Talking Polish

That’s polish, as in nail polish. Or polish a silver teapot. Or speak in a polished manner.

It’s been a buzzy morning already. Upon waking, Jonah often operates on a level akin to someone who’s had four shots of espresso. In a row. Within five minutes. He may still be coming down from the party high of last night. We hosted a department picnic. He acted as greeter, tree climber, and creative hamburger maker. We even went on a walk after the bash to moderate the rush. After that, some time with Busytown (J wants to drive Lowly Worm’s apple car. I’m partial to Pig Will and Pig Won’t’s Sausage-moblile) was in order. He even watched a little Doc Martin with John and I.

So after a little time with the iPad after waking (around 6:30 a.m.), it was time to get outside again. Some sun and some sky and a swing from the Three Sisters (our backyard tree) was in order. Barefoot of course. Interesting conversation ensued, as it often does when J finds a soothing way of moving.

“What’s polish?” he asks.

I talk about rubbing something until it shines. I say something about clean and beautiful.

“What’s talking polish?” he returns.

(How great is that? He conceives it in terms of speaking a language.)

“Speaking in a polished way,” I answer, “means that you choose your words carefully. That you speak in an eloquent manner.”

He swings awhile, shoving off from one trunk of the tree and making a wide arc to push off from from the smaller trunk two feet over. This, in itself, is a feat John and I marvel at almost daily. The way he uses his legs as a rudder—how he hardly ever slams his body into the trunks, managing to spin precisely (in what appears to be an indiscriminate way) so that he can push off with his feet. For a kid with “poor motor planning” he’s rather advanced in this arena. Almost genius.

“Teach me how to talk polish,” he commands, as if it’s French or pig-Latin.

“You have to practice,” John replies. “It’s not like an app you download. It takes time and years. You need to read lots of Shakespeare.”  He walks by Jonah on his way to the garage, on his way to the gym.

“How do you say ‘Hi’ in polish?”

“How now, father?” John answers.

Later, at the gate, as John is backing out of the driveway:

“How do you say goodbye in polish?”

“Fare thee well,” he pronounces, pulling away.


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