Friday, July 18, 2008

What Is That Horrible Noise?

I was in my office, type-type-tapping away on my laptop when I heard it from the next room, where Baby Bear was hanging out with the dogs: An explosively loud, very wet, razzy-whoopee noise that sounded as if a team of professional steam cleaners would be required to clean up the result.

As I got up to investigate, I heard it again—noisy, ominously spluttering, certainly messy. I didn’t know if it was Bear or Beagle, and I wasn’t sure which I preferred.

I entered the family room to find the dogs quietly curled up on the sofa. Bear was on the adjacent leather loveseat. I saw nothing, and smelled nothing. Bewildered, I asked Bear if he needed “to go.”

He responded by leaning over, pressing his open mouth against the arm of the leather loveseat, and blowing a slobbery raspberry on it.

That was the noise I’d heard. He sat up and repeated the procedure on his leg.

What do you call this act? I've done it to all three of my children--in fact, all I ever had to do was open my mouth wide, and they'd come running over hiking up their shirts. Mr. Lucky did it to me shortly after we were married, and I remember how it cracked him up fit to die. (No, he hasn’t done it lately; in fact, he hasn’t done it—well, since shortly after we were married. He hasn’t brought me any chocolate lately, either.) I could have sworn he called it a “belly buster”, but when I googled the phrase, all I got were sites related to weight loss. For some reason I thought of “belly blossom” but a search on that only led to expectant mother sites.

So I posed the question on the
TARA message board, clearinghouse for “what do you call it when . . .” questions, describing it as: “The playful act of pressing your open mouth against another person’s flesh to create a sort of suctioning seal, and then you blow to make a sort of razzy whoopee noise.”

If they thought I needed this information for a steamy, spicy love scene I was writing for my latest historical romance, I wasn’t about to disabuse them of that notion.

Most considered it blowing a raspberry, which I thought applied only when you made the noise without touching another person or object with your spluttering mouth. Then new member Beth came up with a word I’d never heard before:
zerbit. I googled that and was amazed to find it in the Urban Dictionary, where it also cited “belly bubbles” as a synonym (I just knew it was also called “belly something” but couldn’t nail it.)

Baby Bear was making zerbits on his leg and on the arm of the leather loveseat. I’m relieved that’s all he was doing.

Tonight we start a week of full moon, accompanied by low pressure systems. Please keep me in your mind while I lose my own.

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