Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sophisticated Discourse

Once again John Carroll covers familiar ground.

A few weeks ago I went to Montreal to see my new grandchild, Poulenc (that's her stage name, you understand; I need to protect her identity from the paparazzi), who is 4 months old and, as you might expect, perfect in every way.

It is my custom to talk to children as though they were adults. With a 4-month-old child, this produces some what might be called asymmetric conversations, but I feel she's getting a lot out of them. Shana says that baby talk is useful too, but other people handle that. I'm not going there.

So Poulenc says something like "Aaah ur bleest" and I say, "I don't see how you can reasonably allege that. Everything is just fine around here."

"Brip awrrr eep."

"OK, you have a point. I concede your point of view on that matter. But the course of action you recommend is unwise."

"Lohwssss meeble urk."

"How about a compromise? How about, if I take you around the room again and show you the open window and the clown poster and the computer slide show and the cat, you'll drop your demand for a seat on the Security Council?" And she nods her head in what I take to be agreement, although it could be just her tipping forward, as is her wont, and we walk around the room again.