Decoding the Non-Verbal Child: A Guide for Parents and Loved Ones

by Jo on January 22, 2010

I love to talk.
Let me rephrase that.
I love to hear myself talk.  And I’m pretty damn good at it.  In fact, when coupled with what some may refer to as dangerous hand gestures, I am a communicating badass. 

I once had a group of friends bet that I couldn’t talk while sitting on my hands.  I took that bet, and promptly lost.  Apparently, talking with my hands was just as important, if not more so, than talking with my mouth.  My voice and my limbs worked hand in hand to relay important messages such as ”I can’t believe Sue kissed Bobby at Billy’s party. What a slut!” or “Dude, I nailed that last keg stand.” 

Ever the great communicator, (and obviously eloquent as hell) it has been a mild inconvenience to parent a non-verbal child.    I use the world mild only because this blog is not equipped to handle the kind of language that comes to mind when I discuss this particular issue.  So whenever you see the word mild, imagine it is preceded by       #@%##ing.  See if that helps to drive the point home.  Mildly.

I have quite a bit of experience now under my belt, with non-verbal communication.  And I feel obligagted to share my knowledge with you because I came up with what I think is a catchy post title and knew I had to follow it up with an actual post.  You are very spoiled and demanding readers that way.

So below are some basic non-verbal cues followed by their definitions.  Try some at your next dinner party to test personal boundaries and thin out that evite roster for your next event.

Hand Flapping:  Severe excitement.  Or overexposure to documentaries about migrating birds and/or windmills.  Either way, make sure you keep a safe distance.  I’ve seen speeds reach up to 55 F.P.M.  (Flaps Per Minute)

Head Banging:  Not to Metallica.  Like against a wall or other skull fracturing surface.  Usually indicates slight
annoyance.  As in, “I can’t believe we’re having chicken for dinner again, when clearly I prefer glazed ham.”

Hair Pulling:  Not his.  Mine.  Typically translates to “Hey dingbat, it’s 6:01 a.m. on a Saturday.  What do you think this is, the Hilton?  Get up and make me some breakfast bitch.”

Intense tapping:  Commonly used to indicate that what he lacks in vocabulary, he makes up in doing something over and over and over again until you’re not sure but you might possibly prefer to be skinned alive by red ants while drinking someone else’s snot.

Bright, Beautiful, Heart-Wrenching Grin:  A daily maneuver to remind me that no matter how frustrated I may get, I’m gonna love almost every arm-flapping-body-tapping-hair-pulling moment I spend with him.  An underhanded move that melts my heart each time the stinker uses it.

Because dammit (insert head banging)
he’s right.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

andrewfitkowski January 22, 2010 at 6:26 am

You nailed it. Well said.


Aggie January 22, 2010 at 7:05 pm

jo! once again, you managed to make me laugh outloud…AT WORK! And despite our little guys struggles, you bring light to the situation. I love you and you are such an amazing writer…when I get interviewd by E! for their "top 30 under 30" I will give you a should out…what? I cant dream? xoxo


TUC January 23, 2010 at 7:15 pm

We have a similar dictionary in this house. Thanks for the smile.


JourneyBeyondSurvival January 25, 2010 at 9:26 pm

I LOVE this! I love your humor, your insight, and your distinct personality. Our house is filled with words of love like that.


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