It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Vocalizing Reality

We are an auditory family. Well, my husband and I are, and it shows. Sound matters. Volume hurts. (Except the right kind of volume. Certain music just begs to be played at volume.) And, without even being aware of it at first, we both respond to the things that happen around us with sound. Not words, always. Sounds.

A toddler swings a toy up and whaps themself in the face with it.

“Bonk!” my husband carols, and laughs. (So does the toddler.)

We are putzing about in the kitchen, and we back into each other. One or the other of us is certain to say, “Boof!”

A child in a hurry out the door careens off the doorframe on their way out. That’s a “Gonk!”

If something makes a noise — the door in our bedroom that creaks, no matter how much oil is fed into the hinges (“greeeeek”), an electronic gizmo alerting us to something (“boop-boop-boop”), the guinea pig whistling for food (“wheek! wheek!”) — we’ll echo it as we deal with it. Not every time, but often. Consciously, unconsciously.

Mostly unconsciously, until the toddlers start in. Anna, in particular has latched on to the auditoriness.

She drops something on her foot. “Uh-oh! Boom!”
She falls off the bench. “Ka-BOOM!”
Another child knocks down a block tower, and a block bounces off her knee when she’s caught in the shrapnel. “Bffshhhhh!” (Some of these sounds just don’t transcribe well…)
She bounces off the doorframe as we muddle about in the front hall getting shoes on. “Gonk!”

And every time, she laughs. Because vocalizing reality makes it funny. Even when it hurts.

November 7, 2007 - Posted by | Anna, quirks and quirkiness


  1. My husband and I do something similar all the time. That’s got to by why everytime my 17 month old son is told to sit down, he sits down, but it’s always with an ever so faint “wheeesh” sound.

    It just cracks us up!

    Comment by ~Sheryl | November 7, 2007 | Reply

  2. That’s so funny. I know all of the sudden Jeffrey has been saying hmmm after our names and I realized that when I’m unsure what to say next I fill the dead air with hmmm. I love the whooshing airplane noises and the zooming cars. It’s so wonderful to hear him vocalizing his way through the world!

    Comment by Dani | November 7, 2007 | Reply

  3. that’s pretty much how I deal with bumps and falls, too. Something about the sound effect distracts the kid from the impact and makes it okay.

    Comment by kittenpie | November 8, 2007 | Reply

  4. Michelle and I understand, we do much the same. Our cat is getting awkward in his old age and as he tumbles around the apartment it is to choruses of ooh thump boink etc… usually followed by poor kitty.

    Comment by Bill | November 13, 2007 | Reply

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