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    The Darndest Things: Q. Finds Her Voice

    November 4, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    When Q. first starting talking, we used to call her Marble Mouth. She knew a ton of words for such a tiny thing, but no one could understand much of it except her mother and sometimes her mother’s mother {it’s a woman thing} because she wouldn’t open her mouth but the slightest bit. And then around 18 months or so, her lips were loosened, and she spoke much more clearly.

    By two years of age she spoke well enough that others could understand her.

    However, I never, ever, ever had a problem with her talking during reading. This was mostly because she was emphatically not interested in books. Between birth and 18 months, I had thought she was like her brother E. and had a future in reading. But with toddlerhood came a complete rejection of the written word, or sitting in general. She would only stay on my lap for maybe two or three pages before she was off again, doing her own thing. If she was very, very tired, perhaps she would sit in my lap for a short book, stone silent.

    And this was fine with me.

    But suddenly, lately, she has regained interest, especially in picture books. This seems to correlate with her recent mastery of her colors, shapes, and animal names.

    There is only one problem.

    I don’t know how else to put this: Q. has become a chatter box. School lately consists of me telling her over and over and over to please stop talking.


    Stop talking!


    It’s like she is completely oblivious to the fact that she is doing it.

    The older children find it slightly annoying because it takes some of the charm away from the plot to have constant interruptions.

    One recent evening, for instance, A. begged for her one millionth reading of Chanticleer and the Fox. Here is how it went:

    First page: We meet the widow.

    Q. asks: Why her husband died, My Mommy?

    Second page: We meet the family’s farm animals.

    Q. shrieks: Pigs!

    Third page: We learn about the family’s living and eating habits.

    Q. points out the fire, the table, the girls, the broom, and ends by asking why the room is so dark.

    Fourth page: We meet Chanticleer the rooster.

    Q. identifies every color on the rooster, then says cock-a-doodle-doo.

    Fifth page: We meet Chanticleer’s seven hen wives.

    Q., having heard the story before, begins to ask me where the fox is, and also where has that pig gone to?

    Sixth page: Chanticleer has his bad dream.

    Q.: Where is that fox, people? And the pig? Where is the pig??

    Seventh page: Chanticleer walks in his pride.

    Q. lets all of us know that the fox is, indeed coming soon. Also, where is the pig?

    Eighth page: We see the fox for the first time, lurking in the bushes.

    Q.: THE FOX!!!

    Ninth page: The fox flatters Chanticleer.

    Q. points out the fox, asks about the pig again, and also declares that the fox is “bad.”

    Tenth page: The fox’s flattery works, and the fox grabs Chanticleer by the neck and carries him off for dinner.

    Q.: Why that fox bite Chant-kweer? Where the pig go?

    Eleventh page: The hens freak out and the great chase begins.

    Q.: Cows! Chickens! Red! Blue! Green! {Pointing, ever pointing, all over the page. Can anyone see? I cannot. No one can.}

    Twelfth page: All of the barn animals get in on the chase.

    Q.: PIGS!!! {And also red and blue…and green…and also brown…and trees.}

    Thirteenth page: The neighbor’s farm animals get in on the action and raise a ruckus.

    Q.: Why dat goose fwying? What do bees say?

    Fourteenth page: Chanticleer tricks the fox.

    Q.: FOX!!!

    Fifteenth page: Chanticleer and the fox both tell us what they learned through the use of clever dialog.

    Q.: What that blue thing? {I tell her it is the sky, so she proceeds to ask me why it is there.}

    Sixteenth page: Warm family reunion between the widow and Chanticleer {THE END}

    Q.: Where dat pig go, My Mommy?

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  • Reply Brandy Afterthoughts November 6, 2009 at 10:05 pm


    I have had “lap wars” before also. Lately, the girls are submitting to my method of having them take turns throughout the day.

    It is difficult to read a book during a lap argument! 🙂


    You give me something to look forward to, then…though I do dread them growing up…


    I am, I am. I tell you, if I could freeze time right now, I think I would…Everybody is in a fun stage these days.


    This particular child really is this funny! 🙂 I heard her practicing saying “Chanticleer” today. Variations included her old standby “Chant-kweer” and also “Cantickle” and “Can-CLEAR.” I don’t think she ever did get it right, but she was sure trying. It didn’t help that her older siblings were leading her astray on purpose!


    I love it, too! The hardest part during storytime is that I can’t stop giggling at her, which frustrates Mr. Serious to no end.

    Of course, my personal theory is that God continued to give him siblings to help him loosen up…

  • Reply Dominic and Kimberly November 6, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    I just love it! Although outbursts can be tough to handle with a group, I just love, love, love how she is interacting with the reading!

  • Reply Rachel R. November 6, 2009 at 6:00 pm

    I know that must get really exasperating after a while, but you wrote it so well, it is hysterical to read! And her childish speech patterns are so cute.

  • Reply Lynn B. November 6, 2009 at 3:37 am

    Oh my, that made my day. Mine are 20, 18 and 10 now, and nobody chatters at me like that anymore.

    I’d pay a hefty price for one more morning of that. It’s precious. Lap it up, my friend.

  • Reply Gretchen Joanna November 5, 2009 at 3:23 am

    hahahahahaha….I had/have one of those. Now she is the only one of my five grown children who calls me almost every day and chatters away. I like it these days.

  • Reply Kansas Mom November 5, 2009 at 3:08 am

    Second Daughter gets upset, rushing across the room and immediately attacking, if any at time during the day First Daughter climbs onto my lap. Second Daughter tries (usually successfully) to push her right off. It’s a bit difficult to balance a book and two quarreling girls on a lap, even mine (which isn’t what anyone would call small).

    Luckily, First Daughter doesn’t listen to the stories that often.

    By the way, I love this book!

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