When my son, Boogie, was born, I forbade (yes, FORBADE) anyone from speaking to him in “baby talk.” I told anyone who’d listen that I wanted him to develop communication skills and speaking to him in baby talk would stunt his development and he would end up repeating the 1st grade until he was 15. I had no data to back this up. I said I heard it on “Oprah” and everyone fell in line.
Truth is, I find baby talk annoying. I just do.
My son is a human being. Why are you talking to him like he's a puppy?
And I'm simply not capable of all that cooing and “Who's mama's big boy?” type stuff. I’d ignore myself if I talked like that. So from day one, whenever I was with Boogie--changing his diaper or feeding him or just holding him -- I would talk to him. Not about anything specific, just whatever was on my mind.
It was 2006, so we (I) talked about Barack Obama and Britney Spears a lot. I couldn't wait for him to start talking back.
Boogie is four years old now and he never shuts up. I’m not exaggerating. From the moment he wakes until the moment he passes out, Boogie has a running commentary on everything that’s going on in his head. And there is a LOT going on in his head. I’m tempted to set up a Twitter account (to go along with his tumblr) just so he can get it all out. Boogie talks so much that even Helen Keller would have to sign, “Dude. Really? This story doesn’t end?”
The quiet game doesn’t work. One day, in the car, I tried to get him to just hush for five minutes so I bribed him with a Happy Meal and I’m not ashamed. Boogie made it to 5 seconds before announcing, “You win! I don’t want a happy meal. Mommy, mommy, mommy, you know the spaceship from Toy Story...”
BUT BUT not only is he extremely talkative, he’s also in the contrarian stage. Not only does he talk but Boog also makes it a point to disagree with everything you say. Don’t try to correct him, the “No it isn’t/Yes it is” exchange could last for days. Days.
Thing is I’m proud of his sense of humor and his intelligence. He's got a great grasp on English and aside from a few grammar problems -- mixing up doesn't with don't and insisting on putting an s on the end of mine -- he's good. When I quote him on Twitter, my followers often think I'm making him sound better than he is. Nope. Verbatim. He’s a great kid. He really is.
But Boogie says my name three times before he starts a sentence. Then he ends it with my name. Basically most of our conversations begin like this:
Boogie: Mommy, mommy, mommy, remember when I was a baby and we went to Disney World, mommy? And then Mickey Mouse gave me a blue car? Remember, mommy?
Me: That never happened.
Boogie: Yes it did!
Me: No, it didn't. We’ve never been to Disney World.
Boogie: Yes we did!
It drives me insane. What is that? Why does he do this?
The first time I noticed how often Boogie repeats my name, which is “mommy” by the way, I thought there was something wrong with him. Is that a stutter? Is he having a seizure? Is it a stroke?! Nope. That's just how he talks and once he gets started, he won't stop.
He talks to anyone about everything and anything to anybody who’ll listen. It's fine at home, but did the cashier at Target really need to know that I don't make my bed, Boogie? Did she?
My mother says I was just like that when I was his age. I don't believe her. I'm going to need to see some receipts.
I'm sure there are some mothers who love the sound of their children's voices as they frolic through a golden meadow chasing butterflies and dancing to the constant chatter. I am not that mother. I don’t frolic. I may occasionally whip my hair back and forth but that’s it. I'm fine with that.
So, I'm still gonna need Boogie to hush, at least while "Project Runway" is on.