I have this problem...

Fighting his morning nap today.

I'm loathe to even say anything because I fear I'll sound like an asshole, but... Hollis irritates me.

There. I said it.

Some days, usually at some point in every day, he bugs the crap out of me and I have to talk myself out of the "Screaming Tree." What does this sweet cherub do? you ask? Well, he does this:


As in, "NA na na NAAAAAH na!" from when you were a kid. That nasally, sneering, jeering sound that you make at your friend whose ball you just stole - or rather that noise that horrible kid who just stole YOUR ball makes as he runs away just out of your reach. Hollis doesnt have the lilt like an older kid would, but it's the same nasal sound.

To Hollis, it's his catch all for "More food now, Mommy!!!" So, three times a day, for approximately 15 to 30 minutes, I must weather through constant "Na na na!!!"s. It drives me bat shit crazy.

I don't remember how long ago it was that we started teaching him baby sign language, but he knows the "more" sign. The only problem is that over the months of feeding him, he's learned that his multi-tasking mama doesn't always see his "more" sign, so he's come up with this lovely sound which ALWAYS gets my attention. In my earlier naivete, I would quickly look up (so better to make the sound stop) ask him "More?" with voice and sign and he would answer, "Na na na!" and magically, more food would appear on his tray.


I've created a freakin' monster. So now I'm trying to undo this bad habit I've created. Whenever he does that grating noise I will either a) turn my back and wait until ANY other sound comes out of his mouth or b) blithely ignore him and go about my business. - It's important to note that if I sat right in front of him and spoon fed him (which we graduated from months ago) this doesn't happen. I'm right there to see whenever he needs more and also to keep him engaged enough with eating that he doesn't notice his favorite bits aren't in front of him any more. But I can't always do that. Often I'm making more baby goulash or putting dishes away. I MUST multitask in order to get anything done around here. I have to choose which things are important and which aren't and I really try to make the right choices, but having a tidy house is crucial to my mental state. Really. So I have to manage this eating situation the best I can.

The funny thing that's come out of all of this is that since Hollis' awful noises I have begun to look up and make a "Shhhhh" sign with my finger to my lips. So now he'll yell, "Na na na" and then do his own "shhhh" thinking that's the new combo. It's better than just a loooong, annoying string of "Na na na" so I've been encouraging him to just make the "shhh" sign. It's audible enough for me to know he needs something, but totally not annoying. It's still a work in progress.

All this to say that, OF COURSE, I feel terrible for being annoyed. First of all, this is all my fault. If I'd had the wherewithal to foresee the outcome I'd never have given him any attention in the first place. Secondly, he's actually doing a really good job of communicating with his big people. But I still feel like a big (as my mother once called Anthony after he won a game of hearts) jerk-ass buttlicker.

I don't know what the difference is for me between his annoying communication at meal times and when he's Crank Master III due to teething. I have patience to rival that of Mother Theresa in the latter case. I also don't feel a stitch of ire when he melts down because I want to leave the garage and he has to come with me (the melt downs are relatively new). I wonder if it's the nasally tone that harkens to those days as a child and it's somehow universally irritating.

Until he actually starts speaking more I'm gonna keep encouraging the "Shhh" sign and sound, which by the way is adorably cute. It sorta sounds like he's hacking a loogey.


  1. I remember Paul David once telling me that the amazing, profound, love that you feel for a child once they start communicating with you is the only thing that keeps you from killing them. I don't think you should feel bad... unless you've killed him.

    This post, by the way, is one of the most awesome things I have read in the English language.

  2. It is even more irritating when they do this kind of thing at 10 years old. Don't worry, you will get past the guilt of being truly annoyed by your child soon.

  3. For what it's worth, I didn't even win that game of hearts. All I did to earn the "jerkassbuttlicker" moniker was to send the queen of spades her way. Well, maybe I was bit too gleeful when I did it...

    Anywho, maybe I'll post up a sound clip of ol' Hollis. It's not like there's a lack of recording opportunities.

  4. "jerkassbuttlicker" made me laugh out loud. mom is insane.

  5. Yeah, she is. I even logged her name-calling in the score book for posterity's sake. It says, "Mom called Anthony an ass-jerk buttlicker" down the margin. Apparently, I got "ass" and "jerk" mixed up. I do that sometimes.

  6. Westley does this, too! "Na na NA!" to mean, "Mommy, get me some more [fill in the blank]!" It makes me want to pull my hair out and die. Or at least self-medicate with some seriously potent illegal drugs. Which, of course, I don't do. I say, "Honey, I can't understand what you're saying when you yell at me." Or, "Yes, Westley, I haven't forgotten about you. More tofu is on its way." Or whatever.

    I think you're totally right to be irritated. Totally right.