Translating Corrigan’s “language” is a skill that I am constantly honing. There is one particular phrase he uses that no matter how hard I concentrate I can’t figure out what he is trying to tell me. He uses it frequently, with the same inflection every time, so I am hopeful one day it will come to me. Bless his heart, he rarely gets mad at me for not understanding.
Yesterday he came out of school with a series of new phrases that I was clueless as to his meaning. It went something like this…
“I tuh tic-cha!”
(then makes this clicking/lip smacking sound)
(garbled words here)
He repeated it many times on the way home and Sadie and I were unable to figure it out. When he learns something new in school, perhaps from a story or song, there is no real way for me to translate without bringing the phrase to the teacher. As I drove home I was asking him about his day and I remembered that he had Spring portraits taken that morning. Something clicked…
Me: “Corrigan, are you saying CHEESE?!?!?!”
Corrigan: (eyes get wide) CHEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!
So I think about the first part of his conversation. “I tuh tic-cha”
Me: I take your picture?
Corrigan: (super excited) CHEEEEEEEE!!!!!
Sadie and I deduced that the lip smacking sound must be the camera clicking and then his teachers yelling “yay!!”
Maybe??? It is so hard to tell. I can only imagine the difficulty any other photographer would have trying to take Corrigan’s photograph. When I want him to look at me for a photograph, I lay in wait like a safari photographer and have super sophisticated skills like fake sneezing, or holding up cards with letters that force the mouth to form a close approximation of a smile. The letter “B” works great for that trick. He looks at the card next to my camera, he loves letters, and says “Bee!” and I click at the right moment.
Voila! You think he is smiling!
Later, I got my camera out to snap a few shots of Corrigan laughing his butt off with Sadie while watching a Saturday Night Live skit and when he saw my camera he jumped off of her lap, ran up onto the couch and started all over again.
“I tuh tic-cha!” “Cheee!!!!!!” and smiling like the biggest goober on the planet. Not a fake “letter B” smile, but a real life smile. Smiling so hard his face might fall off and there I was, with a camera that won’t focus in my cave-like living room, and a kid that WANTS ME TO TAKE HIS PHOTOGRAPH. Most were so blurry, due to lighting conditions, that they are not really usable but I was thrilled at his willingness to participate in something as simple as a photograph!
Holy cow, I don’t know what voodoo tricks the teachers/photographer used yesterday but I owe you a million bucks. For a photographer, having a child that shuns the camera is the ultimate defeat. To have one suddenly willing to look straight at me and smile? I am amazed.
I can’t wait until he wakes up to try it again outdoors!