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Posted by Frank Jewett, on ETC Message Board
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"You can’t tell a 20-month old to suck it up and play hurt, of course - but after a while you know when the tears are being produced by some sort of tear-generating program activated by the presence of tears themselves; the child is crying not because she's hurt or scared, but because she's crying. And at that point you can introduce some bracing element - play, a game, a surprising funny noise, a phrase you keep in reserve because it always makes the child laugh. Today’s magic phrase: poo-poo puppy. She knows what Poo is... and when I called Jasper a Poo-Poo Puppy she laughed until she was breathless. It’s her first joke. Certain words have always made her laugh, but using disparate words in combination to produce laughter is the very essence of the Joke. Jasper just gives us a downcast look. ‘I am not a poo-poo puppy. I am a mighty wolf, even though I am reduced to hanging around this whelp’s chair waiting for a piece of macaroni to be flung down like some Olympian boon. I am _so_ a wolf. I _am_.’ "

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