Despite her communication issues, the Bean manages to make herself heard when it really, really counts. Meaning when she wants you to do something. I noticed this over the summer, when Bean was at the beach with Aunt Joan. They were digging in the sand with a plastic shovel, and there was a collection of plastic animals that Eve would take out of a bucket and line up carefully.

Aunt Joanie decided to make one of the animals swim.

“No,” said Bean, in a tone of voice adults reserve for the very simple. “You put it back, Joanie.” And she grabbed my sister’s arm and forced her to place the animal back where it belonged.

Bucket dictatorship.

The other night we were playing with some toys we had been loaned by the speech and language therapy people. Two sets of the toys in particular Bean enjoyed.

First, there was a set of squishy balls: one green, with a silly smiling face, one red, with an angry face. We arranged ourselves in a triangle and proceeded to play catch, and the Bean gave us very explicit instructions about:

a) Which ball to use (“I get the red! The angry-mad ball!”)

b) To whom it should be thrown (“You give the ball a Mommy, Daddy!”)

c) When it should be thrown (“1… 2… 3… NOW!”)

She didn’t reprimand us when a ball went out of bounds, but she did abruptly end the game by flinging both balls onto the couch. Then she pulled out two purple juggling scarves.

hat-ting: v. (etym: Modern Beanish) To wear something on one’s head.

“You do a hatting,” she said, making as if to put it on my head.

I put it on her head, and we explained that it was a “veil”. Which she said once or twice, before reverting to “purple” (she often relies on the color of a thing if she can’t remember the noun for it). I pulled it off her face and made a comedy “whoosh” noise, she laughed like a loon, and we unleashed the tiny taskmistress inside her.

“Put it on, Mommy,” she would say, or “Put it on, Daddy.” This was followed by “Cwose a eyes,” and when we did close our eyes, she would whisk the veil off and shriek with delight.

Then she began smashing our heads together so she could put one veil over both of us at once, and we got her to use the words “heads together” so that she would stop smacking us in the face. This had limited effect– I think she just likes shoving us around.

The orders didn’t stop for a good hour. “Cwose a eyes! Heads togevver! Stop smiling!”

In the driver’s seat.

“No more,” I said, as it was getting close to bed time. I put the veils back in the box they’d come from. Eve immediately snatched them out. “No, no, stop it!” she ordered. “You put a back, Mommy!”

I looked at Trev. He shrugged. I hatted the purple scarf again.

If nothing else pans out, she has a bright future as a drill sergeant.


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