5 Reasons I Refused To Use Baby Talk With My Kid, Even When He Was A Baby
There are very few constants between the different, seemingly endless ways people parent their kids. I'm going to go ahead make a completely unsubstantiated claim, though, and say a nearly ubiquitous point of parenting employed by the majority of adult humans around the world is "baby talk." I refused to use baby talk with my kid, even when he was a baby, though. Sure, I get that people use baby talk to communicate with their infants (and toddlers and kids because, well, it's a hell of a habit to break once you get used to it) in many different languages for at least as long as we've had the technology to have audio documentation of a grown-ass person asking a tiny human, "Who's a good baby?" And hey, to each their own, but it's just not for me.
All babies are good babies (fight me), but are all methods of communicating with them equal? Sure, there's science behind why we feel inclined to speak to our newborns in high-pitched, sugary tones, but allow me, if you will, to briefly present a counterpoint to that admittedly valid argument about baby talk: it's stupid and I don't want to do it and you cannot make me.
Beyond it being stupid and unnecessary, I thought of a number of more specific reasons why I'm not a fan of baby talk, probably thought up at some point in between complaining to my newborn about the traffic we were stuck in and asking him if he'd seen the coffee cup I was literally just holding.
Because I Hate The Way It Sounds
When you have a new baby, you talk to it. And it does not talk back. So you're stuck hearing the sound of your own voice a lot. And when people come over to visit, they talk to the baby more than they talk to you, since you (as I'm sure you've figured out) are extremely old, disinteresting news. If all of these people are using baby talk all the time, that's a lot of baby talk to endure, guys.
I could ask people to chill with the baby talk, but it's not like I really pushed for it. I'm not here to tell people how to live their lives. But I could damn sure limit the amount of it I had to listen to by choosing to not use it myself.
Because Talking To Kids Like That Never Felt Natural To Me
Considering the sleepless, boobs-out freak show that was my first year of parenthood, I'm pretty sure I wasn't feeling overly self-conscious about looking dumb. I don't think that was my big aversion to baby talk. I think some people just open their mouths around babies, and that sh*t comes marching out. That just wasn't the case with me, though. Employing baby talk would've taken a bit of focused effort; I would've had to choose to do it against my natural inclination to just speak to my baby as I would any other person.
I figured I was already forcing myself to learn enough new things in service to the tender bag of water who'd recently taken up residence in my house, so it was probably fine if I kept speaking to him the way I knew how.
Because It Doesn't Teach Them Correct Language
Where is the logic here? Babies are born knowing how to do little more than make poop and blindly make sucking sounds into the air until someone sticks a food source in its mouth. We have to teach them literally everything else. Speech is high on the list of early essentials we attempt to impart to our offspring. To me, the idea of using baby talk to someone you're trying to teach language to would be a lot like a driver's education teachers swerving all over the road because he thought it would be "fun and exciting" for the brand new driver.
Because It Makes Them Feel Excluded From Regular Human Conversation
Most people are already culturally conditioned to exclude and marginalize children within the familial community, which is something I knew I wanted to make a conscious effort not to do. When babies and toddlers see that they are being spoken to in one very specific tone, while everyone else communicates with each other in a whole other way, it's constantly giving them passive (but very clear) reminders that they are separate and not on the same level as everyone else.
Because I'm Bad At It
"Hey there, you little... booger... face... sweetie... butt?"
Absolutely not. I can't. I hate doing things I'm bad at, and if the thing is a really stupid thing to begin with, I can't think of a single reason why I would endeavor to get better at it.
Yes, my 4-year-old sounds smug and kinda irritating when he says that he finds it "improbable that my suggested course of action will work out" when I tell him we're going to work on tying his shoes, but him being insufferable is still preferable to ever having used baby talk.