Growing out of things | Mark’s Remarks

marksI’ve told you before that getting rid of my kids’ toys is sometimes an emotional issue. Being a neatness nut, I’m all about getting things out of my house, purging, and wiping the slate clean. But I finally realized that when we get rid of certain toys, my kids are no longer interested in those toys. This means, they are growing up. This means, their “little kid interests” are changing. I find it all very sad, at times.

Thankfully, we still have the baby. At age 2, she will still play with her big sister’s toys and we have a few more years of tea parties and baby dolls. My oldest daughter will politely play with her little sister, but she’s so over it all.

The boys are also over it all. They were once fanatics about superheroes. We have long since given most of the Justice League of America away to other, smaller superhero enthusiasts. However, I myself saved a box of action figures. Why? Because I know the boys will be glad I kept them someday. In fact, I have squirreled away quite a few little toys here and there. Trust me, they will thank me (if Michelle doesn’t commit me for hoarding).
Along the same lines as giving up toys are the phrases and little word mix-ups kids speak when they are little. Just when you get used to them and look forward to each funny little word or phrase, they wake up one day and say the whole darn thing correctly. Or, one of their superior older siblings teaches them to say it all the right way.

My oldest son used to fall asleep at night to stories on tape. After we had read the required two stories, we would turn on the tape or CD player. He would fall asleep to “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” or the musical story “Peter and the Wolf.” After a while, he would run around the house quoting the stories, word for word. The words weren’t always pronounced right, but we loved it. He would say “hawnds” instead of hands when he talked about Superman bending steel. He could quote the whole opening of the old Superman TV series. He would say “commercianal” instead of commercial. When he was riding his tricycle, he would ask me if I wanted him to “Pop a Lilly” instead of a “wheelie.”

Our younger son, even before he could talk much at all, would run around and pretend to be Buzz Lightyear, saying “Duckadee Dow!” instead of Buzz’s phrase “To infinity and beyond!” No one else knew what “Duckadee Dow” meant, but we did. He would call all bladies with Mrs. at the beginning of their name “Misser.” Most of any words he said with a long “o” sound had an “aw” sound instead. He sounded out words like “chocolate” with a drawn out cadence, much like a foreigner learning our language. It was all very cute.

Corinne followed suit and sang songs from the radio with words that made no sense; but she stayed on the tune. She often shouted “Rogers!” when reruns of “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” came on the TV or “Donalds!” when we passed the golden arches. She said “oh my!” when she saw something that astounded her and also said “Goodness sakes!” At Christmas time, we spent lots of time finding “Kissmas Twees” in the windows of houses as we passed by.
The baby is not without her little nuances. She sings quite often, mixing up lyrics. Sometimes, she mixes up lyrics and makes them sound better than the original version. For instance, when she sings “Happy Birthday,” she says “Happy Birthday to dear Daddy… Happy Birthday to you.” I think the people she is singing to really ARE “dear” to her.

The other day we were all in the kitchen. The baby had just said something that sounded rather grown up, and I noticed that a couple of her sentences were startlingly accurate. No baby talk. I stood for a minute as the wave of sadness passed over me. It won’t be long before somebody (maybe Mr. Rogers) tells her the proper way to sing “Happy Birthday.”

I thought about it for a minute and started to stare at my 16-year-old son. To him, dad staring is just weird. “What?” he asked in his annoyed, teenager tone.

“What are those things in between TV shows? You know, the advertisements?” He gave me the correct answer, thinking I had gone off the deep end. I had hoped he’d say “commercianal” just one more time.

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Mark Tullis

Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.
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