My handicapped daughter learned a brand new word last week. We were watching some television show together and one of the actors on the old boob tube uttered the word “adorable.” Mimi looked at me kinda puzzled, and promptly said, “dorable.” My eyebrows immediately lurched skyward. Not since the early days of speech therapy in public school had I heard a new word, let alone one with so many syllables. Now the young lady perched in her wheelchair only speaks in one and two word phrases, with a total vocabulary of about two hundred words. I know because I counted them once. Some of her spoken words might lack a beginning, or an ending, but everyone in the family knows exactly what she is talkin’ about. “It means beautiful,” I answered. “Oh,” Mimi shot back, with a thoughtful look on her face. The word must have left a major impression, because she has probably used it three thousand times since our little conversation. Pretty much everything is “dorable.” Vanna on the Wheel of Fortune is definitely “dorable.” The large red-headed woodpecker hanging upside down off the bird feeder in the backyard is “dorable.” Oh, and the lioness about to take a chunk out of the back side of the water buffalo on the National Geographic Channel is “dorable.” Not to worry … I changed the channel before the razor sharp teeth made contact with said wild animal. And yeah, I realize I’ve got my work cut out for me after Mimi’s “dorable” comment about the water buffalo/lioness confrontation. Heck, even Mimi’s dad is “dorable,” though I always counter with, “No, your daddy is handsome.” What can I say … it’s a mom’s job to keep things real. The true test will be when her little brother comes home from college for the summer in a couple of weeks. If Mimi connects the two words “dorable” and Ree-Ree (that’s what Mimi calls her brother Ricky), I’ll have hubby immediately dial 9-1-1. Yeah, because for certain, I’ll be the one having the heart attack. Mimi and Ricky’s brother/sister relationship is to this day a complicated one. Only three years separate the siblings, who many years ago shared a double umbrella stroller until Ricky grew too wide to fit his plump tush beside his extremely petite sister. When Mimi finally grew into a wheelchair stroller at about the age of 5, Ricky took it upon himself to perch on the large foot ledge between Mimi’s tiny feet during our frequent walks around the block. When Mimi had enough of her brother’s incessant squirming, she’d calmly reach down and grab a handful of his hair and slowly yank his head back. Had to admit, the lad certainly tolerated her abuse well. Actually, Ricky could have cared less. For him it was all about the free ride. I guess Mimi has always viewed her little brother as somewhat of an annoyance, even though he was the one who taught her to bang the pots and pans in mom’s kitchen. And when the lad was the one belching loudly at the dinner table, it was Mimi who promptly shot her little brother one of those melting steel glances from across the table before anyone could verbally correct the lad. Mimi, always the one with gracious manners, learned well at home, and in the world of special education at school. Concepts like excuse me, please and thank you were always low on the totem pole of priorities for little brother. “’Cuse me,” Mimi would utter loudly for Ricky’s sake after each of his flurry of belches. Yep, and the girl has still got one squinty eye glued on her little brother. Over the Christmas holidays, she caught him drinking directly from the milk carton and nearly had a cow. I have a sneaky feeling there will be no need to make that emergency 9-1-1 call when Ricky steps through the back door in a couple of weeks. Betcha nine dollars Mimi’s little brother is no where near her long list of “dorable.” Clearly, it’s the water buffalo that wins that award. Dixie Frantz is a Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist for the past decade. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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