Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mommy Talk

I really should stop using babytalk with my kids.  Not that babbling, cozy "Who's my ittle-wittle babykins! Oo are!!! Yes oo are!"  I never did that (at least in public).  But I do still use the sweet, sing-song tone to this day.  You know the one.  If you don't, go find a baby, say "Hi, baby!" and notice how your voice instantly goes up about three octaves.  All of a sudden you sound like sunshine and rainbows, and you would put on a full-production Broadway show just to see that little one look at you and smile!

There's a reason why we do this.  Our minds are hardwired to try to please and impress infants, to take care of them and get them at least to preschool before we seriously realize how much time and money we've spent on these defenseless, drooling little lumps.  Humans take much longer to grow and mature to adulthood than the vast majority of life on this planet.  They require care and nurturing that no animal does.  Therefore, in order to continue the species, we see babies as precious things to be loved and nourished, not something that can easily be abandoned, or even seen as a potential food source.  (I can't be the only one who's read Jonathon Swift's A Modest Proposal.  Yes, he's the guy that wrote Gulliver's Travels.  No, I'm not responsible for the chill that went down your spine when you realized you were nodding along with his logical suggestions).

Babytalk, therefore, is an instinct that is programmed in to all most of us.  And I can't seem to stop.  I don't really use it with Knight anymore.  Now that he's in school, he is much more able to have a reasoned debate and to understand when I explain the logic behind my requests - i.e. "I need you to pick up your toys so you won't trip over them and hurt yourself."  But Dragon is much more likely to do what I ask when I use that sweet, hi-baby voice.  I'm not sure if it's because of his speech/cognitive delays, or if it's because he's my "baby", my youngest, but whether I'm asking him to pick up toys, or put on a shirt, I still use that voice.

Still, I'm not sure how to stop.  I'm halfway through a sentence before I even realize I'm doing it, and it does make a difference in how he responds to me.  Maybe when he (eventually) learns how to talk, he'll ask me to stop.  Maybe it will fade away naturally.  And maybe I'll still be using it when he graduates Summa Cum Laude from an Ivy League University (aim high, right?).  However, I'd love to hear your opinions.  Do you still use babytalk, and if so, how old are your kids?  Did you ever notice yourself using it more with one kid than another?  What do you think is going to be the coolest commercial during the Superbowl this Sunday?  That last one's a freebie.  You're welcome.

Love, Leigh


  1. yes of course I still use babytalk. doesn't everyone?

    1. I'm so glad to hear you do too! It's nice to know I'm not alone ;)


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