Saturday, May 14, 2011

Youse boy!

For each of our babies, Jon and I have chosen a letter to represent the unborn child.

Back when I was pregnant with Eric, I hated calling my pregnancy "it". "The baby has a gender," I argued, "We just don't yet know which."

We decided to call the baby "B" (for Baby) in the interim. As with many of my linguistic ideas, this quickly morphed into its own jargon, with pronouns and puns. "He, him, his" became "be/bee, bit, bits". Even after we knew the gender, we still didn't have a name and continued using them for fun. Examples:
  • "B, baby, be!" [A growth mantra.]
  • "If B would let me eat a byte, be would get a bit. But NO, bee's making me queasy. Never did like honey, anyway...and there's the fear of botulism..."
  • "B has been hyperactive all day. Busy as a swarm of bees. It's like be's banging on a professional drumset in there. Tell me this isn't a prophecy...?" (Note: It was. I wonder what would happen if a pregnant lady took Ritalin...?)

Daniel was "C" for "Child." Pronouns: see/cee/sea, sit, and sits.
  • "Peekaboo! I see you, C!" [when we could see him kicking]
  • "C! Sit!" [When he was too active]
  • "When this is over, I will need a Sitz bath..." [That was also prophetic, given the involuntary natural childbirth.]
  • "See C sit! Sit, C, sit! Is C a she? Soon we'll see.."
  • "C likes to swim in the amniotic sea. I wonder what degree cee is?"
Naturally, outsiders were utterly confused when they heard sentences like "It's not sit's fault!"

Marian was "I" for "Infant." Pronouns: eye/aye, ite, and ites. Or sometimes eye's or aye's. Whatever made the pun work best.

It was fun saying stuff like
  • "Threw up AGAIN. I is mad at me."
  • "Aye, aye, I!" 
  • "I can't see eye's eyes. Aye, I think eye's playing boo times 10 to the negative twelfth." (Picaboo.)

My favorite pun there was "There were no -ites among them," but that, too, proved sadly prophetic.

Sammy was "Q" for "Query" or "Question". Pronouns: cue/queue, quit/quite, and quit's/cue's. Again, whatever worked best.
  • "Q, quit being impatient. Back to the end of the queue for you."
  • "Quit it, Q! I've had quite enough!" [When he, too, was kicking me in super-hyperactive mode.]
  • "I wish cue'd give me a cue. A clue. Anything!"
It was further inevitable that we would make comparisons to Q, the mostly-omnipotent but highly immature being from Star Trek.

Well, this pregnancy, we held a family council to decide on a letter. Eventually we came up with "U" for "Unknown." Pronouns: you/yew, and some barbaric, unpredictable mixture of "you" "you's" "use" and "youse" for the objective and possessive case.

Daniel took particular delight in making sentences which sounded ungrammatical but weren't, like "You is so cute!" Jon and I encouraged him to try some of them out on his first grade teacher. Cackle. Danny also deliberately misunderstood me when I said things like "You need to clear the table now." He would look blank and exclaim, innocently, "Huh? But how could U possibly clear the table?"

Note on Usage. (Heh, heh, couldn't help myself, sorry.) "Youse" can be used as possessive (like "Hey, that's you's/youse toy!" Or as a contraction for "you is" or "you is a" As in...

"Youse boy!"

Also, it helps to pretend you're a gangster. More fun in character.

Further, during one particularly boring church meeting, I set a horrible example for my children by playing with anagrams.
  • BQUIC (be quick) [Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack, jump over the candlestick...Jack, join your brothers abusing the couch with crazy gymnastics. At least you don't slouch...]
  • BUICQ (buick) [rather unoriginal, though]
  • CQUIB (squib) [from Harry Potter universe; means a non-magical child born to a magical family. OUR family would never produce a Mundane, though. OUR babies are all exceptional.]
  • CUBIQ (cubic) [Very mathematical]
  • IQ CUB (Smart baby) [my favorite]

Now, I am not promising anything. But, theoretically, if --IF-- there were any more babies, I am leaning toward the letter "L" for "Lottery." After which I could make the word QUIBLC, or "quibbles." Then maybe "R" for "arcane" or "recondite," from which we could form "QUIBLRC" (quibblers) or CQUIBLR (squibbler). That it is a nonsense word does not detract from it's charm, I think. We could invent a definition, like children who post ninety-five scribbles on the church door and set off huge, lawyerly debates. (The more I think about it, the more I love the image of my children all having deep philosophical debates in shaky crayon drawings.)

As for U (still no name, sorry), I'm just glad to have a final answer. All the physical evidence -- a new over-the-counter gender predictor test, lack of nausea, and a fourteen-week ultrasound where the doctor said "I wouldn't go shopping yet, but that looks like a boy to me" -- pointed to a boy. After some particularly awful nightmares, which I'm delighted were not prophetic, I'm happy that everything looks normal developmentally.

My friend Mark pointed out I wouldn't have to pay for weddings. I responded with the approximate cost of four missions. (Probably over $50,000, depending on inflation.)

I have seen the future, and it is full of Ramen noodles and dormitory-style bunkbeds, even before Eric leaves for college.

I'm particularly looking forward to the day I tell him, "Hey, you! Quit trespassing!" Similar to when I poked baby B (on my due date) and said "That's it. Move out, or start paying rent."

Had U been a girl, we could have made more puns about "the wee ewe lamb," but one can't have everything.

Every baby is a blessing. I'll be thrilled if this one turns out as cute, sweet, and smart as his brothers. I'll settle for "Not a gansta'."


Carolyn said...

yay!! another nephew!! And I LOVE your acronyms. Cubiq. hehe. As well as playing with grammer. When I have friends on study abroads on the other side of the world, I particularly love saying things like "I need to go to bed so I can talk to you yesterday."

Jon said...

I wish I'd had you as my English teacher in middle school. I've learned more from listening to you teaching the kids than I ever did from my teachers.

And they were all boring talking about whether the period went inside or outside of the quotation marks, not whether there might be potential cases where the English language didn't have a tense to cover what the speaker was trying to say.

I have to wonder what you'd do with Lao, though. They really just have three tenses. Everything else you just make up as you need it.

Jon said...

Sorry, I put that under the wrong post. It was supposed to be about the creation of new tenses in English to better model the deranged thoughts of Gail's mind.

Jon said...

As far as this post goes, I want to go on the record publicly as saying that I love all of my children very much and I'm excited to be having another boy joining the family.

I guess it's about time to start buying more camping equipment and buying more scout manuals. I've got about 17 years of Scouting to look forward to with the kids.

So, why exactly did we limit it to English letters again?

Gail said...

Jon -- I love the non-Roman-alphabet idea. But what if we named a baby "Omega" and then we had another one?

Jon said...

OmegaB would be next, of course. Isn't that what they do with vitamin supplements?