b Papa Dog's Blog: Tile, Grout, and Porcelain

Papa Dog's Blog

A Thing Wherein I Infrequently Write Some Stuff

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Tile, Grout, and Porcelain

In our own ways and for our own reasons, we’ve been inadvertently teaching Baby Dog about bathroom fixtures. Mama Dog’s story is utilitarian. To make it easier to dry Baby Dog off after the bath, Mama Dog has her stand on the bath mat and grip the tub while being towelled off. “Hands against the porcelain,* young lady,” Mama Dog says, and Baby Dog obligingly takes a grip and assumes the position. It’s their little ritual. My story springs from my fascination with Baby Dog’s rapid grasp of language. I’m forever introducing new words to her, pointing things out and telling her what they’re called, just to see what sticks. It all sticks. One bath time some weeks back I got bored with talking about Bud and the ducky and pointed out the tile and the grout to her. She repeated “Drout” quickly, but took a while to get tile. I told her that the grout holds the tile in place, that if it weren’t for the grout the tile would just fall off the wall. That exhausted my technical knowledge of tile and grout, but she seemed interested anyway.

One of our great parenting discoveries has been the magical power of “bye-bye.” Previously if Baby Dog had hold of a favoured toy or book, we had the devil of a time getting her to put it down and go to bed or bath or meal or whatever. If we took it away, she’d scream and cry and generally tantrum. Finally we realised that all we had to do was ease the parting. “Okay, we’re going to have supper now,” we’d say, “say ‘bye-bye’ to Bud.” She’d drop the piggy toy to the floor instantly and say, very sweetly, “Bye-bye, Bud.”

The other night at bath time’s end, I picked her up in the towel, and she left her bath toys behind. I expected her to say bye-bye to Froggie or Bud or Ducky, but instead she said, “Bye-bye, tile! Bye-bye drout!” Then she put her hands on the tub, looked back at me, and said “Porcelain.”
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*Mama Dog wants it to be known that the tub is actually enamel. Why she said “porcelain” is a question she’ll have to answer herself.

2 Comments:

Anonymous big sister said...

I think porcelain is a great word. Our kids claim that all their friends have decided that our family has an unusually varied vocabulary. They call some phrases "Wilsonisms" (usually involving movie quotes used to express a certain idea ie Going to be, going to be (from the Time Bandits - to get the idea across that something is in the development stage). Use of language is an art and can create a family language like a runnign in joke. I am thrilled to hear everything that the wee one is learning.

4:56 AM  
Anonymous Mama Dog Duvalier said...

I guess my preference of "porcelain" over "enamel" is rooted in my affinity for that old list of euphemisms for vomitting,* one of which was "worshipping the porcelain god." In that case, however, the porcelain item was a toilet.


*from The Preppy Handbook, circa 1981.

8:57 AM  

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