When you find out that you're going to be a parent, it's not unusual to start seeking out advice - from friends, from books, from the internet and so forth. I did, and one of the pieces of advice that popped up regularly was "talk to your baby". This made perfect sense to me. After all, according to my mum, I'd been reasonably vocal early on because my grandmother had talked to me a lot when I was a baby myself.
So talk to my baby I did. All. The. Time. It wasn't hard for me - I'm one of life's natural talkers. I never use one word when 10 will do. There are people reading this right now who would hate being stuck in a room with me. But I digress. I would talk to her while I changed her, telling her what I was doing. I'd talk to her while I gave her a bath, and I'd talk to her while we played.
When I wasn't just talking to her saying whatever came into my head, I'd be reading to her. This seemed a good plan - hopefully I could instil a love of books and reading at the same time (this one seems to have paid off so far, I hope she sticks with it). Attempts to read her to sleep were less successful. I tried with something that was all words and no pictures to see if just the drone of my voice would send her off, but half a page into The Hobbit, she asked me for a different book. Time will tell whether she inherited her father's geekiness or not, but this was too soon, it seems.
So did my efforts pay off, I hear you ask? Well, yes. Yes they did. A little too well in fact. I have, as they say, created a monster.
From the moment she opens her eyes in the morning to the moment she closes them again at night, she's talking. It seems she's talking whether she has something to say or not. If she's going over there, she'll tell us that she's just going over there. If she's playing with her farm, we know all about which animal is going where. Sometimes we even get a morepork report at 3am.
Okay, so on balance I guess I'm happier with this situation than if she never said a word. She's a genuinely funny kid and she comes out with some crackers. The other night she had a tummy bug, and when my wife tried to explain this, she exclaimed most earnestly, "I don't want to eat a bug!" Even at 1am after a nappy-explosion-related sheet change, this still cracked us up.
We have finally managed to find a couple of things that hold her attention long enough for her to stop chatting. Dorothy the Dinosaur on DVD captivates her, and often has her up and dancing around the lounge, and singing too - so I guess she's still technically vocalising. Watching videos of her dancing school on the iPhone is good too.
In case it's not obvious, the above is meant to be in fun. I love it that she's a talker and it makes communicating with her so much easier than when she was a baby and couldn't easily let us know what she wanted. Still, that doesn't mean it isn't nice when the peace of evening descends...
Is your kid a chatterbox? Is it endearing, or just annoying?
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