The Napple Muses

 When I was around 11 years old, Andy was a handful. He was an outgoing toddler with an active curiosity and the soul of an explorer. Everywhere he went, he asked questions and made friends. And he tried to go everywhere.

He managed to open the front door and head for the high school while the rest of us slept. He found his way onto the roof of the garage. Mom couldn’t watch him every moment, which is how the custom developed of sometimes roping him to the garage door handle, with enough length that he could range on most of the front lawn.

It was probably there and then that he commenced his water experiments. The outdoor spigot was immediately below the kitchen window, quite close to the garage door. My parents responded by removing the handle from the spigot. Mom called that device the “waterturner.” They hid the waterturner from Andy and sometimes, unintentionally, from one another.

But we all still know what a waterturner is.

In similar fashion, for those of us in the house when Danny was young (early 1980s, North Berkeley), a “communa” is useful tool. That was his toddler term for the remote control. We had no idea where he got it – I always liked to think: communa-cate – but I still refer in mind to any remote control by that sound.

Waterturner and communa are whole-word inventions. I want to note that we also sometimes alter words by elision. Danny’s favorite fruit when he was little was a napple, because he was often asked “Do you want an apple?” And let us not forget that Otto, who must hear “I’m using that” a lot from his creative parents, says “muse” when he means “utilize.”

I muse the communa to pick my TV show while munching a napple.
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