It’s been Christmas at our house since May. And no, we’re not those losers who keep their Christmas lights up until April; well, not ever since my husband threatened to ban any and all holiday decorating if I didn’t get the decorations put away in a timely manner. It is kind of my fault that the jack ‘o lantern sat on the porch until it rotted into a scrape-upable puddle sometime in mid-November, but that was years ago and I’ve changed my ways.
No, my daughter has a thing for Christmas carols, so the house, the car, her bedroom, all of it, are currently well-stocked with Christmas CDs in every musical device. Whenever her sister practices piano, our youngest tax-break will undoubtedly come into the room and demand a rousing rendition of “Jingle Bells.” It doesn’t matter that she’s wearing her swimsuit and is on the way to the pool.
Oddly enough, I did notice one thing about the ongoing HolidayPalooza today: a child who can barely speak full sentences in English due to profound autism can sing an amazingly accurate version of “Feliz Navidad.” And of “The Little Drummer Boy” a ‘la Faith Hill, complete with guttural country singer twang on each and every vowel. And the Latin parts of “Ave Maria.”
Years ago, while we were smack in the middle of the uber-lengthy process of having our daughter diagnosed with anything that we could possibly make sense of, my husband had an epiphany:
HIM: You know how our kid is pretty good-sized?
ME: Is that a fat joke?
HIM: No, it’s an age joke.
ME: Is there something funny I don’t know about?
HIM: Anyway, I was just wondering something. Don’t get mad.
ME: You know I’m going to get mad if you have to tell me not to before you even speak.
HIM: Really, I’m just curious about this. (dramatic pause) Is it even a little bit possible that she can’t talk because she doesn’t know English?
ME: (blank stare)
HIM: What if she actually speaks Portuguese, and we just don’t know how to speak her people’s language? (AUTHOR’S NOTE: I was really impressed that he could spell Portuguese, considering there’s an extra U in it, but then I remembered that he was talking out loud and he probably can’t actually spell it.)
ME: (more blank staring) (followed by a deep cleansing breath) Honey, remember when I gave birth to her and you couldn’t look because it was really gross?
HIM: (shudders) Uh-huh. (gagging noise at the memory)
ME: We weren’t in Portugal. We were in Alabama when that happened.
ME: So that means she would talk like anybody else in Alabama. We’re not Portuguese, ergo, we don’t speak Portuguese.
HIM: (blank stare)
ME: Kids speak whatever language the people around them speak. (slowing the words down because he still looks confused) There’s no way she speaks Portuguese.
HIM: Well, if you’re not even willing to think outside the box, don’t blame me…
The real problem is, whenever Tax Break the Second straps into her car seat and belts out the words to “Dona Nobis Pacem,” my smug-toned argument doesn’t hold water anymore. Okay, Einstein, let’s see you speak Latin with her…