Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Mama Bean does not verbally process as much as she thought she did

Back when Bean was a baby, and PB's parental leave was done and he went back to work, I was home alone with Bean most weekday mornings. And those mornings were often quite silent. I just didn't have much to say to the little guy. He wasn't especially noisy himself, we just kind of went about our day. Did chores (or at least thought about doing chores), hung out on the computer, ate stuff, played with stuff. I dunno. There wasn't much to talk about!

I thought I was weird. I thought I was stunting his verbal development. (Oh yes, I hear the Mama Judgement. "This is why Bean took so long to talk, this is why he doesn't say things clearly, or speak in full sentences, you should have talked more, he would be learning faster blah blah blah." Save. It. Bean talks plenty now. He figured it out when he felt like it.)

Well, as it turns out, PB was the same way. So I guess me and the hubs are quiet sort of people. Who knew?

I consider myself a pretty verbal person. I like words and words like me; I use them all over the damn place. My job is Service, which means it's almost non-stop communication. I feel like I talk all the live long day.

But on the other hand, I also feel like most of my adolescence and coming-of-age was the slow process of learning to keep my mouth shut. Long-time friends can attest to the trouble my tongue has caused me. I was a precocious chatterbox kid. So. Maybe I learned to keep it shut too well after all...


It's been funny to witness PB get a little lot more verbally process-y, through his time home with the both kids full time, and then through his various responsibilities at work again, and at our church as a board member. I mean, now that Bean's a toddler, there's no such thing as a silent day. We talk from "Good morning" to "Good night." But talking to only preverbal Beastlets all day is way different from talking to, y'know, adults.

So PB really chats it out when we're together again after the work day. I didn't realize how ingrained my impression of him as someone who processes internally was until he wasn't, so much, processing internally anymore. Conversely, I feel less chatty these days, because my work uses so many words, because parenting uses so many words, because I am (un-possibly) running out of words. It is bizarre.


We have also noticed Sprout seems more, I dunno, noisy? than Bean was at this age. She likes to chatter and babble, she's quite giggly, and a bit shrieky when excited. She certainly ramps up to full blown crying more quickly than Bean ever did. Despite the verbal diarrhea that is conversation with a 2-year-old, I still don't talk at Sprout very much. That is, if Bean weren't around, I think my mornings would be similarly silent - just going about our stuff, playing and eating and thinking about doing chores. So I guess I can expect more Mama Guilt when she's not using complete syntax by 18 months ;)

Speaking of verbal diarrhea, Bean has discovered "Why?" He's not too insistent about it, most why-trains only go about four or five deep, before I catch myself and remember it's a diabolical toddler ploy to keep mommy talking about nothing, in the hopes she'll get distracted enough to drop a cookie or absentmindedly hand over the chocolate chip container or something. In a way, it's like No and Oh, it's sort of meaningless, just a sound he makes that he has found produces a reliable response, namely, my attention (I guess - I tend to ignore No and Oh.) But there is comfort in the cliche of it all. Behold! He is normal! He asks why!!

1 comment:

  1. Having not spoken much to B for his first 8 months or so during the PPD period, I now have a kid who won't even stop talking long enough to do his teeth. (And there are cultures in the world where there is zero child-directed speech until the child begins producing speech.) So if the mommy patrol is conflating your quietness with Bean's speech development, they are doing so from a place of ignorance.