Whisper 1.36


It’s winter, and we throw a gift exchange. The pile of presents stands taller than Bobobo.

Mike Nix cheers. “Maybe I’ll finally get a guitar!” he says. I hope so, though I don’t spy any guitar-case shaped boxes.

We invite Chet again, and he continues to ignore Marigold. “That’s OK,” she tells me. “Let’s think of him as a family friend, not my particular friend.”


When the holidays are over, I settle in to a regular routine with teaching Bobobo. I learned from my experience with Marigold, and so we follow set times for activities and set times for bed. I’m hoping that maintaining a schedule will make it easier for him when he starts school.


He’s so quick, and he masters walking within an afternoon.

I have a hard time keeping his attention while practicing talking with him, so I just start rambling on about articles I’d been reading.

“And so it does seem that some plants benefit from toxic radiation,” I say.

“Toxic radiation,” he repeats, saying his first words.


“Bobobo! You said something! I love you!”

“I love it.”

“What do you love?”

“Toxic radiation!” He giggles.


I’m guessing he doesn’t know what the words mean and he just likes the sound of them.

When it’s story time, he asks for “Plant Book.”

I find a picture book with drawings of ferns and flowers, and I make up a story for him.

“The fern said, ‘I will shade your bed,’ and the little brownie piled up the leaves into a nice mattress and fell sound asleep, with sweet dreams of clover flowers.”


While he plays, he likes to hear me sing the barley song.

“Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow.
Oats, peas, beans, and barley grow.
Nor you, nor I, nor any can know
How oats, peas, beans, and barley grow.”


When I finish, he sings his own version.

“Toxic radiation, oh!
Sky is blue, the clouds are go.


“Nor you nor smile
Nor any go-go


“Goodbye go go
Toxic oh!”


“What are you singing about, little sprout?” I ask.

“People bye-bye. Plants grow sky high! That’s toxic ray-dee-ay-shon-Oh!”


I feel a little alarmed. He doesn’t really understand what he’s saying, does he? He’s just a baby.

I watch him later when he’s sleeping in his sister’s arms, like an angel. I’m sure he just likes the sounds of the words, without comprehending their meaning.


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