Thursday, January 04, 2007

A question of phonetics.

There's this sound that kids make and I don't know enough about phonetics to write it down so you recognise it. It's that thwarted, not-fair noise they make. You might write it as "ohh" but when I read that I feel it would rhyme with no so I don't think that's right. A bit closer to the or in for maybe? Or the aw in saw? Do you know the noise I mean? Please feel free to post your phonetic suggestions.

I like this noise. Even though 9 times out of 10 I am the one causing the kids to make it. Currently, I'm enjoying the difference in the way they make it . Climber (nearly 6) makes it almost good-humouredly, particularly if he's just made what we both know is an ambit-claim request, as in:

CLIMBER: May I have some icecream? (well, sometimes he says Can I have but he has been known to use May I so he gets the benefit of the doubt here)
SG: No!
CLIMBER: Ohhh (or/aw) .. Why not?
SG: Because it's nearly dinnertime.
CLIMBER: Ohhh (or/aw) .. Not fair..

All said without malice or indeed any carry-on as he wanders back happily to his lego. It is almost like he makes the noise automatically as the fitting thing to say when a parent denies his wants. He doesn't even bother to sound cross when he makes it. But he always makes it.

Cherub, on the other hand, makes much more dramatic use of the noise. He is, after all, 3, and coming to the height of his small-person powers. So should I say No to one of his requests (usually a request to watch telly) he hurls himself face downward at the nearest surface, raises his voice several decibels and declaims Ohh (or/aw) after which there could be a cry of Not Fair or noisy sobs or both.

I think this photo highlights the difference in their personalities! Little Master Dramatic and the Laid-back Dude. This is them farewelling Grandma Margaret at the airport.

She came to stay with us over New Year. Apart from catching up with us, she also got to hang out with her brothers and sisters, because one sister turned 60 and one of my cousins got married. Our family background is Catholic so there are lots of cousins and they nearly all get married. So we get to see Mum fairly regularly even though she lives in Sydney.

One of these days we'll make it up to Sydney to visit her. In the meantime, she'll be back again for the Climber's 6th birthday and in March when another cousin is due to tie the knot!

My mother hasn't yet had the opportunity to be the mother of the bride or groom. None of her 3 have said "I do" as yet. Possibly because we weren't raised as Catholic the way the cousins were? I don't know. But my brother is getting married this year. On a cruise ship, at his fiancee's request. I feel like a cruise-ship wedding is the equivalent of eloping. Hardly anyone attends because you have to stump up at least $2,000 per person just to get on the boat. But it now sounds like there will be some sort of wedding dinner in Melbourne when the cruise ship swings by so that the large extended family can say "congratulations" to the happy couple.

As for my sister and I ... well I suppose you could say she's engaged. But due to her son's diabetes, her second pregnancy and other complications, their wedding just hasn't happened.

And me? Well nobody has ever asked me. I know, hard to believe.

I'm happy not being married as such.

But my Inner Princess is slightly insulted that no-one's ever asked her..

You could even say that she's feels a bit, you know, like it's Not Fair ... I can hear her now, actually. She's saying ohhh!


  1. So glad you have returned!

    I see you have flickr now- or did you always have it?
    I tried to get it, even got a password etc, but couldnt get the pics to upload.
    Idiot malfunction I suppose!

    Hey what a glamourous Grandma your mother is! Love those pics at the airport.

    I do know the noise you mean- SG uses it & it is almost a matter of form to say it regardless of how they feel.

  2. Sounds like someone's hinting .. does Mr Fix-It read the blog ? ;)

    As for Stomper-the-Younger .. mein got ! - it looks like he's making stabbing motions at Grandma at the airport. Scary .. or perhaps even soothing, depending on the relationship ( har, har )

    I like weddings, but only 'other peoples', as I enjoy the free food and laffs at the expense of a simple gift.

    So i'd be voting: "elope" ;)

  3. oh .. unless you want cool gifts, then definately do the invite-wedding.

    We've been to a few lately that have had me nudging the husband and saying "cool gifts, we should get married again!"

    hmm - or .... not ! ;)

  4. Regional dialects aside, here it's 'AW-wah', with the second w only hinted at and the second syllable almost pronounced like the 'woo' in woof.

  5. Ovah heah it's more of a "OH-aww!" wherein the "o" is like in "got."


  6. Oh Stomper that was a wonderful post. I love a story that goes full circle.

    By the way, could you send me your fabulous pair of pins (legs). You could have my lumpy affairs and dance them into submission!

    I know what you mean about the inner princess wanting her day - but, as I'm sure you already know, it's really a lot of hard work for a few hours. I'd rather a weekend away with my love, swanky hotel, day spa and champagne (and it would still be cheaper too!)

  7. Meggie, I'm sure my mother will be very chuffed at being called glamorous. It is, of course, an inherited gene, the glamour one! I've had Flickr a while now and had no problems, so keep trying!

    H&B - Didn't you enjoy your wedding? Agree that Cherub does look a bit psychotic in that shot, I'm sure his eyes are glowing red!

    Phonetic suggestions are good, thankyou Joke and Daysgoby! I see the sound is universal in that you knew what I meant by it...

    Thankyou Nutmeg. I think my Inner Princess just wants her moment. Possibly also some jewellery to accompany the moment. She's probably a bit too lazy and disorganised to want a whole day!

  8. Just wait Stomper Girl. The use of 'ohhh/aw' comes full circle. I use it on my kids now when they say "Can you take me to the movies and can we pick up Rachel and Isaac and Alana on the way. Oh, and can you pick us up at 11pm when it finishes? Could we stop for drive through on the way home?"


  9. No one's ever asked me either. I had to do the asking myself. (All together now ... "awwwww")

    Actually now that I think back, a previous boyfriend didn't actually ASK, but just talked as if it were assumed. (It wasn't).

  10. Does this mean you're not harbouring an Inner Princess, or is she just okay with doing the asking?

  11. I have been asked by 3 different (very different) men to get married.

    Problem was, the first 2 were actually commitment phobic and never followed through. They did me a favour though, they were both mega losers.

    I was 41 before I received a proposal that stuck and followed through with. And in all honesty, the longer it takes, the braver you get. "oh, no, I don't want the big wedding thing anyway, if I ever get married, it will be low key". Crap, actually. I enjoyed our middle of the road white wedding. It wasn't over done, but not minimalist either. A lot of fun to organise and enjoy on the day.

    But Stomper, finding the guy who will make a commitment to you (with or without the piece of paper) is the hard part. It seems to me that your Mr Fixit is a keeper, marriage or not.

    Marriage don't make em stay if they don't want to stay!

  12. On a percentage basis, the happiest marriages in my circle of acquaintance have been those where the girl asked the boy. Next on that list have been those where teh boy did the whole down-on-one-knee thing.

    It surely would have been easier on me if TFBIM had done the asking, on my knees anyway.


  13. MrV didn't ask either, he just handed a ring over to me and when I asked him what it was for, he replied "you know why". Now, everytime one of our friends is proposed to or proposes to someone in a particularly romantic way I glare at him (MrV).

    oh, and it's pronounced "aaaouw" over this way, though the FB is more likely to say Rats! or Bother!

  14. Aunty, agreed Fixit is a keeper. I have no problem with the state of our union and no desire for the piece of paper. It's this damn IP, she's just overloaded on too much romantic fiction and cinema; she's wondering why no-one's ever hidden jewellery in her dessert or hired a sky-writer or preferably declaimed love in an earnest slightly cranky way, ala Colin Firth!

    Velcro, clearly your IP and mine would be kindred spirits.

    Joke, the IP is kinda eye-balling your missus now and wondering what her secret is. And then pathetically going off to sulk, wondering why I don't inspire that sort of behaviour?

  15. It's complicated, but I'll give it a whirl...even if telling you is like revealing how the magician does the trick, thereby wrecking the illusion.


    It's all marketing, organizational behavior and paranoia on my part. I love her so much that I muster all my knowledge to make sure she's as happy as can be.

    So I find out what sorts of things within my powers would make her happy, and I provide her with them at random intervals when she's being extra wonderful.

    So, she may get a bunch of roses out of the blue, or I'll surprise her by arranging for a spa day thing when she's been working 60 hour weeks, or maybe just sneaking little notes in hidden spots in her purse or folders.

    Part of it is to compensate for the fact I am not all that easy to live with. I am "impossible" and opinionated, insomniacal, unorthodox, fanatical and obsessive about my interests, frank about her friends [eye roll] and utterly baffling to shop for.

    Oh, and I make her try new foods all.the.damned.time.

    So, you see, I must compensate.

    Underwhelming, wannit?


  16. Are you saying that if I want the romantic hero sweeping me off my feet with romantic romance, the payoff involves putting up with a lot of bad behaviour on said romantic hero's part?

    Is there a compromise somewhere? Like a romantic potion I could slip Fixit, efffective just for one day?

  17. Ask him, and then elope. No mess no fuss. Or not! Oh, it's the being *asked* that's the issue. I'd be getting one of your adorable boys to ask HIM the hard question, ie why he's never asked you ;-)

  18. I got asked, & asked again- several times, in fact. Different Fellas.
    I must have been fussy!
    But GOM didnt ask really.. did the ring thing & said "If we are getting married, you'd better have this."
    First I actually knew we WERE getting married..But then I had run away twice, & he chased me, so I guess he was determined!

  19. I know exactly what sound you're talking about, but like you, the phonetics of it all escape me.

    As for 'being asked', it's only wonderful if you're being asked by 'the one' and you want to get married. I was asked by two earlier boyfriends well before I met my lovely husband: I kinda laughed at the first one (I was young and at University - no way was I going to get married!), and I knew the second one would have been a horrible mistake so we went our separate ways eventually. Thank g*d for that - otherwise I wouldn't be where I am today!

    Your boys are still gorgeous!

  20. Goodness, what a lot of comments this post inspired!

    The Ohhh thing - I suppose you probably don't hear this in Australia, but in Britain we have a radio soap called "The Archers" ("An everyday story of farming folk") that's been going for 50 years and which I'm addicted to. And the most annoying thing about it is that ALL the children are forever making this sound.

    "Can I help you feel the cows?"
    "No, it's time for bed."

    "Can I have a sleepover with my new friend Ellie?"
    "Not on a school night."

    "Can I have this muntjac deer that's lost its mum as a pet?"
    "No, it'll eat all the crops."

    One feels like shouting at the radio, "Just say yes for once, can't you?"

    One proposal, but it was pre-arranged (by both of us). It's worked ok though. 33 years and counting.

    Daughter 1 got married in April and it was such a lovely day. All our favourite people to a really nice party. Such fun, and yes, expensive, but not horribly so. And lots of presents!

  21. Oh your kids are gorgeous! And yes I also know exactly which noise you mean.

    As for proposals, one of the guys I used to work with proposed to his wife by writing 'Will you marry me?' in the sand as they were walking along the beach. The guys in the team gave him a hard time for being romantic and all the girls were jealous! hehe...

  22. SG,

    I'm not necessarily sayiong that. My behavio(u)r isn't so much bad as it is, erm, different. I am aware that I am several standard deviations to the right of "average" and doing nice things for TFBIM is an insurance policy against her, oh, throwing a basketful of vipers at me.

    The thing is that were I to have married someone else--even a wonderful someone else--might not have me behaving this way.

    The short answer is that, fool that I am, I like seeing her happy and bright and cheerful (the flip side* is, um, not so pretty) and do what I can to that extent.

    The main component of this is, quite literally, thoughtfulness. But then again, I have a black belt in being absorbed in thought, so it works out.

    Clear as mud, yes?


    * There may be an aspect of this which pertains to the cowed villagers making offerings to the volcano, but I digress.

  23. Very clear, thankyou Joke! Thankyou for that and for giving us the (u) in behaviour!

  24. Should I tell you? I've been asked three times, said yes to two, and ran a mile just seconds before being asked by a fourth (I heard later he was able to return the ring: no harm, no foul).

    I can't bring myself to comment on THAT noice: it is currently doing my head in here in a way that only really happens in school holiday booooorrreeedom mode.

  25. That would be "that noiSe" - which is not at all a noice noise.

    (and is that your mum who knows about split infinitives?)



    Yes, that would be my mother who knows all about split infinitives. I predict that I could leave the two of you (also Suse) alone in a room and there would be

  27. I too, recognise that description-defying sound---from both ends of the spectrum. Your boys , I suspect, are practicing, a juvenile version of hrrumphing. By the time they become old and curmudgeonly they will have perfected it---a handy addition to any self respecting curmudgeon's arsenal of noncommital snorts and grunts, for use mainly in situations where one is mildly disgruntled but not too het up about it. Note to Mr. Fixit: how about a little romance for this lithe and lissome lassie?

  28. Is there an inner prince to whom you could appeal? (no split anything there ladies and gents!) Appealing occurs on a continuum from subtle hinting to the screaming obvious. My guy gets it somewhere towards the end. Maybe Fixit will get the idea a bit sooner than that!

  29. Tracey that has absolutely stopped me in my tracks. An Inner Prince you say?

    Do men have an Inner Prince?

    Colin Firth looks like he has one. A lot of the men in books seem to have one...

    This requires more research ie maybe asking Fixit if he has one.
    Love the "appealing contimuum"

  30. Hi SG,

    SG's brother here. Merry Xmas all and happy new year. First time poster (long time reader), so be gentle with my grammar please.

    You're exactly right, it is essentially an elopement (cheaper, stress free and intimate), but you are all invited and we mean everyone. The tickets are down to about $1500 now (through the right travel agents of course), although they are probably not the best seats in the house.

    We have now paid for the cruise, the wedding, the on-board reception, the flights and the rings. We (I'll clarify that we both decided to do a cruise wedding after considering our available options) decided on a cruise ship wedding because it is a bit different/exotic, memorable, quite romantic being wedded at sea by the Captain of a cruise ship (Sapphire Princess ) – (we’ve been looking for Love Boat episodes but can’t find any yet) and it rolls the wedding and honeymoon into one expense and is therefore cheaper. Plus we’ve cruised before and we like the idea, although our first cruise was on a smaller ship and in rough weather and we got a good dose of sea sickness (the bigger ship, better cabin location and different season of travel should hopefully mitigate sea sickness though…fingers crossed).
    At least there'll be a lunch the day after the wedding in Melbourne for a meet and greet, although it is only going to be a small affair with immediate friends and family, for the benefit of those that would like to participate and who feel a bit like we’re eloping.

    That emotive espousal, I think I’m familiar with, which here goes something like "eh-er" (like the word “air” separated into to two syllables) expressed with a disgruntled intonation (5-1 cadence like).

  31. Yes, most men have an Innah Prince. Just in most cases said Innah Prince is, y'know, kinda buried deep.

    I'll let you ruminate the matter, but if you want insidiously treasonous "inside information" feel free to ask.


  32. another picky personMon Jan 08, 05:07:00 pm GMT+11

    Looking forward to more opportunities with split infinitives, apostrophes, etc, Bec. However, having just burned CD of photos of family wedding and birthday of SG's aunt, and noticing too late that I labelled it C's 6th birthday, my credentials are now in tatters. Actually, it is most likely to be a typo. Excuses, excuses..
    Re Inner Princes, it is really the Inner King syndrome. None of this hanging around waiting to inherit nonsense. And possibly there is more Outer than Inner. The I/OK feels entitled never ever to pick up his dirty undies, always to get into the driver's seat, never to take dirty plates to the sink, and CANNOT abide anyone else holding the remote control. Should the mere IPSS ever attempt the latter, profound unease invariably ensues within 30 seconds, and warlike demands for its return are made with NO room for negotiation at all.


Don't let the cat get your tongue.