Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Baby Talk Quiz

One of my favorite stories about the K's childhood is the time when he was about two and his aunt babysat for him. When it was time for bed he insisted he needed his "fi-fiar," but she had no idea what he was talking about. She would hold up a stuffed bear, "fi-fiar?" He'd shake his head. A bottle? No. She ran around his room picking up different toys, "is this a fi-fiar? How about this?" He kept shaking his head. She was never able to find the elusive fi-fiar and the K gave up trying to tell her and fell asleep. Have you guessed what he meant? He wanted his pacifier.

Communicating with small children can be very difficult. Even the most articulate kids lack the context and often the vocabulary to describe things, so you are left trying to guess what they are trying to tell you. To demonstrate, I decided to ask the Baby to describe the plots of some of her favorite movies and television shows to see if you can identify them from her description. It's sort of like playing $20,000 Pyramid with an alien.  This quiz does require some knowledge of family movies and Disney Junior, so if you aren't familiar with these genres, you may want to come back when I ask her to describe the plots of different Tarantino films.

Apologies in advance if this post reads like an outtake from Kids Say the Darndest ThingsGive yourself one point for every correct answer. Check your score at the end of the post.

1. Description: "There's a girl and there's at the first part it's black and white and then the bad lady turns into a witch and there's a yellow brick road and she walks on it and it's a circle and it goes round and round and she finds a scarecrow and something that's metal."

Answer: This is an easy one. If you didn't figure it out, you might want to schedule a classic movie viewing marathon and also sign up for a crash course in things all Americans should know. Of course it's:

The poor Tin Man is just "something metal."
I guess that's better than the Lion who isn't
worthy of mention.

2. Description: "There's a little guy he's brown and he has a yellow mustache and he's in a stump and then there's a green guy who has his hands up, but not his head and he made something out of a tree and he made it by the top and there's kind of up over the leaves and it turned it into everything he could do and everything he has to make it."

Answer: Yes, I confess I had her watching old episodes of Geraldo Rivera shows. Oh, not really, did you guess it was:

3. Description - "At the first part there's a tall guy and some little guys and it was his birthday and he dressed up like a fairy princess and then and then this kind of guy sticks one in the air and the other one up here and the guy who was the fairy princess has a microphone and the other guy takes it from him and puts it on his ears and says, "e-doh, e-doh," and the girl who dressed up like the fairy princess gets a firewater hose and takes it out of her pocket and she slaps him with it."

Answer: What? No I'm not letting her watch porn. It's obviously:

Don't feel badly if you didn't get that from her description. I think she might have been drunk on popcorn and lemonade when she watched the movie. The next one is easier.

4. Description: "There's a guy named Fix-It Felix and he fixes things when Ralph breaks it. When Felix does a good job, he gets a medal at the top and Ralph gets thrown off the top of the building."

Answer: She practically gave it away by naming the characters, but if you need a hint:

5. Description - "Somebody got thrown out the window. Somebody ate two M&Ms during lunch and there was a dripping hole and it turns into really yucky when it's long and you throw something in and it's a dripping hole and it's really yucky. Miss Trunchbowl took a girl by her braids and threw her and she got flowers for Miss Honey. Miss Honey is a really, really nice teacher and she took out her braids because she didn't want her to get thrown over the fence again."

Answer - It's the classic that you should show your children so that they appreciate you:

No matter what your flaws, you couldn't possibly be as bad a parent as the Wormwoods. And your children's teachers will thank you because they have to be more appealing than Miss Trunchbowl:

6. Description - "There's Jake and he's big and Cubby and he's a little smaller and he's almost as tall as Izzy and Jake is biggest. I think Cubby is three and Izzy is four and Jake is five and they have a pirate ship named Bucky and they have everything they have in there. Jake has a sword and he tries to use it on Captain Hook. And Smee and Bones and Sharky try to get treasure because Captain Hook likes treasure."

Answer - It's amazing how many children's show sound like pornography when she describes them. Again, totally innocent:

In case you're not familiar, Disney resurrected Peter Pan and populated it with characters to appeal to modern-day kids. Disney realized that all the Johns, Michaels, and Wendys are driving carpool, so Disney swapped them out for Jake and Izzy because every first grader has at least one classmate named Jake or Izzy. To get a little more diversity, they made Izzy brownish and Jake yellowish. The Baby thinks Izzy spends a lot of time in the sun and I think Jake may have jaundice.

I do think the Baby might be a little off in her age assessments for the main characters. I don't know many five-year-olds who captain their own ship.

7. Description - There is a princess and she has a dad and he's a prince and she has a sister and she's a stepsister and she's really bad and she's really, really bad and she wrecks stuff really bad.

Answer - This one might surprise you:

Disney is big on evil stepsisters. The Baby was very upset when she learned that I had a stepbrother and she didn't. I told her that he was her stepuncle and that made her angrier because she and spellcheck both know that's not a real thing. I gave up and told her that she was welcome to refer to him as her stepbrother, which cheered her up until she learned that he is 44 years old and not eight as she had hoped.

She's in the good company of many a Disney princess by being disappointed in her step-siblings.

1-2: Go back to working on the Sunday NYT crossword puzzle and drinking your cappuccino. Clearly you do not spend much time with small children or watching family television. I am very jealous. If you are doing a semester abroad at a preschool want to communicate with the children, the Baby is enrolling students in her BASL (Baby as a second language) class.
3-5: Congratulations on being right in the middle. This mean that you haven't lost all your braincells watching children's television and you can still get by if you need to talk to the unaccompanied minor next to you on a cross-country flight. This is one time to revel in your mediocrity.
6-7: Not only would the Parents Television Council applaud your knowledge of family films, but you speak fluent Baby. I hope you are doing something for yourself. Schedule a mani-pedi and then email me to set up a time to interview for a babysitting position.


  1. I can't wait for Despicable Me 2! Maybe the baby can get an advance copy and write a baby talk review. I think you're on to something here.

    1. It's out July 3rd. Looking at the weather forecast for Maine (60% chance of rain and high of 70), I'm sure we'll be there on opening day.