Jane Yee: The conversation quandry


I've always been a talker, but lately things have been getting out of control.

Once upon a time, if someone asked "how are you?" I would reply with a convivial "I'm good thanks, how are you?" These days I'm more likely to venture off on a monologue detailing exactly how I am, what I've been up to, what new skill the baby has recently mastered, my visit to the garden centre on the weekend, and would you like to see my new potted colour? I know! Aren't they coming along nicely!

It's like I've forgotten the ways of normal human interaction, and that a simple 'how are you' is really more of a friendly greeting than an actual enquiry into the state of one's being (unless, of course, the question is combined with a gentle touch on the arm, a slight cock of the head, and a brow furrowed in concern. In that case, the person asking does actually want to know how you are... because they suspect you're losing the plot).

I suppose being at home and restricted to a mostly one-sided dialogue with a baby is the reason I get oh-so-chatty whenever I'm in adult company these days. It would appear I've been stockpiling my every thought in order to have them at the ready for the moment I find myself in dialogue with a grown up.

I catch myself babbling away sometimes - not allowing the conversation to breathe because I'm so eager to jump in with my two cents - and I get embarrassed. In my head I know I should round things up, but my mouth is like a runaway train. I can see my victims glazing over with boredom, a polite smile cemented to their face as they feign interest in what I'm saying, but I just choo-choo on. Do you want to hear about the time I forgot to buy cat food and had to feed her dog food instead? Of course you do, it's a great story!

My favourite topic to wax lyrical about is, unsurprisingly, the baby.

On the weekend we had friends over for dinner and somehow we got onto the subject of school zones. These lovely friends of ours are a wee way off having babies and probably don't really give a stuff about where our kid might end up going to school. But do you think that stopped me from sharing all the information I'd garnered on schools in our area and what our options and preferences are for Victor? No, of course it didn't. After talking about our particular situation I then launched into a fairly ill informed evaluation of the sociological intricacies of New Zealand schools in general. Boring AND without any basis in fact! What a combo.

Then when Joel's parents came over to visit the baby on Sunday they made the amateur mistake of asking how his sleeping has been going. Naturally I used that opportunity to subject them to a blow by blow account of his current napping patterns, how they affect his night sleeps, then how the combination of the two impact his mood during the day. I went into great detail and I think they were half expecting me to roll out a whiteboard so I could rough up some Venn diagrams and pie charts. The truly sad thing is if I had a whiteboard handy, I probably would have done exactly that.

I'm going to have to rein in this motor mouth thing, because I'm starting to worry that friends and family will stop visiting. I had hoped writing this blog would afford me the kind of cathartic release that would spare the good folks around me from my ramblings, but while I do enjoy a good tippity tap on the keyboard it seems there's nothing quite like verbalising your many, many thoughts over a cup of tea. Perhaps I need to start sticking post-it notes around the house to remind myself that the only other person in this world who cares about the finer details of my baby's eczema, routine, milestones, cradle cap and poop is his father. If I can remember that then maybe there's still hope I can engage in a regular two-way adult conversation again!

How has having kids changed the way you communicate with adults?

Essential Mums