learning to live and love from a new perspective


 Yesterday, I had to drag G out of the house on a last minute errand.  He was playing “Stack the Countries” on the iPad (FYI–  G is five years old.  He’s already memorized every state, its capital, major landmarks, and placement on the map from several intense weeks of playing “Stack the States”.  Now he’s moving on to world domination in “Stack the Countries”.  Quiz him sometime.  I guarantee you he knows more geography than you.  He surpassed me several months ago.  But I digress.)

Anyway…  G was playing “Stack the Countries” and I was cooking dinner.  I had everything sliced and diced, ready to throw in the pot when I went to the pantry and discovered a big empty space where the canned tomatoes usually reside.  My choices were to either scrap the whole meal (which was 75% complete) and start something completely different from scratch or run out to the grocery store and grab some tomatoes.  As an aside, I will say that the two years I spent living literally next door to Star Market (our apartment building shared a parking lot with the store) has wreaked havoc on my shopping/cooking habits.

So, off to the grocery store.  As you can imagine, I was feeling just a tiny bit grumpy about it.  On the way to the store, G initiated one of his scripts.  A script is a repetitive bit of dialogue where the same questions are asked and answered multiple times.  (See my post about Paradise).  I’m not entirely sure the function of these scripts for G…  but usually it means that his brain is engaged in processing a new bit of information.    Often the questions get tweaked a little as we talk, so he can gather whatever detail he is looking for, even if he can’t formulate the precise question he wants to ask.  Just a theory.

Today’s script was about the iPad.

G:  Mom, I was playing Stack the Countries.

Me:  Yes, you were.  You’re getting good at that game.

G:  Yes, I like that game.  When can I play again?

Me:  You’ve had a lot of screen time today.  When we get home from the grocery store, it’s going to be time to find something to do that’s not screen time.

G:  But why?  Why can’t I have so much screen time?

Me:  Because if you do too much screen time, your brain will turn into mashed potatoes and you won’t be able to do good thinking.

G:  (Pause.  Reset.)  Mom, I was playing Stack the Countries.

Me:  Yes, you were.  You’re getting good at that game.

You see where I’m going, right?  We ran the whole script, right to the part where I’m supposed to say, “Your brains will turn into mashed potatoes.”  Only, MY brains had turned into mashed potatoes about twenty minutes earlier…  and I got stuck on the word.  I just couldn’t retrieve mashed potatoes, so my lips started forming the first word that came to mind, which was “Gobbledeegook”.

That’s when I realized…  G’s probably never heard the word “Gobbledeegook” before.  Knowing G, and how he loves all things ridiculous and weird, he is going to love this word.  So I paused.  I met his eyes in the rearview mirror.  He was seeking out my eyes expectantly.  I said, “Because, if you do too much screen time, your brain will turn into…..  GOBBLEDEEGOOK!”

Sure enough, G started shrieking with laughter.  His body was shaking with giggles.  He met my eyes in the mirror again, this time.  His face was lit up with an enormous smile…  but his eyes held a question.

Me:  What is it?  Did you like that word?

G:  Yes, that was a SILLY word!


Me:  It was, wasn’t it?  Did it sound like nonsense?

G:  Yes!  Nonsense!

Me:  Would you like me to say it again?

G:  Yes!  Say it!!

Me:  Gobbledeegook, gobbledeegook, gobbledeegook!!!

Now he’s laughing so hard, there are actual tears streaming down his face, and I’m afraid I might have to pull the car over and perform emergency CPR because he can’t get a breath in between the giggles.

It went on like that for twenty minutes.  I said “Gobbledeegook.”  He said “Gobbledeegook.”  We said “Gobbledeegook” together.  We whispered it and shouted it.  And, we did a whole lot of giggling.

Sometimes, things are so hard.  IEP meetings.  Behavior plans.  Epic meltdowns over minute changes in routine.  Sometimes it’s hard to persevere in the face of the struggles.

Other times, things are so easy.  To be able to find such happiness, such body-shaking joy… from ONE WORD?  It’s a gift.   My wish for G is that he will always have such easy access to the powerful feelings of delight and pleasure that he has now at age five.

And for me?  I hope I can learn from G’s experience of the world.  I’m happy to stand along side and participate in his exuberance.  However, it does raise an important question for me.  What are the things that get my joy flowing? And how can I get those feelings to reside closer to the surface the way they do for G?  I would love to get that rush of deep of emotion from a single word, thought or activity.  What is MY gobbledeegook?  Hmmm…..


Comments on: "Gobbledeegook" (1)

  1. Gabe finds his joy very easily! It is amazing.

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