Why can’t she fold the laundry like she does her tongue?

The other day, my youngest daughter came running up to me and started hopping up and down excitedly, shouting that she had the coolest thing ever to show me. She demanded I get my camera and I was all over it because cool stuff never happens around me. I returned with my camera and she said “are you ready?” and I said “yep” and she said “are you sure?” and I said “I’m sure” and she said “are you really really sure?” and I said “honey, c’mon, I’m getting old already” and she said “what does that mean?” and I went all Nike on her and shouted “JUST DO IT!” and she shouted “OK” and then she proceeded to break her tongue.

And I dropped my camera and yelled “Oh my God, what the hell are you doing?”

And she said “aaagh! ag aarr!”

And I said “What?”

And she said “Mom! Bad word!”

And I said “Who the hell cares, what in the name of holy hell are you doing with your tongue?”

And she said “aaaarrrhhh eeeeeh ooooo?”

And I said “What?”

And she said “Isn’t it cool?”


And she said “I’m not breaking it! I’m just folding it! Look! I can do it over and over! See? It doesn’t hurt!”

And I saw her do it over and over again. And I’m not sure if I should be proud or worried or grossed out.

So far, I’ve decided to be none of the above and have no opinion whatsoever. I’ll wait to see what everyone else thinks and then holler “I KNOW, RIGHT?!”

In the interim, I will document it for posterity so I can be ready when and if that day ever comes when she is told by some idiot at recess that she can’t do anything special to which I will respond “Hey, no one else I know can fold their tongue in half so you tell him/her/whomever to take that and stick it where the sun don’t shine” because I just live for those moments when I am both motherly and eloquent. They don’t happen very often. At all.

helena sticking out her tongue
Here she is, sticking out her tongue. Nothing is happening yet. Kind of boring, actually. But just you wait.


helena bending tongue some more

Here she is, just starting to bend it. I think it looks kind of weird, but who am I to judge? I’m just her mom. My opinion doesn’t count. And I just remembered, I’m not voicing an opinion until everyone does.

helena bending tongue 1

Here she is … it’s almost there … just a bit more to go …


helena\'s bent tongue

*BAM” – there it is in all its folded glory. Forgive the blurriness, she does it so fast that it kind of freaks me out and causes my hands to shake and my stomach to heave.

helena\'s bent tongue

Here’s a side view, just in case you haven’t grasped the magnitude of this event. No wires, no tape, no glue. Nothing holding that tongue down except sheer will and determination and some freakish genetic anomaly.

Does anybody else do this? Is this normal for an eight year old girl?

I have no idea where she gets this so I’m going to say it’s from Nate’s side of the family because … well, just because. Unless somebody says it’s a sign of extraordinary talent or the mark of a gifted child in which case it most definitely came from mine.

So, what do you think? Should I be proud? Should I be worried? Should I be throwing up? Should I be typing this from the emergency room?

She can also wiggle her ears. Just thought I’d throw that out there in case it matters.

Share this post

80 thoughts on “Why can’t she fold the laundry like she does her tongue?”

  1. Avatar

    I have visions of blog readers all over the world sticking their tongues out and trying to bend them back with looks of intense concentration on their faces…

    That is freaky. I can wiggle my ears but no amount of tongue wiggling can force my tongue back on itself like that.

  2. Avatar

    I’ll admit it, I tried it, but without a mirror, I couldn’t tell if I was doing it right.

    Just be glad she’s not doing that nasty thing where she flips her eyelids inside out. THAT one freaks me out every time!

  3. Avatar

    I want to know how many readers tried this LOL. Everyone has to have a party trick, this is your daughter’s. Mine was being able to fit my entire fist in my mouth. Just don’t let her do that around boys when she’s in High School.

  4. Avatar

    Ok. This is shocking. I have never seen anyone be able to do this. I can do it in my head, and then when I try in real life, I’m a wannabe, tongue folding fool. So yeah. Totally not normal. But way cool. She should join the circus.

  5. Avatar

    Those who can are the elite tongue gymnasts ROFLOL….yes I can do it and I can roll my tongue round so the top is down and the bottom up, I can also roll my tongue into a “drinking straw” kind of effect (it would be interesting to find out if she can do it too). I am pretty sure my brother could do it, my sister couldn’t. My kids can’t and neither can my DH. I can’t wiggle my ears without looking really strange thought – now that and nose wiggling are feats to admire and aspire to.

  6. Avatar

    Wow…that’s something! (And yes, I tried too. 😉 ) My only party trick is that I can wiggle each ear independently. And that I can make my eyes look like they are going in two different directions, but it gives me a headache. lol…

  7. Avatar

    I thought you were talking about her folding her tongue in half lengthwise, which I can totally do. But this is beyond my range of talents. I have never seen anyone do that, and I am 48 years old and have 5 kids, for Pete’s sake! Save those pictures for the slideshow at her future wedding.

  8. Avatar

    My kids can curl their tongues up into all sorts of shapes and contortions. I’ll have to see if they can do this, that’s a new one for me. I can’t do anything with my tongue and they think I’m lame.

  9. Avatar

    OMG, I totally almost peed myself! That is too funny! I’ve never seen anything like that, so it must be an extra special talent. Of course, I just spent 10 minutes making sure it wasn’t something I could do. 🙂

  10. Avatar

    That’s actually kind of handy, she could store all kinds of stuff in there. When the teacher asks her if she’s chewing gum, she can just fold it away into her tongue.

  11. Avatar

    I know that being able to curl your tongue is genetic, but I’ve never seen anyone do that before. I’d guess that’s probably in the genes somewhere too – did you try it? 😉

  12. Avatar

    That’s pretty awesome. I just tried for the last three minutes and no cigar. I’d go proud… I’ve never seen that done before. And now my tongue is sore and itchy from trying to twist it into odd shapes.

  13. Avatar

    I have to admit, I am amazed! And yes, I did try it, not even close to what she can do.
    Be proud, very proud, but if someone acts all weirded out by it….blame the Dad!

  14. Avatar

    If you can’t then your husband probably can. 1 of you have to be able to if she can. This is what I have been told anyway.

    I can fold mine like that and also wrap it like a straw.

    It’s pretty cool that she can do it slow enough for you to take a picture.

  15. Avatar

    LOL!! You GO Helena!! That is soo cool! I can curl mine up and curl it together from both sides it’s not nearly as cool as what she can do!! I vote for getting her a manager and movin’ to Hollywood:)

  16. Avatar

    Me, my mom, sister, and my 6 year old daughter can all do this plus the 3 leaf clover. Also all of us when we yawn, our tongues raise up into a bowl shaped position inside of our mouths. My dad and 2 brothers can barely roll their tongues like a tube and their tongues stay down when they yawn. It is a female genetic trait that shows excellent brain to tongue nerve connection, coordination, and control.

    Believe me it has come in handy for me and my sister when we were learning Spanish, neither one of us had a problem learning how to roll our R’s, and both of us have been fluent Spanish speakers since we were 14. Also I have heard that females who have excellent tongue control ability can be very good at math. It has to do with the part of the brain in a woman that controls both the tongue and math reasoning. It’s different in men for some reason. I think this is true because me, my sister, and my mom can do algebra equations in our brains without writing anything down and my daughter is showing strong signs of good math skills even at her age. My dad and brothers are all awful at math.

  17. Avatar

    I can touch my nose and my chin with my tongue, do the tube shape, rolling it like worm, make a three leaf clover, turn it sideways left and right, and also wiggle my ears, going cross eyed, make my eyes completely white (when i do it my contact lens get stuck), and same like carla said, im a natural matematician. I never study for math at home, but i always get the best score in my class, im on the third year in highschool now…

  18. Avatar

    I’ve been able to fold my tongue in half like that since I was little too. I’ve never met anyone else who could, which makes it kind of fun to show off. The tongue twisting, curling, and three leaf clovers all came easily too, though I possess absolutely not skill at moving my ears. This isn’t the most unique tongue maneuver I’ve ever seen though. A friend of mine can actually lengthen her tongue from top to bottom to make it look like a whale. That’s a little way out of my skill set. I didn’t know that this had any ties to my math skills, but I’ve always done well with it, and I became fluent in French as a teenager.

  19. Avatar

    i can do this 🙂 i started off doing it by habbit with my mouth close and then it just stuck when i opened my mouth 😀

  20. Avatar

    I can do this. I’m the only one in my family that can. Although, my brother can do the 3 leaf clover.

    Apparently 1 in 1000 people can do it (according to Ripley’s Believe it or not).

    1. Avatar

      I can do this, and that is where I found out I could do it too! the mirror is double-sided next to the picture, so the people on the other end watch everyone sit there and try to do it in the mirror. its too funny 🙂

  21. Pingback: My daughter's curled tongue |

  22. Avatar

    i can do it. only me, another girl and one boy in my year at school can. i found out i could do it in 2003 when i went to a Ripleys museum and they had a picture of someone doing it.

  23. Avatar

    Emma…ME TOO! I was 8 when I discovered I could do it at the Ripley’s Believe it or not in San Antonio.

    I am 26 now and it is definately my party trick. I have never meet anydody else that could do it.

    I can wiggle my ears too 🙂

  24. Avatar

    I just googled “tongue bending in half” because I am the only one I’ve known that can do this. I was starting to think i was the only one in the world lol I think it’s cool :))


  25. Avatar

    When I sleep, my tongue folds itself & my bottom lip follows the tongue. Without it being folded, it seems the tounge cannot relax completely in my mouth. When I’m awake, I can do this with my mouth open for more than 1.5 mins. Then, I need to swallow. This morning, I felt like searching to see who else can do this and bam!

  26. Avatar
    shandor richard hahn

    i can perform this tongue trick.i was 6yrs old at the time when i was struggling to blow bubbles from a chewing gum.i was really upset because i couldn’t blow bubbles but i was trying something else out with my tongue to understand the movements of how to blow a chewing gum,it then led to me to stick my tongue as like shown above.i then was going to florida on setember 11th 2002 i think it was the time with the world trade centers went down,but my plane was cancelled half way so i was flown back to london gatwick airport. i then went again for the second time when i was 14 and within that period i was watching on a british channel called BRAVO the program ripley’s believe it or not but the funny thing is i actually went there on the second flight and i came across a unique picture and i was STUNNED to what i had was a woman must have been in her 30s performing the tongue fold and i had a picture taken of me and the picture and i have it up on my bedroom wall.i also remember that a woman who worked in the florida ripleys believe it or not mansion said to me “you couldn’t do that with your tongue”. i said “YES i can watch me”.i then shown her and she was shocked that the woman on the picture wasn’t the only person who could perform that trick.

    well to end it when i get hold of a lot of cash and money i am going back to florida on my own.explore and maybe go back to the ripleys believe it or not mansion with that picture and show it to all the people who walks by that picture.

    thanks for taking your time and thank you for reading my short story.

    shandor hahn from england.

  27. Avatar
    Shelley Perulfi

    We just realized that my son could do this on his first kindergarten trip!! We were totally freaked out at first!!! I have never seen anyone do this! I googled it to see if I could find out how many people could do this little trick…and I saw your post. Interesting about the math comments…he has a natural talent with numbers…would have never put these two together.

  28. Avatar

    LOL i know it may seem shocking to others but this is normal to me!! I mean i CAN DO IT TOO!! lol sometimes i wonder how u CANT do this!!! ITS SUPER EASY TO ME!!!

  29. Avatar

    Just tickled to see that this might be a little normal after all. My 8 year daughter showed me this as her version of tongue rolling. It took me a minute to realize what she was actually doing in lieu of the sides rolled up, which she cannot do. I’m worried her tongue will get stuck like that or she’ll cut off the circulation somehow and it not work properly. Very interesting considering it is so weird. I would like to read the stats on this and why it happens. You don’t read about this one in the textbooks–only tongue rolling, a hitchikers thumb, and double jointedness. There’s another kid in her class who can jiggle his eyes, back and forth, really fast–talk about gross–that is downright spooky.

  30. Avatar

    I can do this! I’ve been doing it for a while and get my tongue out of my mouth! i learned it from ripley’s believe it or not.. only so many people in the world can actually do this trick!

  31. Avatar

    There is an ancient meditation technique called Kechari Mudra that involves folding the tongue back and touching the uvula. (the hangey down thingy). Maybe she is a budding mystique.

  32. Avatar

    yeah this aint normal for an eight year old kid but i can do this thing when i was around her age..

  33. Avatar

    I have been able to do this since I was little also. I never met anyone else who could do it also! To me it’s normal. Everyone who I know think that it is so gross that I can fold my tongue. But I wouldn’t be that worried..

  34. Avatar

    ok i can do this but the real question is can she shake it while her tongue is still fold? because i can fold plus shake it showing that my tongue cant be loose from its position.
    my tongue was always fold since i was a baby …growing up when im nervous i found my tongue fold rather than show that i am nervous ie: people bite their nails , shake their legs…those examples…mine is fold the tongue….. but older i tried other things for fun…. shaking the tongue while holding it back isnt for everyone.

  35. Avatar

    It’s perfectly normal.

    I can’t roll my tongue at all. I’ve been trying since I was six years old and I’m over 50 now.

    I can however, fold my tongue like your daughter, very easily (and shake it too). I haven’t met many people who can fold their tongues this way, but I meet many people who can roll their tongues. I don’t have tongue-rolling ability at all—years of practice haven’t accomplished anything, but folding is as easy as blinking for me, even though it’s impossible for most people.

    It’s a genetic trait. I don’t know which side of the family is tongue-folding because my parents won’t talk about such things, and genetics can be complex if your ancestors have a variety of tongue-folding/rolling skills, but I was certainly born with this folding ability—it didn’t take practice.

  36. Avatar

    I can do what your daugher does, it is kinda normal, i read that 1/1000 people can do it so its something cool, nothing to worry about.

  37. Avatar

    Tell her not to worry. I can fold my tongue, shake it while folded and fold and roll it at the same time. My kids think it sucks that they can’t do it. Tell your daughter she can impress the boys and gross out the other girls if she wants. I have done a lot of research and find a lot on tongue rollong but not folding.

  38. Avatar

    When I was a kid there was a girl that lived across the street from us that could do this. I thought it was so awesome. I must have asked her to do this a hundred times a day, lol. Then a couple of years later I was at a Ripley’s Believe It or Not and they had videos of people that could do this. I don’t remember what they called it, but it is extremely rare. I think this is an awesome talent, I wish I could do it 😉

  39. Avatar

    I can do it 🙂 I’ve always been able to do it. I always thought there would be more like me out there but I had never found one. Yeah! Sisterhood of the professional tongue gymnasts!!! 😀 lol. I use simple suction to get my tongue to stay back. There’s no other way to explain it. It’s cool!

  40. Avatar

    I have never met anyone that could do this before! I started to google tongue sticking to itself, I didn’t know it was called tongue bending. I also saw the photo in Ripley’s believe it or Not as a kid. I knew I couldn’t be alone 🙂

  41. Avatar

    It’s a genetic trait actually, other people may be able to do it as long as they have the alleles for the recessive trait.

  42. Avatar

    Not weird at all. At least I hope not or there is something weird with me too. I am 21 and for as long as I can remember I have kept my tongue folded in the back of my mouth precisely that way when I am relaxing, trying to fall asleep, whatever. My boyfriend just recently pointed out that my chin quivers a little bit and asked why so I had to tell him about my tongue folding. I don’t know why I do it, but it gives me something to suck on, kind of like a pacifier.

  43. Avatar

    I saw this at Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum when I was a kid and was surprised to discover I could do this as well. It’s called a hinged tongue. Most people have shorter muscles in their tongue and therefore the tongue naturally unfolds as the tongue is stuck out of the mouth. One in approximately 10,000 people can do this.

  44. Avatar

    I too can fold my tongue like that. I’ve been traveling the world leisurely and always ask if others can. I finally came home to visit my family and my 5 year old niece can do the same. I’m so curious about this human trait cause it is soooooo rare.

  45. Avatar

    My daughter can do the same exact thing.she’s 7 and I think it may be causing her to have a speech problem. I’m not sure. It’s not bad. But she also has a bifold uvola. It’s pretty cool. Nice to see others can do this as well.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *