Why is it that having children suddenly affects your ability to speak proper English? Why is it that we deliberate for hours on end for the perfect name for our offspring and then inevitably end up calling him or her a stupid nickname? Why do we ask our infants endless mindnumbing questions we know they can’t answer and don’t just speak to them as we do anyone else?
“Are you having some toast Gracie Boo Boos? ARE you?”
“Is that your special Ted baby girl? Is it? Is it?”
It begs the question that surely, if the GracieBoo Boos and Baby Girls of this world could understand us, they would inevitably assume they had morons for parents. “Of course it’s toast you ridiculous woman, you only made it a minute ago!”
And why do we start saying everything twice? “Want a bic bic? MMMmmmm choc choc!”
Now we named our daughter Grace. I love her name, it’s perfect. Sweet for when she’s younger, sophisticated for when she’s older, not too fussy, not too long. However, upon realising very soon after she was born that her initials were GIB she has now become Giblet. Or The Giblet. Or Gibby. It has even spawned its own adjective: “You’re being very gibbly today, Grace” it’s own verb – “What’s she doing?” “Oh- just gibbling about” and in short has revolutionised grammer as we knew it in the Barlow household. I was christened Elizabeth and the yet the world knows me as Minty (since chocking on a polo as a baby. True story. Must tell it in full some time) and I know there of more of you out there (you know you who are – how is The Pook-a-tron Ghostwritermummy?!) so SPILL and make me feel better.
I was determined not to overdo the baby talk thing. Nothing more cringy thought I than some gibbering idiot giving it the “HEWO liccle man! Are you smiling? Are you? ARE YOU? hassawaasawaasa peek-a-boo, WHERE’S DOLLY?!” etc etc. And yet here we are, Peek-a-booing with The Giblet like the best of them. There’s also something to be said, I’m sure, for simplifying words to make it easier for them to replicate. Graces vocabulary now includes “nana” (Banana) , “Baba” (Baby) “Gabar” (Badger, dog#1) “Fizzywawawa” (Fizz-dog #2) “Arse” (meant to be ‘eyes’) and “yessir yessir” in response to “Have you any wool?”
In addition to the words learnt previously covered in the blog post “Welsh train stations and French Generals” we’re getting one chatty little madam, all be it mostly gibberish still. Do you know what else? when random strangers are bending over her pram and baby talking away, I only have to look at the delighted beam on her face at the attention of this friendly face and guess what? Don ‘t find it so cringy any more.
Don’t get me wrong – I still think their are those who overdo it a tad, but equally, I do think “Where’s Dolly Gibby Gib? Where gone? Mummy find it” is preferable to “It would appear you have misplaced your novelty item, Grace. I shall begin searching for said item forthwith.”
We all do it . . probably more than we realise. Who gonna fess up?