like what I’d probably sound like reading transliterated Mandarin Chinese.  Oh, and he acts it out later, too.  Even plucked a button off of our old kitchen chair cushions (Corduroy the Bear is missing a button in the story, if you’re not familiar).

The most interesting part, at least to me, happens when he can’t articulate the harder phrases.  He’ll mutter and mumble and drone on in the exact meter and time it would take to actually say the words themselves.  So the whole thing resembles someone singing a song they half-know, filling in the missing verses with da da dum, da da dah

So the reading of books becomes not learning a certain string of words, but attaching words to a sort of song.  It reminded me of the really interesting phenomenon of Jewish cantillation.  Anyway, my ringside seat to the mechanics of how basic learning takes place, even in the absence of the written word, is fascinating.

As adults, it's difficult to remember (or understand) what it was like to not know and think in spelled words and hard syntax.  Watching a two year old almost instinctively attach the meaning to the sounds to the symbols and words is just plain fun.  I digress.

And it’s not just the drilled-in stuff.  His long term memory is surprisingly entertaining, too.  One day, Her Majesty told him they were going to Bouncin' Bears to jump on the bouncy castles.  Great.  Jack said "Go see Hayes [his bud from church]?"  They met Hayes and his mom at Bouncin’ Bears over 5 months ago, had not mentioned it since, and had not been back.  Unreal.

A recent Jack faux fonecall:
"Hi, this is [MEWANIE WATWEE]... My number is ...546... that's it... bye."

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