Tuesday, September 7, 2010

{Bringing Up Boogie} Bump the Baby Talk—Mommy Needs Quiet!


When Boogie was born, I forbade (yes, FORBADE) anyone from speaking to him in baby talk. I told anyone that would listen that I wanted him to develop language and communication skills and speaking to him in baby talk would stunt his development. I had no data to back this up. I just told them I heard it on Oprah and everyone fell in line.

The truth is, I find baby talk annoying. It’s just annoying. My son is a human being; why are you talking to him like he’s a puppy? And I’m just not capable of all that cooing and “Who’s mama’s sweet baby? Who’s mama’s big boy?” I would ignore myself if I spoke 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, I would just say whatever was on my mind.

We talked a lot about Britney Spears.

While I was talking to him, I often imagined what his voice would be like. I couldn’t wait for him to start talking.

I could have waited. My son talks too much. Way too much. And I think that because of the fact that he was always spoken to in whole sentences, he went from not talking to talking—a lot—in, like, a week.

I would like it to stop.

He’s got a great grasp on English and aside from a few grammar problems—mixing up “doesn’t” and “don’t” and insisting on putting an s on the end of mine—he’s good. When I quote him on Twitter, people often think that I’m cleaning up the language or making him sound better than he is. Nope. Verbatim. The kid is a talker.

Again, how do I make it stop?

This is how a typical conversation with him begins:

Boogie: Mommy? 
Me: Yes, Baby. 
Boogie: Mommy? 
Me: Yes.
Boogie: Mommy? 
Me: WHAT?!  
Boogie: Mommy, Um.. um.. um.. how come the boy in that car isn’t waving back at me, mommy? 
Yes, he says my name at least three times before he even gets to what he wants. Then he begins and ends the sentence with... my name. It drives me insane.

As far as I know, he doesn’t do it with anyone else. Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle, Auntie, Jesam, Kebe, Kanke, Elmo, Barney, Scooby... whomever, they all get called once. Why do I get the multiple “mommy”? 

What is that? Even when I’m staring dead at him so he knows I’m listening, he still does it.

The first time I noticed it, I thought there was something wrong with him. Is that a stutter? Is he having a seizure? Is that a stroke? What is it?! Nothing. 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 will listen. It’s fine at home but did the cashier at Target really need to know that I don’t make my bed, E? 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.

Even the “Quiet Game” doesn’t work. I’ll say, “Let’s play the quiet game. Whoever stays silent the longest wins.” There’s a six-second pause before Boogie says, “I lose. Mommy, mommy, mommy...”

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’m gonna need him to hush at least while RuPaul’s Drag Race is on.

Um, I mean, the news...

* * * * * * * *

About our MyBrownBaby contributor:
"Bringing Up Boogie" is a new weekly feature, penned exclusively for MyBrownBaby by  Bassey Ikpi, a Nigeria-born, Oklahoma-bred, PG County-fed, Brooklyn-led writer/poet/neurotic who is the single mother of an amazing man-child, Elaiwe Ikpi. She's half awesome, a quarter crazy and 1/3rd genius... the leftover bit is a caramel creme center. A strong advocate of mental health awareness, Bassey is currently working on a memoir about living with mental illness and producing Basseyworld Live, a stage show that infuses poetry and interactive panel discussions about everything from politics to pop culture. Get more Bassey at Bassey's World.

If you would like to be a featured contributor on MyBrownBaby, email your essays/ideas/blog posts/rants/musings to Denene at denenemillner at gmail dot com. 

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  1. hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!! love it!!

    my little one is a talker as well, and for some reason, i have gotten around to have the talking work in my favor, although there have been those few instances where i wish silence was exercised lol....

  2. Back when I was married to my kids' dad, I once told our oldest at dinner, "T, your dad and I, we're a quiet people." She. Never. Stopped. Talking. And yes, "Mommy"...a thousand times "Mommy." Okay, I'm having flashbacks...gotta go.

  3. My son is 4 and is sounding more and more like Boogie's twin. On Friday, I swear he called "Mommy" no less than 300 times before lunchtime.. *head desk* Brilliant kid, but goodness, lol..

  4. maaaaaaan. Mars has been talking my ear off all summer. SO glad he's back in school (even if it means i'm going back to work). I love to talk to him SOMEtimes, but all the time? he needs more people.

  5. bwaaaaahhhaaaa! That was so funny. I am definitely awaiting what the Lady Bug will say

  6. Mine does the SAME thing. Me: "You can go outside after you clean up all the toys." Him: "But mommy, when I'm done picking up all the toys, I can go outside, mommy? Huh, mommy? Mommy? MAMA!!" OMG, didn't I JUST say that! *throws self across the room*

  7. Sigh...you know my child. My child actually gets in trouble at school for talking too much. So you know I am holding my hands up in the air in solidarity.


  8. LOL. I think that all kids go through a talkative stage. I say enjoy it while it lasts because once they get older and hit those teenage years it'll be like pulling teeth to get them to open up and say something.

  9. hi bassey this is great. thanks for sharing, and for being "real."

    my sisters and i all raised our children in a similar vein. we just never believed as a family that talking "baby talk" was productive, intelligent, or necessary.

    my first daughter who is now 5, started to read at age 3, and currently reads and writes at an advanced level. people think that my 2 year old is actually 4 because she is also quite verbal. i think it helps that she has a very chatty mommy who is also a writer and a father who also likes to write and talk as well.

    we made the committment that i would stay home with our girls until they were "self-sufficient" meaning that they could express themselves, and go to the bathroom by themselves, or ask for assistance if they needed it. staying at home with your child is a "luxury" and certainly not for the faint of heart. still, i wouldn't trade it for the world.

    the "downside" of course, is that these children chat the house down! there is nothing resembling silence in our home. our girls ask questions until they exhaust the shit out of me and my husband! it's all good because i'm a great believer in asking questions. ask until you don't know, and ask until you are satisfied with the response. i tell my eldest to never be afraid to talk or to ask anything, because it's your right to get a response to anything you wish to know.

    looking forward to more of your posts. take care,xobolaji

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  11. Imagine having a whole classroom full of them! My littles are loud, busy, and incredibly verbal. Many of them do the "yous, mines" thing, too; I think for my students it's a combination of their developing language skills and dialect differences.

    I love watching/hearing them develop their language skills and teaching them how to speak their minds/express themselves... but moments of quiet at the end of the day are certainly glorious too! ;-)

  12. Considering the only thing I ever got in trouble in school for was talking, I'm getting my payback now with a child that wakes up talking and goes non-stop until bedtime. Sometimes, I feel badly bcuz I put on a movie just to get 15 minutes of quiet. I love to talk, just not all the damn time!!!

  13. I am more and more thinking as you write your blogs that you are my twin in another country, with the same mindset and child. Except mine is a girl..............
    She actually said to my significant other just last week....."are you thinking what i'm thinking?".....I'm thinking my mommy wants to get married......

    Did I interject here that she is only three years old!!
    Asked her in the store the other day, why she kept feeling at her private area, did she need to pee.....she says.."no mommy, my panty is too big, im trying to keep it up"......I wanted the earth to swallow me up......here in began our conversation on discretion.....
    I constantly repeat to other parents, especially those who she will be around to respect her as an individual......not some puppet...."who's mama' booboo" WTH!!!
    They can get mad, but, hell....I dont care!

    Thank you for sharing.......I so needed to relate to someone who can empathize!

  14. My daughter is 6. Much like you we only spoke regular talk to her, no baby talk. Anyway, she won't stop talking. Drives are the longest especially if I am trying to chill out with the radio. She just will not quit. I love that she does talk so much because some children don't talk at all. But sometimes it can be a bit much.

  15. This is the best. So freaking funny. I was dieing laughing while reading and I'm still cracking up. I don't have any kids yet but my husband is a talker and so am I, I guess. So our kids will likely be too and I can see me reacting the same way. Too funny. Also, I hate baby talk--don't think I'll do it with my kids either. Thanks so much for the laughther.

  16. My little one still has not mastered mommy and I want her to... maybe I don't LOL


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