A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Jesus Loves Me

gool bus

tute titty

I regot







If you understand any of those words, congratulations… you speak Bucket Head.

If not, allow me to translate:

gool bus = school bus

tute titty = cute kitty

I regot = I forgot

no-ball = snow ball

nack = snack

woperate = cooperate

yater = later

nuggle = snuggle

wack = black

For those of you not playing along at home, I’ll summarize: he can’t really pronounce beginning blends, the letter “L,” or the hard “C” sound. I think it’s pretty cute. The kid is not even four years old yet, so I really hadn’t given it a second thought.

Until yesterday.

As if I didn’t have enough on my mind; particularly after realizing, at church, while in the midst of my assigned shift of Eucharistic Adoration, that the semi-clean jeans blindly retrieved from my bedroom floor that morning included a stow-away pair of dirty panties nestled in one of the pant legs. Apparently even Jesus needs a good laugh now and then.

Needless to say, after church I was not my usual confident self when I arrived at preschool to pick up Bucket Head. After a quick pat down in the parking lot to make sure there were no other sundry items hitchin’ a ride, I made my way through the throngs of noisy nannies, grannies, and professional SAHMs, to Ms. Evelyn’s classroom door. Cue unpleasant surprise number two…

Preschool Teacher: “Did you happen to sign Bucket Head up for the speech screenings next week?”

Me: “Noooooo. (perplexed look and tilt of head) Do you think I should????”

Preschool Teacher: “Well, yes.” (facial express: DUH.)

Me: “Oh my God, are you serious?” (a little slow on the uptake, as usual)

Preschool Teacher: “It’s just that I noticed he struggles with several different sounds and it would really help him to be ready for kindergarten if he could work on that.”

Me: (dry mouth, gulp, followed by disbelieving head shake) “I remember the flyer coming home in his backpack a few weeks ago, but I tossed it in the recycling bin thinking it didn’t apply to him. I mean, he’s only three. Surely this is just a developmental thing. Right?” (another painful dry gulp)

Preschool Teacher: (nervous smile and eye twitch)

Me: (rapidly and a little too close) “I mean, how bad is it?… compared to the other kids in your class.”

Preschool Teacher: (stepping back a bit and placing hands in the self-defense-ready position) “Well, I can’t discuss other students, but it couldn’t hurt to get the screening.”

Me: (suddenly realizing that I’ve frightened her) “Oh. Okay. I guess I’ll stop by the office and see if they have an extra flyer.” (big sigh)

Bucket Head: “See you yater, ayyigator!” (to Teacher, big smile and wave)

And…. scene.

Perhaps a woman of greater poise could have managed this information better, but unpleasant surprises aren’t really my thing. And two in one day? And immediately following an hour of alone time with The Blessed Sacrament? What… did I not pray hard enough? Did I pray for the wrong things? Is God punishing me for my slovenly ways and clingy panties? Or is this all just a coincidence…

I just don’t know.

But I can tell you this: it never feels good to hear “there’s something wrong with your child.” After three kids and several high-maintenance pets, you’d think I’d be used to it by now, but no… it is always a shot to the heart. Granted, I realize there are many many worse things a parent can hear, and I’m grateful that whatever this is or isn’t, it’s probably fixable. My heart and prayers go out to all the parents out there who are facing much scarier battles.

So today, in addition to vowing that I will put my skivvies in the hamper from now on, I give thanks to God for not giving me more than I can ever handle. Clearly he/she knows me all too well.  To Ms. Evelyn and all the teachers of the world who deliver difficult news to freaky parents, I salute you. Thank you for all the love and care you give to our children every day. And Jesus, you are welcome for the slapstick yesterday. Try the veal (just not on Friday). I’ll be here all week.

In prayerful thanksgiving and praise,


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris


  1. Jen Quon

    #1 Anyone who approaches your heartache with “there are much worse ___ out there” is really being insensitive. This isn’t about anyone else’s whatever out there, it’s about you and your SpiderMan. No one wants to hear that something even *might* be a concern, so feeling side-swiped is normal.
    #2 The panties in the pant leg is hilarious but only because it’s happened to me (they were discovered as they fell to the floor while I was walking – thank God no one saw and that they fit in my pocket).
    God bwess you & Spider Man!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Hi Jen – thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! “Side-swiped” is EXACTLY how I am feeling. Glad someone gets it. So funny that you’ve had a similar experience with the stow-away panties. Knew I couldn’t be the only one!

  2. laura lee

    I busted my husband correcting my youngest’s pronunciation of “wittle” to “little”. I tore him up.
    “There are no more babies in our house, it’s all I have. Back away from the L sound .”

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh, I so get that! I need to keep my baby as long as I can or I’m going to turn into one of those kooks who is smelling strange baby heads at the grocery store. We’re all working very hard to “role model” correct pronunciation instead of correcting mispronunciations… s’posed to be better for the ol’ self esteem, I guess. (Don’t rat me out, but when nobody is around, I still say “Hey ‘Pider-Man, wanna ‘nuggle wif me?”)

  3. toni carter

    I loved reading your comments. Two of my favorite wittle kids glide or reduce or something..can we wun on the wack…run on the track (can we) and one of them refused to tawk all kidnergarten year..we were all patient and now Jack is wack!
    When my son was recommended for speech 25 years ago i remember bursting into tears. We still have the christmas decoration she made for my son..hang in there

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thanks, Toni! Yes, me too… so devastating at first, but looking back, I don’t know why I was so upset. We love speech class and it is such a joy to watch him improve little by little. Thanks for the encouragement!

  4. Lava

    On the panties–BTDT! Roughly a million years ago, walking down the hospital hall to visit my grandmother, something flies out of my pants leg…you got it! Quick recognition, bend, swoop, pick up, slip into pocket, turn beet red, get asked by passing nurse if I’m “feeling alright”…yeah!

    And Bucket head will do fine! My 5YO has had multiple speech and developmental evaluations and I don’t bother asking anymore. They apparently don’t like to qualify middle-class white homeschooled kids for services in our area because he always magically passes. They would tell me stuff he said at evaluations that I know darn well he can’t say correctly…and say he’s just acting out for mom’s attention…whateva!

    My favorite time is when I start to believe he’s “on track” after the insist it repeatedly despite my gut feelings…and the next visit when I don’t bring it up and a different person says, “Has he had X, Y, or Z study, evaluation or therapy done yet?” and yeah, my gut drops. Every. Single. Time. Freaking roller coaster of fun.

    I read a lot and we try to do home speech (and other) therapy and it seems to slowly help…he talks better than Bucket Head now but I still have to translate a lot. He still likes to eat “cheese dicks” and asks “what you said?” when he didn’t hear me…and I have a list too. I’m sure he and BH would have quite the conversation 🙂
    BTW, if you want to work on speech skills at home with BH, I highly recommend the Baby Babble videos and Signing Times video series. We encourage my little Monkey Head to watch them and participate with our younger kid “to help the baby learn to talk.” Of course since you have an actual SLP on your side ask them first!

  5. Val

    I know this is an old post, I found you via Schmutzie’s Friday Five, and then followed a ton of your link backs to your older posts.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say my son is 4, and he’s been in speech for about a year now. We just reviewed his IEP, and are continuing 2x/week for another year. He’s come so far, but he has a long way to go. He has a little dysfluency going on [stuttering, both partial word and full word] and he’s currently working on his V blends, having just finished S blends, and he’s still having some trouble remembering to push his lips out for the “sh” sound. But knowing the progress that I have seen makes me feel so much better about those initial “what do you mean my baby is not perfect” gut reactions I had when we first started talking about his speech. Ugh. So hard to hear it.

    I’ve added you to my RSS feed – can’t wait to follow you, and do some reading of your past posts too. 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris

      Thank you Val! Yes, it is incredible how much improvement my little Bucket Head has made in his one year of Speech Therapy so far! Thanks for relating to that initial shock. Glad you found me and liked my blog enough to poke around in the archives. That makes my day!

© 2022 The Bearded Iris

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑