Tuesday, October 17, 2006

"Hot dog and french fries."

My 5-year-old daughter Elizabeth has a slight speech impairment. Her mouth has oversensitive nerve endings, which can discourage the development of speech-producing muscles as an infant and toddler. As a result Elizabeth has attended weekly speech therapy since she was three. I talk to Elizabeth everyday and sometimes I can't quite understand her. That's partly my fault. My hearing is slightly below average. But she's always chipper about my inability to comprehend her speech. By the third time I ask her to repeat herself she usually stops trying and just smiles and says "I love you, daddy." Melts my heart. Then I ask her to repeat herself again.

Most people who don't know Elizabeth have even greater difficulty understanding her and often her mother or I have to translate. That is, when we can get her to talk in the presence of other people. She's very shy sometimes, no doubt at least partly due to the speech issues.

Yesterday my wife Amy and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary. So the three of us went out to eat. Usually we go to the Beef House near Covington, Indiana for these sorts of events. If you ever get a chance to go there don't pass it up. But this year we went to the Texas Roadhouse, a chain of casual dining places that plays both kinds of music: country AND western. I don't dig either genre much, but they played 2 Johnny Cash songs while I was there, one of which was "Ring of Fire". So I can't complain at all.

The waitress comes around to our table. Some damn fool country song is playing in the background and the house is packed with chatty people. I can barely hear the gal as she takes our orders. Elizabeth's turn to order comes around and she looks right at the waitress and says "hot dog and french fries". It comes out clear as day to her mother and I. More importantly, the waitress understood her!

Best. Anniversary. Gift. EVAR.


  1. Hey Jeff...

    That is just so cool!

    Congrats to you and Amy on seven years. I know from personal experience that the first five years are the hardest, especially when you toss in a child with any real issues (even slight ones). The two of you need to pat yourselves on the back for making it this far. Hopefully with many more to come. =)

    As far as Texas Roadhouse. I love the steaks and bread, hate the side dishes and the noise. It is the prevalence of the latter that makes Elizabeth's little triumph all the more special.

    Keep dreaming and keep fighting for your child, my friend. Eventually, you'll find yourself amazed and awed by your offspring. I know I have by mine. It's all worth it.

    Peace... Dave

  2. Anonymous10:04 AM

    Congrats on the multiply-congrattable set of events :)

  3. RAWK.

    Congrats on the events. Here's my Daddy Moment:

    Yesterday, my daughter Lily woke up before I left for work. She's 2, and learning to talk. On my way out the door, she said, "Daddy need beefcase!" Meaning 'briefcase', but that's not the point.

    I replied, "Actually, sweetie, it's already in the truck, so I don't need it."

    To which Lily replied, "Oh."

    A few hours later, it struck me -- I HAD A CONVERSATION WITH MY DAUGHTER.

  4. Geez...

    Now I feel like an old fart. Here you guys talking about daughters being 5 years and 2 years old, while my daughter (and my youngest child) just had her 10th birthday yeaterday.

    Oh well... time to chase the old fartiness away with some good ol' death metal. In the player currently... Suffocation.

    peace... Dave

  5. Anonymous12:41 PM

    Huh. Happy anniversary.

    I was being taken out for dinner when I ran into you there. I agree - it was really loud there. Given that my voice still isn't back 100%, I was having a hard time having a reasonable conversation.

    Had a good steak, though.

  6. and there was me thinking you just did 5 RPG links every now and then.

    nice one jeff, its been a while since you talked about being a family man and family stuff - good morals.

    Im a dad of 2 girls, and am keenly open to advice.

  7. That's really cool. Congratulations!

  8. Anonymous12:40 AM

    Old fart?

    I was Jeff's best man, and now my son is driving.

    I can't wait for either Dave and Jeff to experience that :)

    And Jeff: Happy Anniversary from Susan and I to you and Amy!