Family: Janet Christie’s Mum’s the Word

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Making sense... in their own words

Youngest Child and I are going into town shopping. At the Top of the Walk I say, as we pass, “look, the Paolozzi big foot sculpture has gone.”

“Yeah,” she says, “they’ll be moving it to The Foot of the Walk. About time. Never understood why they put it at the Top of The Walk and not The Foot. They must have got mixed up when he gave them it, ‘cos that’s where he’ll have meant it to go. And the wee woman in the Hibs scarf at The Foot can come up here,” she continues.

That’ll be the statue of Queen Victoria. Sounds like a plan.

It’s worth having children because they say things like that, keep you on your toes, saves you having to do drugs. They wrongfoot you out of your complacency as they try to make sense of the world, without even trying.

Whereas Middle Child is trying when we arrive back and he says,

“Would you like a muffit of tea?”

“A what? A muffin and tea?”

“No, a muffit… a muffit of tea. Would you like a muffit of tea?”

“Er, ok. I’ll have a... muffit of tea please.” I don’t care, he’ll mean a mug.

“Ha, ha, ha. You said muffit! That’s a Limmy thing, where you get people to say something nonsensical just because you say it. Let’s get everyone saying it…”

OK, so now muffit is in the family argot, much of it things that have stuck from when the kids couldn’t say the words. There’s ambliance for ambulance, buttock for bucket, ameral for animal, hippothomas for hippopotomas, ridonculous for ridiculous and something Youngest Child says for quadruple.

“I’ll just quadropole it.”

“What?” says Middle.

“Quadropole it.”

“You mean quadruple?”

“I mean times it by four. Quadropole,” she says.

“Right, it’s quadruple. That’s the word.”

“Oh! There’s a word! I never knew there was an actual word. I just made quadropole up myself ‘cos it sounds right.”

“Sounds better,” I say. “See that muffit of tea, quadropole it, and we’ll all have one.”