Not even tiny, invisible, no-leg baby goats can save 3-year-old Duncan from Mommy’s tyranny…
When Duncan was a toddler, he hated to be restrained in anyway. He abhorred his carseat, refused to ride in the stroller, never accepted a high chair, and even tried to get out of holding my hand when crossing streets. As his verbal skills improved, he attempted to talk his way out of these situations, often with hilarious results. He had a lot of trouble pronouncing certain sounds, sometimes making him difficult to understand. However, anyone who spent enough time with him soon learned that he substituted a d-sound for many initial consonants and this was the key to interpreting Duncanese (e.g. “dove” for “love”; “doh-nup” for “grownup”; “deepin'” for “sleeping”; or “awe dawn” for “all gone”).
One day I was out running errands with 3-year-old Duncan and 10-month-old Milo. We needed to cross a busy parking lot, but Duncan was refusing to hold my hand.
“Duncan, hold my hand in the parking lot,” I said. Duncan clenched his fists and pulled away from my reaching hand.
“No! I dannot!” he said.
“Cuz I is holdin’ doats!”
“No, not ‘doats’, doats! Baby doats!”
“Imbisible baby doats.”
“Invisible baby goats?”
“Des, dat what I day: doats.”
“Huh… well, Dunky, why don’t I hold one of your invisible goats so you have a free hand to hold mine?”
“No! My tiny, tiny imbisible baby doats ‘cared of you. Dey not dike doh-nups.”
“Duncan, you may not cross the parking lot without holding my hand. Put your goats down until we get to the other side, please.”
“But dey dan’t walk all by dey delfs!”
“Dey not have degs!”
“What? What happened to their legs?”
“Oh… dey jus’ babies. Dey not doh degs det.”
“They didn’t what?”
“Duncan, I’m not joking around, buddy. Your baby goats need to grow legs right now so they can walk.”
“Okay, then figure out some other way for me to hold your hand… or else I’m going to hold your wrist while we are in the parking lot, and I know you don’t like that.”
Duncan looked down fondly at his empty hands and pretended to kiss his goats.
“I dorry, Mommy, I not dan make dat deal.”
I proceeded to take him firmly by the wrist and march him across the parking lot. Duncan shouted and resisted the whole way, shrieking, “Ow! Ow! Stop! Mommy, you is hurtin’ my tiny, imbisible, no-deg, baby doats! Help! Help! My doats not dike youuuuuu!”