Monday, February 8, 2010

And An Elephant Says?: Champaign 1992

My kids had lots and lots of animals when they were babies. I don't mean real live breathing animals (we had two cats: M.R. and Jack and Jack got run over and killed before Second Daughter was born in '93), but they had a great assortment of plastic animals and stuffed animals and animal videos and magnet animals, wooden animals, animal cards and on and on. So, I used these animal toys as lessons--like about all parents do--from what kind of animals they were to habits to sounds and eventually to what regions of the world they came from.
First daughter was especially crazy about animals--she loved giraffes and elephants the most for quite a while, then gave way to cats and dinosaurs. (I remember once we were visiting my parents in Des Moines, just me and First Daughter--I'd driven us over from Champaign--and a friend of mine, Scott, came over to visit. He was impressed with First Daughters ability to name numbers and colors and the alphabet, not just recite them, but when he went to leave I said, "Good bye, Scott" and First Daughter said, "Good bye, Skunk." . . . Oh, I never told Scott this, but I laughed and laughed, she had animals on her mind so she thought his name was Skunk.) But I remember one time when Francis came to visit us.
I'd met Francis in Mexico (where I'd mistook him for an English-speaking Americano) and he was from Quebec. His English, on the whole, was good (my French tres mal) and he had no problem coming to a place like Champaign and hanging with me during the day while I did laundry and took care of a baby and all of that (yes, we did go out some nights, Francis and I, and he did go to Chicago, so there was that). Anyway, he was there as First Daughter and I went through our animal sounds.
You know: What does a dog say? "Bark, bark!" Yes! What does a cow say? "Moo, moo." Good! What does a monkey say? "Eee-ee-ee-ee." Ha ha. "A dolphin?" "Bee-ee-eee-eee. " (Something like that.)
It's when I got to the elephant that Francis cracked up.
"What does an elephant say?" I asked First Daughter.
"Breeee Cheese!"
Francis--a French cheese kind of guy--thought that this was hilarious.
And it was.
So many things with little kids are hilarious, impossible to record--especially if they are your own little kids and their whole years are often profound second after profound second--and this was but one of many delightful happenings.
Ah. I was just thinking of it, that's all. Maybe you had to be there.

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