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Sound Bites

November 21, 2011

“Apple Juice, Apple Juice!” Joy exclaims, requesting her out-of-reach-cup at the table before succumbing to the irresistible meter of her own words. “What do you see? I see a red bird looking at me!” (quoting Martin/Carle Brown Bear)


“I have a sock!” I announce as I dress Joy. “Where does a sock go? On your head?”

Joy laughs her “Don’t be ridiculous!” laugh.

“Does a sock go on your elbow?” I ask, resting it there.

Joy laughs again, shaking her head.

“No!” I articulate for her. “Silly Mama! My sock goes on my foot,” I say, touching the sock on her foot.

“Left foot, left foot! Right foot, right! Feet in the morning and feet at night!” Joy responds. “Up feet! Down feet! Here come clown feet!”


When she wants to get my attention, Joy often says, “Llama, Llama Red Pajama, weeping wailing for his Mama!”


Sometimes  Joy’s powers of auditory-verbal free association fail her.

Like in Swahili.

Last night, at Bethlehem’s 140th anniversary celebration she listened intently to Baba Yetu (sung here by a children’s choir in Tanzania), growing more and more excited, then belted out the Alphabet Song at top voice along with the choir.


A year ago Joy first bestowed the first word in what over the past year has become a torrent of pre-recorded language. Appropriately enough, the word was “water” and I wasn’t being metaphorical when I titled the post Here I Am to Worship.


A three years ago, when the impulse to speak flickered across Joy’s mind, it brushed the file where she’d stored the numbers one through ten. Earnestly, she’d look up into my face and say, “One, two, three, four…” with expression and conviction. And once she reached “…ten!” –if she could remember what she wanted to say before the impulse tickled and the numbers got in her way –she might blurt out, “More!”


One through ten are now relegated to less vulnerable storage; Joy only brings them out when she wants to chant numbers. When she does, she counts all the way from zero to thirty-two before a neuronal glitch kicks in and sends her back to “twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five…” all the way up to thirty-two and back to twenty-three yet again.

Sort of like Sisyphus perennially pushing the rock up hill. Except Joy doesn’t mind one bit.  In fact, she thoroughly enjoys it.

Maybe like we’ll never tire of singing “Hallelujah!” in Heaven.

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