Monday, January 4, 2016

That time I tried to teach Max to say "DUH!"

"Duh! Of course I'll be careful!" Sabrina says to me. I'm in bed and she's about to go make egg-in-a-hole for breakfast, with Dave's supervision.

I don't love it when she says "Duh!" to me but she's generally a great, respectful kid, so I never call her on it.

It occurs to me that Max doesn't know to say "Duh!" And while I don't want two kids in the house duh-ing me, it seems like a phrase most tweens and teens have in their repertoire and why shouldn't he? It could come in handy around peers. Last year his teacher taught him to say "OMG!" and it's been awesome to hear him use it appropriately.

Also: The letter "D" is a hard one for Max to articulate, and trying to say "Duh!" would be good practice.

"Max, can you say 'Duh?'" I ask, using the proper obnoxious inflection.

"Uh!" he says, happily.

"No, you have to say it like you know something is true but the other person doesn't—DUH!" I say. "Duuuuuh!"

"Uh, uh, uh!" he says, smiling. Nope. 

"OK, Max, this is how it works," I explain, using the best example I can think of for him. "If someone says 'Max, do you like firefighters?' when you are wearing your Fireman Max shirt and firefighter hat, you could say, 'Duh!' It's kind of like saying 'Yes' but it's funnier. Only you shouldn't use it with a teacher or therapists, it's just for being silly."

"Uh!" Max says, happily. Nope. 

After we eat breakfast, we make smoothies. Max points to the blender as Sabrina is whipping one up for him.

"Uts?" he asks (one of my favorite words ever). He's asking if there are nuts in there, because he's allergic.

"Duh, Max! There are no nuts! I know you're allergic," she says.

"UH!" Max says, happily. Nope.

And now, I am on a mission.

"No, it's 'duh!'" I say and Sabrina shoots me a seriously weird look.

That afternoon, when my brother-in-law is visiting, he remarks, "It's getting cold outside!"

I whisper to Max, "Say, 'Duh! It's winter!'"

Max just says "UH!" and he hasn't said it with attitude but my brother-in-law gets it and smirks at him. I crack up.

I know: I'm teaching Max a word most parents wish their kids would un-learn. But then, I want to enable Max in any way I can, whether it's helping his body move better, helping him learn better, helping him speak better or helping him develop some age-appropriate attitude.

You can bet, however, I will not be showing him how to do the eye roll.


  1. I think Max is trying to tell you: "I'm not going to learn anything that I don't want to."

  2. It's interesting to me that this is something you want to teach Max and that you accept it from Sabrina, since the origin of this "teenism" is making fun of people with intellectual disabilities. The interjection 'duh' (to indicate that a statement is too obvious or self-evident) originated as an imitation of the utterance (Duh) made by slow-witted people.

    1. That obviously never occurred to me (it's not a sound I associate with anyone I know who has intellectual disability). I Googled around and there's not much trustworthy info on the etymology but the American Heritage Dictionary notes, "Imitative of an utterance attributed to slow-witted people." This will definitely lead to a good discussion at our house! Thanks for the alert.

  3. Listen to your own wisdom - it'll come in time, just like asking if people are ok, opening doors, using stairs, wanting to win at stuff, going to restaurants and all the million other things he does on his own time scale. And be careful what you wish for! Lol x

  4. From the Urban Dictionary: "Originally an insult. It is the sound that a mentally handicapped person makes. In the beginning, the word was complete with a hand gesture of smacking your wrist across your chest. Means 'obviously'.". The 10 WORDS RELATED TO DUH according to the Urban Dictionary are:
    "stupid obvious obviously dumb idiot of course no shit retard yes moron."

  5. I have to laugh at this blog, as I usually do with all of your blogs. My son was born with a form of Muscular Dystrophy. When he was 3 weeks old and in the NCIU the drs told us he would live for 6 months and we should take him home to preserve his quality of life. Needless to say my son is now a 14 year old teenager with an attitude. When he was 1, we taught him how to "raise his middle finger" to the doctors that told us he would only live for 6 months.


Thanks for sharing!

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