I always thought I wasn´t very good at talking “baby”, all the goo-ing and ga-ing just didn´t come out very naturally. First I blamed it on not being much of a kids´ person, I don´t have this natural motherly mindset that many women have and although I always knew I wanted to have kids I never had this instant connection with babies or children that some people seem to have. (C for example does have that, kids love him!) Then I charged it on the fact that talking to babies or small children in a foreign language doesn´t come naturally and that I didn´t know the typical expressions etc., but honestly, I wasn´t good at it in Dutch either so yeah, Spanish or English was way too much to ask. However, since being a mom I found out it´s something else.
During the last year, I realized it´s not just that I am not good at it, it´s that I don´t like it! I don´t like only making crazy sounds, I don´t like just pulling faces, and I don´t like just saying stuff that doesn´t make any sense. And that conclusion became even clearer after reading a book a couple of months ago (yep, the advantage of being a working mom with a long commute, you are one of the few moms that actually has time to read books), because it captured perfectly WHY I didn´t like to talk baby.
Small creatures that don´t understand anything yet
What struck me is that many parents, and people in general, talk to little children as if they are just some tiny persons that don´t have a clue of anything yet and don´t understand anything. So they just make sounds to babies and are not really speaking like they would to another “real person”, they tell their children to do, or not do, something without really exp laining why, and they think they can make decisions for their children without even asking for their input because “they won´t understand yet anyway”. That´s exactly why I don´t like to talk baby! Because I honestly think that babies and little children understand so much more than we think, and therefore I like to treat them more as an additional person instead of an inferior small person that doesn´t understand yet. An additional person that still needs to learn a lot, yes definitely but it is an additional person with his or her own preferences, ideas, and feelings. They might not be able to express these yet but they are definitely there.
Read also: SAHMs, how do you do it?
From talking baby to talking normally
And that´s why I like to talk “normal” to the bichin, because he might be small, he´s definitely understanding a lot of what I am saying. Of course, there´s the crazy baby songs, the pulling some faces and the laughing about weird sounds every day, but that´s in addition and not the large majority of our interaction. I like to explain to him why we
do certain things or why he can´t do certain things. Does he understand all those explanations? Probably not everything, but hey, why not give them the trust that they do understand a lot and just go with that? And when he is older, I would like to ask him if he wants or doesn´t want to do something instead of assuming that it can be damaging or bad for him without even asking. I have seen the perfect example of that a little while ago when my sister asked my 5-year old niece whether she wanted to see grandpa now that he had passed away. Whereas a lot of parents would probably assume that seeing a dead person would be very traumatic for such a young child and therefore wouldn´t even consider it, she just asked her straight and immediately got the clear answer that, of course, they had to see grandpa. Yep, I hear your concerns and probably she doesn´t understand the whole concept of death but I thought it was pretty awesome to just talk to her openly about everything and giving her the choice to make.