Since that day, "tuttles" comes up a lot. The trouble is, no one (aside from Jack I suppose) knows just what the hell tuttles means. John was convinced it was a butchery of "turtles" for a while, but Jack uses tuttles in so many different ways and places that it simply isn't possible. Besides, he can say turtles perfectly well.
Perhaps you'd like an example of just how Jack uses the word tuttles. The snarky part of me might say, "How DOESN'T Jack use tuttles?" but I'll indulge you. Here's an example of a conversation:
Me: Jack, it's bath time.
Jack: It's not bath time. It's TUTTLES time!
Me: Jack, do you need to go potty?
Jack: I am not need to go potty. I'm TUTTLES!
Me: Jack, what in the name of all that is holy is tuttles?
Jack: It's TUTTLES!
You get the idea. Eventually, I gave up trying to figure out what tuttles was. Maybe it was his imaginary friend. Maybe it was a unique combo of noun/verb/adjective the likes of which my feeble adult brain simply couldn't fathom. Maybe Jack is actually an alien from an undiscovered planet sent to drive me insane. It could be any of these things, really. So I decided to leave well enough tuttles.
|The self-satisfied grin of a man with a secret. And ice cream.|
Then Sarah and Kim showed up, and they too were driven to hysterics by the mystery that is tuttles. I would overhear Sarah and Kim with Jack in the living room, gently prodding as I myself had so recently done. "Jackie, tell me what tuttles is and I'll give you chocolate." "Jack, can you draw tuttles for me here on the iPad?" "Jack, tell me what tuttles is or I'll never speak to you again!" Etc.
Of course, Jack didn't take the bait with them either. I wonder if he himself even knows. I have a feeling the original meaning of tuttles has been lost in the annals of time and now has come to represent everything Jack can't put into words, or is simply too lazy to bother with. Frankly, I can see how that would come in handy.
John: Mara, can you do the dishes?
Me: I can't do the dishes. I'm tuttles!
Jack: Mommy, can you get me some juice?
Me: There isn't any juice. There's tuttles!
See how that works? You can't really argue with something you don't understand. So the next time you find yourself stumped by a question on Jeopardy ("What is tuttles?"), or you're desperate for something to talk about with strangers at a work event ("What are your thoughts on tuttles?"), or an angry Russian is demanding something of you that you simply can't understand ("Tuttles?"), consider using the new old-standby.
I'll tell Jack you said tuttles.