Daddy: Funny, but not very good

A wistful young fellow

In my last post, I wrote about how the Little Monkey tells us when an animal noise is, in his opinion, “not right”. I thought I was being clever when, on being told that my elephant trumpeting was not up to snuff, I responded to my young critic with “Daddy’s not very good at elephants; Mummy’s better at elephants”. Being a little word sponge, he quickly picked up the phrase, and it seemed to assuage his irritation at my ineptitude at animal mimicry. (Although, to be fair, I do a pretty decent walrus, and my mooing is beyond reproach.) Which would be great, if he hadn’t started saying the phrase “Da-da not ver’ good” in isolation, without any context. I was merrily getting him dressed after his bath tonight when this phrase was quickly followed up with “Muh [Mummy] ver’ good”. I know it’s easy to erroneously project non-existent intentionality onto such utterances, but I got the impression he knew he was being cheeky. (Mrs. Monkeyshines denies coaching him, and I think I believe her…)

Waiting for a train in Thomas
hat and mittens

However, I do take consolation in the fact that I am deemed funny by the Little Monkey, indeed, sometimes I’m “ver’ ver’ funn'”. Moreover, I’m able to elicit this phrase at any time, due to some inadvertent Pavlovian conditioning. It started when we went to Saffron Walden museum, and the Little Monkey was playing in the sand pit (which contains various treasures to uncover archaeologist-style with a brush). When he’d had enough, I exaggeratedly brushed my hands together to get the sand off them, and to induce him to do the same. Which he did, finding the process absolutely hilarious. We did it over and over, long after the sand had gone, and eventually he told me “Da-da ver’ ver’ funn'”. Repeating the actions for his mother’s benefit, and on subsequent occasions, remains chucklesome sans sand, and he invariably repeats the phrase. So, when we have guests, all I need to do to get a bit of funny-dad kudos is brush my hands together…

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