[Note: I apologize for the lateness of this posting. My phone service has been out the past two days.]
It seems as though every few months, you hear about one political group or another threatening to fillibuster something.
Let me tell you, the politicians have nothing on a 3 year old.
We’ve been trying to teach C not to interrupt for about a year now. If J and I are talking to each other, he’s supposed to wait for a pause, say “excuse me”, and then wait until one of us acknowledges him before he talks. This may not sound too difficult to you, but, believe me, for a 3 year old, it’s darned near impossible.
He has been doing pretty well. His only serious problem is that he really can’t bring himself to wait until we pause before he says “excuse me” – and then he feels compelled to say it over and over again until we shut up.
We’re working on that.
The more amusing thing is that once he has the floor, so to speak, he really doesn’t want to give it up. He knows that if he pauses any one of us – even his little brother – could say “excuse me”. Then he’d have to wait his turn to talk again.
His solution to this is a fast-paced, almost rythmic, stream of consciousness. By way of example, here’s a typical bit of conversation.
C: “Excuse – excuse – excuse me! Excuse me. Excuse me. Excuse me!”
C: “Can I talk?”
Me: “Of course! What would you like to talk about?”
C: “Um, umm… The train. Yeah, the train. It was on the track, and it drove past. And it had a lot of cars, and there were people. And, and, and there were cows. Yeah cows. Cows in the field. And they said ‘Mooo’…and, and, and then Mr. Banks? He was mean…”
The unfortunate thing, you see, is that even though he’s desperate to talk he often doesn’t actually having anything to say.
When he’s suddenly given the opportunity, he feels like he has to come up with things as fast as he can. When he gets stumped, he repeats “um” or “and” until some new idea comes to him. These new ideas usually involve Tarzan, trains, cows, or pirates. When he does wind down, it’s usually because he’s out of breath. Don’t feel bad for him, though. I’ve seen him go for a good five minutes, while a table full of adults watches and tries to figure out when to nod politely.
Now that’s a fillibuster.