Sunday, April 19, 2009

Autosomal-Recessive Bathtime Vocabulary Quirks?

Misery loves company a properly run bath.

Max loves taking baths, and a good long soak in the tub was just the thing to help pass the time and bring him some comfort during the endless week of illness.

I had trouble getting the water temperature right for him, though. Because he was feverish, I didn't want him to be soaking in a really hot tub of water, so I tried to keep the water temperature a little bit cooler than normal.

Two different times I ran the water, deemed it the appropriate temperature, and had him get in...only to have him start protesting and saying, "ouch! hot!...ouch! hot!"

The first time I added a little more cold to get the temperature down. But he kept saying "ouch! hot!" and I knew it was NOT hot. Bath time was cut short; he was miserable and I thought he must be really feverish if that water felt hot to him.

The second time it happened, I again added cold and he got really mad and kept saying "ouch! hot!" so I added MORE cold, and he got MORE upset and said MORE "ouch! hot!"....until suddenly he switched gears and signed "cold" and shivered.

I then turned the faucet back towards hot, and as the water got warmer, he relaxed and nodded yes.

Suddenly it clicked.

I recalled my mom telling how when I was little, she had a similar struggle running my bath water to the right temperature. I would say "warmer" so she would add hot. But I would just keep fussing for it to be "warmer". What I meant was that I wanted it warm. Not hot; not cold. WARM. In my mind, warm was an actual temperature -- a point to return to -- not a relative comparison.

I think Max was using his words in the exact same way. He was requesting a temperature. The water wasn't too hot for him; he just wanted it to actually be hot!

It makes perfect sense, really, when you think about it from a certain angle.

What can I say? Great minds think alike!


Kathleen said...

That's interesting...when we lived briefly in Spain with our friends who had a toddler, he started a pattern of saying "Like it" when he thought that food, a video, a toy, etc. was unacceptable-- his words said that he liked it, but his face told a different story. Eventually he started saying "NO like it" and all was clear. :)

Anonymous said...

HAHAHHAHA! Autosomal recessive...too funny. LOL


xoxoox Gwen

May said...

I think I've had similar experiences with my son. Since he tends to leave out verbs, it is sometimes very difficult to decipher what it is that he wants to be done.

Krista said...

Hi! I just found your blog via someone on my AAC list-serve who linked to your Dr. Seuss it! Anyways, I am sure you already know, but in the off chance that you don't....the Foundation for Children with Microcephaly is having a convention this June in Costa Mesa, CA. You can check it out at

Anyhow, love the few posts I have read! Look forward to reading more about precious Max and his adventures! ;-)