Friday, May 9, 2008

Baby Talk (or I Failed The Test)

I pulled into the driveway, amused by the gaping mouth of my garage as it opens wide, considering how the ancients might have described such a sight if they had seen our day. (Yes, in case you were wondering, I think too much!)

Suddenly, I notice this strange little boy at the neighbor's house. I've never seen him before. But he's so cute I even say "oh how cute!" out loud to myself.

I get out of the car and hear him stepping across the rock divide between the cookie cutter houses. I turn around and see him standing there with an electronic game tucked into the crook of his chunky little right arm, and pink oleander flower in his left hand, which is extended upward toward me.

"Whatsat?" says his little boy voice.

"What's what?" I reply.

"Whatsat?"

"Flower? Do you have a flower?"

"Whatsat?"

"My car? Are you talking about my car?"

"Whatsat?"

"What's what?"

"Whatsat?"

"Boat? Are you talking about the kayak?"

"Whatsat?"

"Garbage can?"

"Whatsat?"

I start looking around, grasping for things he could possibly be asking after. Then it occurs to me. "Duh-mmy! He totally fooled you and he's all of two! He just likes the sound of his own voice, the lilty upward swing it has with a question at the end, the way a tall person responds with rapt interest and total attention to his false query. Der!"

So, I did what any tall(-ish) person would do in this situation. I ignored the fact that I had just been braindead for at least a minute, during which space of time I was fooled into thinking that a short, cute little 2 year old boy had fully developed conversational skills. And I chuckled to myself, pushed the "quick! close out the embarassment!" garage door button, and let myself in to the house.

This could have been just a funny little anecdote to tell all you loverly folks. But this is me we're talking about here!

Instead, as I start to cook dinner, I'm suddenly racked with worry that I really suck at baby talk. Which, in my recently braindead brain, could very well mean that my as-yet-only-imagined children will be mini-adults incapable of engaging in such speech, leaving those who overhear to surmise the worst: "those people must be the uber-educated, take-themselves-too-seriously types who think baby talk will stunt the linguistic development of their children forever! *tsk tsk tsk*!"

And secretly, in reaction to this entirely imaginary and highly unlikely scenario, I hope one of two things: that I will either become fluent in baby talk by the time it really matters or that I'll have a fantastically snarky response up my sleeve, ready to throw at the head of those hypothetical head-shaking eavesdroppers!

3 comments:

Kimberly said...

Neil and I had three years before we had our first and wow, did I ever worry about this exact same thing!

I don't baby talk, per se...but I found that with my own kids, a certain cadence to my speech kind of came all on its own. And my three year old? Won't shut up. =P

hayngrl101 said...

Yah, me too! We waited five years before adding kids to the mix. I'm a serious kinda gal, so I don't do a whole lotta baby talky stuff.

I'm a mean mom, probably. I don't necessarily shout a lot, but when my kids keep asking me to go somewhere or buy something, I'm not the type of mom to say "oh, honey, maybe we can talk about doing ___ later." I say rather seriously, "nope. sorry, not this time. lets go."

I do it because I've learned that the NICE way elicits bargaining and further asking. And the MEAN way means they just might not ask me again in the next five minutes.

Yah, and that "whassat?" questioning... all of my kids have done that and I just respond in kind by naming the objects I *think* they might be referring to!!

Marie - Mother of the Bird Nest said...

I really love your posts. I still can't understand half of what my four year old says, but my two year old gets her point across easily. Usually when I'm dumbfounded by what just came out of their mouths I just nod and agree. It's not until after I've done this that I finally get what they were saying and have to tell them, "No, we won't be going to Incredible Pizza today." Some days, I just can't win. I love the quote posting by one of your blogging buddies Bingham? that was posted around mother's day.

"It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder, and violence every single day should be avoided entirely.... but the desire to beget children is a natural urge."
~Phyllis Dillercf