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Articles: You should hear her swear.
Posted by Merry_Widow on Friday, September 14, 2007 - 01:07 AM PST

Icky People
I suppose this can be seen as a second installment or a sort of response to MJ’s child-rearing basics...
Let me tell you a bit about my daughter. She is three years old, she has short blond hair and big blue eyes. She runs around with an imp of a grin and a banshee of a shriek. She loves Batman, The Doodlebops, AC/DC, and classical music. She has a black cat named Bogie, with whom she plays catch. She is a precocious thing who is too smart for my own good. She also loves wearing her boots. They are brown with a strap and a sparkly buckle thing. Those boots kicked off the whole episode in question. The kinderpunk had recently expressed a desire to wear her boots, only to discover that she had outgrown them. She immediately declared she needed new boots and decided we needed to go to her favorite store, one involving a large red bull’s-eye. I was willing to oblige her, having just received my paycheck, so I packed her up and off we went.

After rummaging through stacks of Hello Kitty and Dora shoes, I found her a new pair of boots sans any characters, and we decided to reward ourselves with a stroll through the toy section. We wandered down and around, with her chattering a mile a minute, telling me who was who, and what they were good for, with me nodding and smiling, when a voice interrupted us.

“Wow, she sure does talk!”

When I looked, I saw a middle-aged woman there, with some sort of half-assed smile on her face. I knew that look. I don’t like that look. It’s the look that says “I’m going out of my way hear to recognize your existence. You should be grateful I’m talking to you.” I returned the smile briefly and replied, that yes, my girl likes to let me know what was going on. I turned away again, hoping she would realize that the brief discourse on the state of affairs was over. She didn’t.

“How old is she?”
Sigh. “She’s three.”
“Oh, is she turning four soon?”
“No. She just turned three a few months ago.”
“Wow! She talks pretty good for a three year old.”
Twitch. “Uh huh. Probably because I don’t baby talk her.”
“What, none at all?”
“There was a little bit when she was an actual baby, but the majority of what she hears is grown-up talk.”
“Why on Earth would you do that?”
“...because I think baby-talk sounds stupid and I don’t want a stupid sounding kid?”

She didn’t stick around much longer after that. Eva kept on yakking, unperturbed by the event, pointing out the horses she already had, and she wanted a new dinosaur, oh look mommy, a dragon, rawrrrr, etcetera.

The whole thing made me think, though. This wasn’t the first time I’ve had her language skills pointed out, nor was it the first time I’ve gotten into the whole baby-talk discussion, either. I’m sure it won’t be the last. It’s my own damned fault, I suppose. I just apparently missed the notice saying I had to treat my child like an idiot for the first ten years of her life and talk down to her. I also refrain from clicking my tongue or whistling to get her attention. I click at my cat. I whistle while I work. I call my daughter by her name and expect a response.

Where are the parents who realize that their children are people who deserve to be treated like thinking, cognizant, learning human beings? Why should I be expected to treat my kid like some pet or dress up doll? What’s wrong with expecting my kid to tell me what she’s instead of letting her flail and whine while I run through and endless list of things she could possibly be after? Where are the parents who want a smart, articulate kid?

(I do realize that the parents on this site are the ones with the smart kids. I just needed to bitch.)


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You should hear her swear. | Login/Create an account | 8 Comments
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Re: You should hear her swear.
by Meranda_Jade (Meranda@mymind.com)
on Sep 14, 2007 - 06:56 AM
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Yay for parents who talk to their kids like they're people!

I have always hated hearing people talk to kids like they're puppies. My mother drives me up the wall with that shit. I have a new nephew who was ruined at birth by being born to my sister... There have been other things besides baby talk that kid is going to have to deal with, one being the little onesie that says "Daddy's little redneck" and has the sleeves cut off. That should give you some idea of what this boy's upbringing is going to be like. Anyway, I was visiting there, and my mom kept up a running patter of gibberish to this boy. *sigh*

I've always tried to speak to my kids like they're people. The most trouble my kids have had with speech problems have been the twins.. and that is because they always had each other to talk to and they could actually understand the gibberish they spoke to each other when they were babies. It took a long time to get them out of that.

a lot of parents who have kids WANT a dress up doll.. look at the popularity of pageants. They DO treat their kids like idiots... not just in speech, but in coddling. It's like they're scared their kids are going to grow up and actually be independent!

If you want a pet, go get a dog. You can baby talk it all day. Kids are not pets. They're not little objects or toys. They are lives that we have chosen to take responsibility for, and it's damned scary at times to think about how much responsibility it really is. By take responsibility, I don't mean do everything for them, or take the blame for their actions when they just don't get it, either. We have the responsibility to be their guides in life. Part of being a good guide is giving them the tools they need to help them deal with the world better. Part of that is giving them the gift of good speaking habits. The more vocabulary you know, the more you can think about. The more you can think, the more you can reason and make good decisions.

Although, they do tend to pick up *everything* they hear you say. I was driving with all four of mine in the car, and some lady dangerously cut me off in traffic. My kids inadvertently learned the word "cunt". Not a word I've ever used around them, as *I* consider that one to be really bad. I did a mental *oops* and said, "Don't repeat that." That gained me a rousing chorus of "What does that word mean?" *sigh* I have explained bad word meanings in the past and wasn't looking forward to this one. But it was my mistake and I had to own up to it. "It's a nasty word for a woman's vagina." That shut them all up. "Don't repeat that."

"Okay."

If my kids are going to swear, they are going to do so with the full knowledge of what they are actually saying. I haven't heard any of them use that word yet.




Re: You should hear her swear.
by daria_4 (-) on Sep 17, 2007 - 06:41 PM
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Words from my mouth into your post. (Except for anything that might imply parenthood outta me, of course!)
I think there have been some studies recently that have concluded babytalk is generally harmful to developing youngsters... I think. I'm pretty sure I'm not making that up. :/


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Re: You should hear her swear.
by Merry_Widow on Sep 26, 2007 - 10:05 PM
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Yeah, her favorite phrase for a while was "aw crap" whenever she dropped something on the floor. It was hard to tell her not to say it when I was sitting there laughing my ass off.


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Re: You should hear her swear.
by Schizo (Aranea@SpidersDance.com) on Sep 27, 2007 - 01:29 AM
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Riley used to say "holy ship" which I thought was totally cute, but I'm glad she stopped before she started kindergarten!


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Re: You should hear her swear.
by bettie_x (strangersangel@hotmail.com) on Mar 13, 2008 - 12:00 AM
(User info | Send a Message) http://bettie_x.tripod.com/
I try to replace my bad words with "garbage". I sound like a fool.


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Re: You should hear her swear.
by Starlight on Nov 27, 2007 - 06:36 PM
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I've always been a big fan of speaking to children and babies with actual words and sentences rather than baby talk. I've always felt it makes more sense to do that. Of course, there is a subconscious tendency to use a softer tone or a higher pitch when speaking with the very young, but I choose to speak to them with actual words. Personally, I've always thought that helps a great deal with their comprehension. Besides, if someone speaks to a baby and asks a question or compliments the baby on their looks, and then the parent answers, then the baby gained the benefit of hearing an appropriate actual response instead of just a long series of cooing. Good job, Merry and glad you decided to go that way.


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Re: You should hear her swear.
by bettie_x (strangersangel@hotmail.com)
on Mar 13, 2008 - 12:11 AM
(User info | Send a Message) http://bettie_x.tripod.com/
When Scarlett was 6 months old I was grocery shopping, and talking to her, and the natural food attendent gave me the eye and said "You really expect that baby to talk back to you?"

"She never will if I treat her like she's retarded".

Speaking of retards, I've actually heard my husband's sister scold her kid with "BAD BABY!" until he was three. She won't ever be babysitting for me. I'd leave my child with wolves first.


Re: You should hear her swear.
by Ophelias_Snorkel (-)
on Apr 03, 2008 - 05:33 AM
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Baby talk seems to me an overt symptom of a deeper childrearing issue: the objectification of one's child. For some parents, this extends far past the early stages of childhood, when the chidlren are being molded into whatever shape the parents see fit.

The elementary school-age children I see are given orders to obey authority blindly, to deny their emotions (how could an object have valid feelings?), and to do everything possible not to stand out in the crowd.

As the kids grow older, it actually goes as far as denying them information, especially about sex/protection, relationships, and self-awareness. How can they avoid danger if they are not prepared with knowledge? How can they form happy families and friendships if they are not shown the value of honesty?

Baby talk is just the first step in obscuring reality for these small people.


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