The other night we had finished up with supper and I was chatting with Jake at the kitchen island. I don’t remember what we were talking about, when he started looking intently at his fingers as he tried to get them into a particular position. (It reminded me of the way I have to push and prod my fingers into the right position to do that Vulcan hello or whatever it is. Which of course I do all the time, because it’s apropos of everything.)
Anyway, I kept wiping up the counter, and when he had his fingers the way he wanted them and looked up at me with a proud smile, this is what I saw:
He said triumphantly, “Ms. ANGELA taught me this!”
And I was like, “Umm. She did? What did she say it is?”
And he said shyly, “I dunt know.”
So I pressed him on it, although I didn’t say there was anything WRONG with it, and finally he said, “Diss is the tall man.”
Me: “WHAT tall man? Who’s the tall man?”
Jake: “Deez fingras. DEEZ.”
Me: “Your middle fingers?”
Jake: “Yes. The tall man.”
Me: “Are there any more people? Or is it just The Tall Man?”
Jake: “No more people. Just him. Tall man. SEE?”
YEP, I SEE.
I was having a really hard time keeping a straight face, because Jake obviously had no idea that what he was doing was offensive. And I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it without knowing what he was trying to do, because I didn’t want to make the gesture more important or exciting to him.
So I texted our babysitter Anna, who is also a teacher at Jake’s school, a copy of the picture: “Jake says Ms. Angela taught him this at school. I’m thinking maybe he got it wrong.”
Anna, too, was lost for a while, but she said that there was no way Ms. Angela would have passed that particular gesture along to her kids. Then I remembered to give her the single other piece of information I had:
Me: “He just did it again. Says it was those fingers and it was Angela. I’m sure it wasn’t! Said she called it ‘tall man.’ ???”
Anna: “OH! ‘Where is Thumbkin?’ It’s a fingerplay and song that goes through each finger. Thumbkin, pointer, and the middle finger is ‘tall one’ or ‘tall man’.”
So sweet Jake was trying to show me the part of the song that goes, “Where is tall man, where is tall man? Here I am! Here I am!”
Only he left out the part about it being a song. About fingers. Highlighting multiple fingers. Not just your middle ones.
So one more time, just for good measure, and because if my sister is using it for her screen saver, there’s no good reason for me not to share it with you one more time: