Libilibi Labalabalaba Konkonsa

Konkonsa: translation – to gossip; a gossiper

Konkonsa is the act of eavesdropping, rearranging the gathered data, and disseminating it to an unintended audience. Most children are not konkonsa…but many are masters of lapore , meaning they love to tell on other children (and in exceptional instances, tell on adults. If you’re an adult given to violation of ‘the rules’, the last thing you want is a lapore baby riding in the car with you. This is a mighty feat; the equivalent of single-handedly slaying an elephant in the world of lapore ).  “Run tell that” is a phrase in African-American culture (recently  revived and popularized by Antoine Dodson) referenced  by one individual who dares another to inform the relevant authorities of some indicated atrocity or infraction that has taken place.

Some kids are wired to ‘run tell that’, and my second born, Aya, has all the electrical connections, battery clamps and motors of a Tell That Bot. Like Saturday for instance. Nadjah and Aya were playing pretend princess or some such nonsense. They chattered noisily as they typically do, with Nadjah barking out orders. Within minutes, the inevitable took place:

“Maaawwmmmeee!!!”

Sigh.

“Yes, Aya.”

“Nadjah said I can’t have the mermaid because burss burzz burzzee!!” (Aya speaks really fast and I often have a hard time understanding her. It doesn’t matter what she’s saying though. It’s a complaint.)

“Who had the mermaid first?”

“I did!” screeches Nadjah.

“Nuh uuuhhh!! I did!” Aya rebuts.

On this day, I didn’t particularly feel like refereeing so I just took the mermaid from both of them.

“Now no one can have it,” I say with finality.

This does not go down well with Nadjah.

“Aya!” she barked.  “Now look what you did. *Humph!* You’re not my friend anymore.”

“Maaawwwwmeee,” Aya wailed. “Nadjah said she’s not my friend anymore!”

Ugh.

“Yes you are, Aya. You are her friend and she is yours. Now don’t call my name anymore unless you guys are bleeding!”

As bad as I think my child is – in terms of telling – she is by no means unique and certainly not the worse. If a championship cup existed for ‘run tell that’ this little boy I encountered at the kids’ daycare had Aya beat.

I was in the middle of conversation with the director, Mr. E, when a rather thuggish little boy in baggy jeans and a knit hat briskly walked up to us. His eyes were wide, and he looked as though he might burst before he got whatever he needed to say out. He was clutching the straps of his back pack and looked to be about 4 or 5 years old (the ripe age for a master of lapore).

“Mr. E… Mr. E!” he cried excitedly.

“Yes?”

“Xavier passed gas!” His announcement echoed throughout the daycare halls.

We both stood there looking at him. I was too stunned to laugh.

“I said ‘excuse me’!” Xavier called faintly from the door on the other side of the room.

Mr. E sighed, his grey eyes registering exhaustion. It was only 7 am.

“Marcus, go wait at the front door,” he said wearily.

I finished my conversation with him, kissed the babies goodbye and headed out the door where Xavier, Marcus, and another little girl were waiting for the school bus. As I put my hand on the handle, I told them all to have a good day at school.

“Umm, ma’am?”

It was Marcus.

“Yes?”

“Xavier farted! He passed gas,” he repeated.

“Yes, I know. But he said ‘excuse me’, alright?” My tone said ‘knock it off’. “You guys have a good day, okay?”

None of them said a word in response, except Marcus.

“Xavier passed gas!” he whispered.

Jeez! You would think this little boy never farted in his life!

Kokonsa.