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Say what?

My three-year old son hasn't quite grasped the English language yet. I never know what new word or phrase he's going to come up with.

"Momma, can I want some candy?"

"Sure, you can want all the candy you like!"

He really surprised me while visiting with Grandma recently.

"Momma, Grandma is going to help me play craps!"

"Excuse me?"

"CRAFTS!" Grandma corrected.

Just this afternoon he ran past me wearing the new hat he crafted with Grandma, yelling, "I'm a nude racer!" I haven't figured that one out yet.

But it's not just my kids that I can't understand. I recently got a phone call and all I can tell you is that the guy's name was Victor. Oh, and he had my name right, too. But after the short introduction, I have no idea what was said.

"I'd like tatockayou about goododotcom."

"I beg your pardon?"

"I likeatockayou about goododotcom."

"I'm sorry. I don't understand."

"Goododotcom."

"Sorry?"

Now he speaks loudly and succinctly: "I LIKE A-TOCK A-YOU ABOUT GOO-DO-DOT-COM."

"Sir?"

Click.

I'm only thirty-seven but half the problem is that I can't hear most things that are not above a dull roar. The kids have me trained that way. That's why my twelve-year old daughters have taken to muttering and winking at each other. I think they're up to something, but I can't be sure...

My husband's hearing must really be suffering. He's always telling me to speak up, but I can hear me just fine. And I can always hear him because he bellows three decibels higher than that dull roar of the kids that I told you about. I don't know exactly how many pancakes and toasted cheese sandwiches I have flipped to the ceiling when he bellows at my elbow, but I've got a nice edible mosaic going there.

And yet, this is just the beginning. My father is sixty-four and already he just nods his head and smiles. He hasn't got a clue as to what people are saying unless my mother is standing next to him shouting out what everyone says so he knows what's going on.

"Hey, Dad. Want some ice cream?"

"ICE CREAM! DO YOU WANT ICE CREAM?"

"Chocolate, mint or van--"

"SHE SAID CHOCOLATE AND MINT!"

"Do you have vanilla?" my dad asks, and my mom, forgetting that I don't need a translation, shouts, "DO YOU HAVE VANILLA?"

Is it any wonder that my mom is hoarse at the end of the day? She's so used to shouting that people think she's got a hearing problem.

"Hi, Grammy. How are you?"

"FINE!!"

It startles the little one right out of his 'nude racer' chant. But he quickly warms up to her when he sees her pull out her box of colored paper, glue and scissors.

"Grammy? Can you help me make a -"

"CRAFT!" everyone shouts.

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