Every once in a while I worry that I am going to run out of things to write about. I was having just such a moment this week…and then I remembered Ezzy’s Angry Clap and I realized that having a kid who does something like Angry Clapping means that it is very likely impossible that I could ever run out of things to write about. I mentioned to Ezzy’s papa that I’d not yet written about the Angry Clap and he was truly incredulous.
What is Angry Clapping, you ask? Oh dear reader, do let me tell you.
Esmé is a frequent clapper–as a non-verbal child, clapping is part of her adapted communication system. She will clap for many of the reasons that kids clap. She claps to say “Oh, now, isn’t that delightful?!” or “Good job Maman, you finally figured out that I needed to be put on the potty (after 20 minutes of me telling you)…” or “LOL” or “Look at what I just did, I am a genius. I don’t think anyone in the history of the world has ever turned the page of a board book quite so successfully.”
However, in Esmé’s case these happy claps have a more sinister cousin: The Angry Clap.
This clap is, as far as I have been able to tell, is an Esmé invention. And let me tell you, you do not want to be angry clapped.
Like so much of what Ez does, it can be mistaken for a bit of a subtle thing, unless you know better. Ez isn’t particularly loud–she doesn’t yell or shriek or whine or stamp in the manner of many frustrated children. This is primarily a function of her physical inability to produce this sort of commotion…but oh do not mistake this for passivity. It doesn’t mean that the intention behind her self-expression is any less passionate–in fact the opposite may be true. If you know her, you know that the soft whimpering may lead right to a serious breath-hold. That the quiet giggle is pure joy. And you absolutely know when an Angry Clap has been handed down.
With the Angry Clap comes the feeling of shame and the weigh of Esmé’s disappointment. Being Angry Clapped is a brutal form of psychological punishment.
It appears when one of the adults around her does not heed an important command quickly enough. Examples of such treachery include allowing Yo Gabba Gabba to stop playing, not allowing her to put your phone in her mouth, talking about boring things with other adults, and taking too long to leave after we’ve said “It’s time to go!”
Before administering the Angry Clap, Esmé will look up at the offender, protest with a whine, and then stiffen her upper body in anticipation, lean forward, squint her eyes shut. Finally she brings her tiny pudgy hands together in two quick claps, the second almost swallowing the first: “cl-aahhh-P, CLAP!” If you’ve been really bad, she may repeat, for a total of four claps.
Based on the surprised way she looks at the offender when she opens her eyes post clap, I feel rather certain that she is working up to the ability to disappear people with the Angry Clap.
I would provide video evidence of this angry clap…however, all attempts to record it have resulted in the cameras involved mysteriously breaking while recording. Instead, I offer the following post-angry clap photo, in which she is practically shouting (you know, telepathically): “Just wait until my Angry Clap matures….”